Ex-employee of sister company, K-Way Manufacturers, Natalie Michael, didn’t hesitate when she was offered an opportunity from Sparks & Ellis for some funding towards her CMT (cut, make and trim) start-up business. Natalie joined K-Way at the tender age of 16, where she worked her way up from a machinist to a supervisor within the K-Way factory. After 20 happy years’ service, she left to move to Pretoria and start her own family.
“I had always dreamt of having my own business and sewing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl,” enthused Natalie. “So when I returned to Cape Town in 2016, I bought two sewing machines and started again to sew. An ex-Sparks colleague encouraged me to contact Sparks & Ellis for work opportunities.” Following an interview and selection process, Sparks offered Natalie a contract to sew and make-up some of their uniforms.
Sparks & Ellis has assisted with the purchase of four additional sewing machines, a laptop computer and printer as well as a delivery vehicle. Eighteen months later Natalie now employs eight full time staff, mostly ex K-Way staff who she originally worked with and have all grown up together to become mothers and grandmothers. “We have learnt so much from our experience at K-Way and are thankful for the knowledge and skill we gained to enable us to produce quality items and run a very successful operation.” says Natalie. Along with mentoring from Sparks & Ellis management and some new IT technology, she is able to produce her own electronic invoices and statements.
“As part of our CSI commitment, we plan to continue helping Natalie to grow her business,” said David Gaussen, Director of Sparks & Ellis. “It’s a win/win for both parties as Natalie produces a wide range of quality garments for us every week. In order to assist with her cash flow we ensure that she gets paid for what is delivered each week within two or three days.
Natalie has plans to continue to grow her business and Sparks & Ellis hopes to continue to offer assistance so that she can reach her full potential.”
“At Sparks & Ellis, we are committed to doing what we can to assist SMME’s (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises) to build a sustainable business that will, in turn, benefit their families, employees and their communities, while ensuring that we have good, flexible suppliers who become partners in our business.” he concluded.
Before you go:
Cut Make and Trim (CMT) was big business in Cape Town in the 70-80s but with the decline of the SA fashion manufacturing industry, the need for CMT dwindled. Essentially, CMT is the name given to small batch garment production, or Cut, Make and Trim. This meant that the fashion houses could concentrate on their core business of producing and marketing high fashion samples, patterns, and fabric, whilst smaller, often family-owned businesses would produce the garments and often quality check and pack for delivery or shipment.