The tale of the Zimbabwean economy is a tale of mixed fortunes. At a time when discussions at the lower end of the market are dominated by rising costs of basic commodities and their availability, the upper end of the market and the affluent are busy on issues like who has the best wheels in town, who has the most expensive house among other issues.
When the economy is depressed, there is one school of thought that argues people go for basics only.
However, recent developments in Harare reveal the contrary.
A new clothes shop dedicated to glamorous events and sportswear has been opened in Harare, thanks to Cynthia Bizure Sithole founder of Jan Jam store.
The clothing in store is for special occasions such as weddings, sportswear and parties.
It is Jan Jam’s third state of-the-art store, the biggest of all that caters for all fashion tastes.
Vibrant colours, prints and fabric finishes are appealing features of fashion garments at the new Jan Jam store located along George Silundika next to The Herald House.
This is despite Zimbabwe’s economic environment, high cost of living and basic necessities, the luxury goods industry and fashion business continues to flourish.
It is a unique industry that relies strictly on marketing and promotion to many revolving trends yet it has been explosive for decades.
At the Riverside Walk Mall in Avondale, there’s a new option for shoppers looking for unique styles that won’t break the bank, at the newly launched shop “The Rack’’.
The boutique provides women of all ages with high-quality, trendy clothing, accessories, shoes and more offerings — without breaking the bank, according to owner, Gwendoline Chidoori.
Chidoori, the Bulawayo-based fashionista decided to open a physical shop in Harare so that she can provide a better service to her customers.
Although a selected few are able to afford luxury goods, the majority who are exposed to it generally have aspirations of being able to own these products someday.
This ever-changing industry has seen the mushrooming of high profile shops in Zimbabwe catering for different apparel and footwear industry.
The fashion industry has often struggled to embrace an ethical business model, but the increase in number of young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe is proving that wrong.
Jan Jam, being one of Harare’s premier men’s and female wear boutiques is leading the trend after launching its third shop on Tuesday despite economic challenges.
Jan Jam shop has developed a good reputation for its mix of drool-worthy brands and high end designers whilst catering for all classes.
Of course, Sithole’s responsibilities vary from merchandising the shop to buying every single piece that sits on the racks and assisting her clients who range from television celebrities, journalists and executives among others.
“We want to be consistent as Jan Jam, and we have to come up with the fashion trends from season to season. Surely, some of our clothes will definitely vary, change colour, so you get that familiarity, but one also get that sense of newness so it creates the excitement. Its all about serving our clients despite the challenges we face. We order merchandise and receive shipments on a daily basis so new items are constantly arriving.
This shop is for men but we have added sportswear on our portfolio. We will offer dry cleaning services for all Jan Jam clients,” she said.
Meanwhile, sustainability remains a major challenge for businesses as conscious consumerism varies seasonally.
However, Sithole, a devoted Christian, added that one needs to take a step back from your personal tastes and consider what the customer likes, too.
“I think one has to have a really good sense of a balance of the appealing responsibility and then the commercial responsibility. There’s what you may like personally as a creative person, but then you have to know your customer of all age groups. That balance of creative and business is important.
Above all we commit our work before God and everything we do.”
The Rack Boutique, a new baby in the capital is also promising to be a gem within a fortnight of opening.
Before the Harare store idea came into being, Chidoori was running three other successful clothing boutiques in Bulawayo.
Chidoori says the shop in Harare and the new shop has received a fantastic reception since its opening a fortnight ago whist clients response has been “positive and supportive”.
“Our experience has been great thus far. The community has been so positive and supportive so far. The idea is on proper pricing of our products and I believe we are in the right direction,’’ Chidoori said.
“We have met so many local people who live in Harare and beyond, and they all seem to love our friendly staff, affordable prices, and an array of different trends and styles.”
Chidoori revealed that her concept for the clothing store grew out of these discussions, and presented a creative way to address two of their most pressing challenges: finding employment and moving out of poverty.
“We are so thankful to so many of you, who have been with us every step of the way, so that this day would finally come to Harare. The official opening marks the culmination of an idea that began about years ago. The fashion business concept developed from simple ideas. Besides earning a living through profits, we are also employing people,’’ she said.
“Our shop in Avondale has specialist consultants who will be able to advise on current trends, colours and styles that will suit everyone and their budget.”