Wedding dresses fit for a queen
For many women, picking out the perfect wedding dress is one of the most important decisions they will make leading up to the big day; it is also one of the most stressful!
Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of Chawada July’s gifted hands.
The 41-year-old is the founder, owner and lead designer of Butterfly Couture, an up-market fashion studio in Gaborone’s Tsholofelo East that specializes in bridal gowns.
Operating since 2018, the business takes great pride in ensuring the bride looks fantastic when walking down the aisle.
As well as taking care of the wife-to-be’s wardrobe needs, Butterfly Couture’s wingspan covers several other areas of fashion.
“We offer fashion design services, specializing in bridal couture, tailoring and delivery of celebratory fashion such as wedding gowns, evening formal wear, pageantry gowns and prom gowns just to mention a few,” reveals July.
Although the Molepolole native tells Voice Money fashion has ‘been a part of her’ from a young age, she delayed building her own empire, preferring instead to gain experience in the corporate space.
The Procurement Manager’s varied professional background includes stints at a range of high profile institutes, including: African Alliance, Stanbic Bank, Clover Diary, Kromber & Schubert and Tsebo Facilities Solutions.
With her work life going from strength-to-strength, July bravely pulled the plug on her time in formal employment, digging into her own pockets to follow her heart.
“I had built a career as a procurement specialist but I decided to take a leap of faith to start-up an entity with what I am passionate about,” she exclaims with a smile.
Four years later and she has no regrets.
“It has blossomed!” she declares.
Prices vary according to design and detail, which also determine the time it takes to complete the gown.
“The more intricate the detail, the higher the prices; some details are hand sown,” explains July.
As well as July in the role of lead designer, Butterfly Couture boasts two seamstresses, an office assistant and a driver, all of whom are employed on a full-time basis.
“Our part-time staff include a communications consultant and an accountant,” adds the brainy business owner, who is on the verge of completing her Masters in Strategic Management.
When asked about the inevitable impact Covid-19 has had on the company, July admits the pandemic ‘hit her enterprise hard’.
“We managed to survive by launching an online platform where we showcased our designs. Most people were impressed and ordered in advance thus we did not struggle for customers when the lockdown were lifted,” she reflects, her smile still firmly in place.
Another challenge July had not planned for is just how seasonal fashion is in Botswana.
“There are significantly less events in the winter period, which means business slows down and this affects our cash-flow,” she concedes.
In spite of this, or perhaps because if it, July has big plans to extend her venture going forward.
“I would like to expand and open more workshops across the country and eventually open a firm footing in the SADC market too,” she concludes with a steely smile.