Leather-ready

ANNAKI shows tremendous growth

31 January 2020 | People

Mariselle Stofberg

It takes a great deal of strength to turn an idea into a reality, and Andria du Rand has proven that she has the tenacity and perseverance needed to fulfil her dreams.

This stay-at-home mom realised she wanted to start her own business where she creates and hand stitches leather products, and this business has experienced amazing growth since its inception. From running the business out of her home, she is now about to open up her very own shop in Okahandja to feature her products under the brand name ANNAKI.

She studied education at the University of Stellenbosch and taught for two and a half years. She got married in 2015 and stopped working after their first son was born in 2016. They had their second son in 2018.

“I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum so much, and every day I had the opportunity to spend time with my kids. In 2019 I had the opportunity to attend a leatherwork course, and from the very first day I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.”

After finished the course, Du Rand went home and immediately started creating leather items to order.

“The very first order I had was a woman’s purse, and since that very first order not a day has gone by without me having orders.”

Within five months ANNAKI has grown at such a pace that Du Rand had to employ two women to help her with production. “The Lord has been so good to us.”

On 5 February Du Rand will be opening her first shop, where her products will be sold among other local products.

“During the course I realised the uniqueness of hand-stitched products and had this immediate realisation that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to create products that are hand stitched to someone’s exact specifications. Even though this is very time consuming and costs more, I believe this is unique and stylish,” she says.

“Every day we start out by outlining our goals, and we write down what we need to do for the day and how and when this should be done. The women I’ve trained to assist me have become so accustomed to the process that they are able to work on a product from start to finish on their own.”

The process

“After you have chosen the type of leather you want to work with, you need to draw the pattern onto the leather. If it is a new pattern, I first draw it on cardboard until it is perfect.”

The pattern is then cut out, the zip is pasted and stitched, the lining is pasted and then the front pockets are cut, pasted and stitched.

“The bag is then stitched together, ties are stitched and then the product is done. Each product is hand-measured, pasted and chopped (you have sharp awls that allow you to punch holes in the leather so you can easily get your needles through when you stitch). When I’m talking about stitching, it does not involve a machine,” Du Rand says.

“You use two needles with special waxed yarns. One is stitched from the bottom part of the product and one at the top. You then pull both tight to complete the product. It is incredibly satisfying to transform a piece of leather into something so unique and useful.”

Du Rand uses the raw ends of the leather that she works with to add something unique to every product. This is something that is not something you see every day in Namibia.

Planning is a crucial part of her daily routine. “Time and again we realise the importance of proper planning, because it eliminates unnecessary pressure, tension and mistakes. We hope to continue on this road of success and to continue creating neat and unique products, to expand productions and always come up with new ideas.”

Du Rand encourages the public to watch the ANNAKI Facebook and Instagram accounts for the launch of their new line.

“I’ve always admired people who run with a new idea and are able to make a success of it. I have to say that the Lord has guided me extremely throughout these past two years. His grace has allowed us the opportunity to grow this amazing brand.”

Throughout this journey Du Rand has learned much about herself and others. “My friends will most probably describe me as honest and sincere and I regard my super power as the Holy Spirit that lives in and through me.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 is something that carries Du Rand every day. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

You can contact ANNAKI at 081 692 0661 or visit their Facebook page at AnnakiHandstitched Leather.