Make way for the PillowChick

With a booming business and the mindset of a change-maker, 27-year-old Julia Ndeilenga is no ordinary young woman.

19 November 2019 | People

Ester Kamati

Julia Ndeilenga has turned her love for décor into a thriving pillow business, with her merchandise now decorating Nictus’ shelves in Windhoek.

Walvis Bay born and raised, Ndeilenga started PillowChick in July this year, but has already caught the attention of not only many loyal clients, but that of the Nictus CEO, Francois Wahl who invited her to sell her items on their shelves.

“I grew up around my father, who loves decorating things around the house, so I strongly believe I got this love for decorating from him,” said Ndeilenga, who has grown to love creating through her passion for décor. What started as a plan to revamp her room with new pillows, which she intended on buying, turned out to be the birth of PillowChick, as she ended up making the pillows herself.

The following day, Ndeilenga bought some more fabric and made more of these pillows, and decided to sell them to “test the market”.

The market responded well to Ndeilenga’s first collection of pillows, which she named URI, which translates to ‘my light’ in Hebrew.

They were sold out within a week after she posted them on social media.

This motivated to start this new venture and make it what it is today.

“My proudest moment was actually getting PillowChick started, as I have always thought I wasn’t able to accomplish it,” said Ndeilenga, who confessed she nearly gave in to the negative advice of people telling her that it would not work.

As a millennial, Ndeilenga has been steadfast in utilising social media as the platform to make PillowChick known.

She is most active on Twitter, where PillowChick has been trending since its establishment.

On a regular afternoon for Ndeilenga, she received a phone call from Nictus Namibia’s CEO, Francois Wahl inviting her for a meeting.

She was told to bring along some pillows.

To cut a long story short, PillowChick was then invited to grace the Nictus shelves, where it is currently making a statement.

“I was numb. I didn’t know what to feel. I had mixed emotions and my eyes started tearing up. I am truly grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

PillowChick is not only locally made; it is made from various unique fabrics.

“They are comfortable and clients are given an opportunity to choose in which fabric or colour they would like them in,” added Ndeilenga, while pointing out that the pillows are very affordable.

“We don’t want anyone to be left out of being in a beautiful environment with PillowChick pillows.”

During the short time left in 2019, Ndeilenga hopes to get her book to an editor and eventually a designer, so she can publish before February next year. The book is based on her experiences as a student abroad and is titled ‘Life of a student in a foreign country’.

The work in progress is also set to feature case studies of fellow Namibians, who have studied in a foreign country and have had terrifying experiences.

“Follow your passion and it will lead you to your purpose,” Ndeilenga advised.

She believes in grabbing every opportunity that is afforded to her.

She shared she always works extra hard to avoid disappointing herself, as well as those who believe in her.

She is driven by the desire to accomplish the goals that she has set for herself, and has interest in writing articles.

She spends some of her time writing opinion articles based on the things that happen around her.

She also reads motivational books and attends many corporate functions.

Fun facts about Ndeilenga:

· She spends a lot of time in home décor shops.

· She is working on a book.

· She uses Pinterest and YouTube to aid her in perfecting her skills.

· She has a very tiny circle of people that she surrounds herself with.

· She has a snake and height phobia.

· She has had some opinion articles published in local newspapers.

· She likes to catch up on her favourite series during her free time.

· She spends most of her time indoors.

· She pursued her bachelors in Business Administration in Cape Town.

· She is interested in learning about business techniques.

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