Leaving her house in the early hours of the morning and returning when dark, Ilva Mackay of A Good Find Vintage had to stop and ask herself if that was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life? She opens up about her journey of starting a business and letting go of fear.
Ilva says she always wanted to be in the creative space, so she studied interior design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). She was drawn to how things are created, particularly on television productions, which saw her start her career at Cape Town TV designing screen sets, before moving onto styling.
“From Cape Town TV, I worked at Home Choice on their studios. It was a photographic studio, so apart from designing a set for shoots I became exposed to fashion. I shadowed in working with models and sourcing fashion items for them. That’s when an opportunity to start my own business presented itself,” explains Ilva.
“I would source and buy clothes from suppliers at great prices for my family and friends. They asked me to consider selling them the clothes directly and doing this as a business. I gave it some thought, but I was scared of taking a risk at that time. It's comforting to get a monthly SMS notification of your salary.
“One day I was standing at Salt River [train] station – my daily commute to and from work – and envisioned my life. ‘A 49-year old woman leaving her house in the early hours of the morning to catch a train to work, only to return home at dark.’ I asked myself if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? Yes, my pension would be sorted, but was I happy? My job ticked all the boxes: the pay was good and it was in the creative field, but I wasn’t realising my full potential. I resigned and started my business the moment I realised I was no longer scared of not getting that salary notification anymore.”
After resigning from her job, Ilva continued trading clothing and later in 2017, she launched A Good Find Vintage. With the help of family, she has hosted pop-ups and markets, and attended some as a trader around the Western Cape.
“Doing markets was a great way of getting new customers for my business, but unfortunately lockdown happened and we are no longer allowed to host markets. This has forced me to focus on the digital side of my business, especially marketing. I travelled quite a bit for the markets and I definitely didn't want to be left behind with my online business. Though there are no markets, for now, I can’t complain as online sales have been amazing. People continue to shop and online is busy.”
As lockdown restrictions ease, A Good Find Vintage will get back to hosting markets. For now, find their online store on Yaga and Wisi-Oi, or check out their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.
Author: Yonga Balfour