Passion for fashion

Shaun Gillham

DETERMINATION and drive are among the traits that Swushh Clothing boutique owner and aspiring Ironman competitor Robyn Dougans says have helped her expand her enterprise in Port Elizabeth within just one year.

“Once I have made a decision, I stick to it and then follow through. Fortunately I am very driven, so perhaps it’s determination and drive which are the important things you need as a person and in your business outlook to make a success of it,” said 36-year-old Dougans, who is the bubbly owner of Richmond Hill-based Swushh Clothing, which also retails items such as jewellery and handbags.

Educated in both Cape Town and in Port Elizabeth, where she attended Alexander Road High School, Dougans studied travel and tourism in Cape Town after matric and then spent a number of years in that industry, which included a stint on cruise ships and working at a US country club.

She also worked as a sales representative for Hansgrohe, which supplies high-end bathroom fittings.

Today the charismatic and confident mother of a two-and-a-half year-old daughter manages Raleigh Street-based Hub on the Hill, which houses Swushh and several other small businesses. She is commercially involved in Bronz’d, a tanning business based in the same centre and also retails her clothing from The Pop Shoppe in Main Road, Walmer.

In addition, Dougans conceptualises, organises and manages a number of events, while also being heavily involved in others, such as the annual Richmond Hill Music Festival.

And, having started Swushh at the Kings Court shopping centre market in February last year before relocating to Hub on the Hill in November, Dougans has achieved all of this within a year.

“I picked up a lot in the travel and tourism industry and also as a sales representative.

“My business began with a thought I suddenly had. I have a passion for fashion and I love clothing and I wanted to retail affordable but fashionable clothing. Once I had made that decision, I stuck to it and got to work. People said I was mad to give up the job I had with the security it offered and the perks, but I wanted to run my own business and I am pleased that this has turned out very successfully,” she said.

Dougans revealed she had made a similar decision about competing in both the half Ironman and the full Ironman triathlons next year.

“I have put a substantial financial investment into this. I have bought a bike and now I am in serious training. Perhaps this is the same mindset one should have for business. Make the decision and get on with it,”Dougans said.

Offering a few pointers to aspiring entrepreneurs, she said service excellence, guts and the willingness to go the extra mile were among the essential ingredients for success.

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