From dressing dolls to clothing clients

Tshepo Kehimile
FASHION DESIGNER: The ever smiling Tshegofatso

A little girl’s childhood obsession has blossomed into a young woman’s flourishing career.

This is the story of 20-year-old Lorato Tshegofatso, an upcoming local fashion designer with ambitions of sewing her way to the very top of the industry.

The Kanye native is confident she has the talent and the hunger to realise her lofty dreams.

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Speaking to Voice Money this week, Tshegofatso revealed her passion for fashion dates back to her primary school days, when she would spend hours playing dress-up with her dolls.

“I used to have many dolls as a toddler, I would try and dress them up just for them to look nice. My mother noticed that and she offered me a lot of support. Obviously, I could not start right away as I was still young,” recalls the well-dressed youth, giggling happily at the memory.

The years passed but the fixation remained. Finally, in 2018, Tshegofatso came of age.

“My mother enrolled me at Tshwaragano Brigade to study Certificate in Fashion Designing. However, I did not complete due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Despite this setback, the determined designer remained resolute and set about starting her own company. Thus, in August 2019, Lorra Royals was born.

From dressing dolls to clothing clients
PRETTY IN PINK: One of Tshegofatso’s designs

“The business started from humble beginnings; I was operating in my bedroom as things were hard. I made skirts, trousers, blouses, and shirts for ladies just to mention a few, and also designed for men. I noticed that my customers were so appreciative of my work and I never looked back,” she says.

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As a sign of just how well Lorra Royals is doing, despite Covid-19 causing chaos in the business world, Tshegofatso is now able to rent a two-and-a-half house in Gaborone.

From dressing dolls to clothing clients
HAPPY CUSTOMER: Modelling a Lorra Royals special

“Covid-19 has affected most business but I managed to get my own place in Block 9. One room is devoted entirely to the business. I have one employee and it has been great so far people are so appreciative.”

Although she admits competition in the fashion sector is fierce, Tshegofatso believes she will survive as her designs stand out from the rest.

“There are so many experienced designers in the country and I respect them but I believe in my designs as they are unique and my customers are always happy. Furthermore, I expect my customers to bring their preferred cloth, then I sew anything they would like; the prices are determined by the type of cloth and designs,” explains Tshegofatso, who despite the winter chill, glows when she talks about her enterprise.

From dressing dolls to clothing clients
TWO-PIECE POETRY: Dressed to impress

While her short career has been dominated by highs, the fashion-savvy businesswoman tells Voice Money there have been occasional lows.

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“Fashion designing can be a headache; sewing machines sometimes break down, customers return clothes that do not fit and can delay in collecting their outfits when I’m done – this can be very frustrating,” states Tshegofatso, her seemingly permanent smile fading for the first time since the interview started.

The smile quickly returns when she contemplates the future.

“Age is still on my side and I believe I can still improve to become a better designer as my biggest aim is to be at the top.”

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