Incessantly frustrated by the limited range of fashion available to the fuller-figured woman, Limpopo-born and Pretoria-based Ouma Tema began designing and creating her own clothes and sharing images of her creations on social media. After fielding a continuous stream of questions from friends and fellow plus-size ladies around where she purchased her outfits, Tema knew she had tapped into a gap in the market and launched her own fashion brand targeting plus-size women.
After starting out in Tema’s garage six years ago, Plus-Fab is today a fully-fledged production factory employing 16 people. It is one of the most sought-after designers for plus-size women in South Africa and neighbouring African countries, distributing and selling through fast-growing retail chain – The Space.
Tema says that social media has played a major role in the business’ growth and success over the years. “In order to ensure a marketing strategy is successful, you need to know who your clients are and where to find them. It is also essential to be able to communicate with this client base in their home language. Our marketing strategy is very much rooted in social media because we know that this is the best way to reach our target market.”
Although known for its timeless patterns, Tema makes certain that the Plus-Fab range is not only timeless and comfortable, but also fun and confidence boosting. “We create a range of clothing that embraces, as opposed to covering up curves. Each outfit should be a statement while still maintaining a timeless sense of style and flair.
She says that she was inspired by the stories of iconic South African women such as Saartjie Baartman. “These women were shunned and even ostracized because their physical stature did not conform to the ‘norm’. Geared towards the fashion savvy, modern day plus-size woman who is looking for plus-size fashion that not only fits but accentuate her curves, Plus-Fab is focussed on dispelling the notion that plus-size women should not look fabulous and sexy.”
As Plus-Fab continues to take the South African plus-size fashion for women industry by storm, Tema is excited about the future prospects of the business. “We currently stock 10 stores across the country, covering Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, and are always looking for opportunities to grow Plus-Fab’s footprint, both in South Africa and abroad. The most recent development in this respect has been the opening of our online store to neighbouring countries.”
Ouma Tema is a finalist in the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS. For more information on her business, please visit the Plus-Fab website: plus-fab.com