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Beryl’s passion for fashion is paying off

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th October 2011 06:27 PM

Anita Beryl is a fashion virtuoso on a mission to make people, especially brides, smile. What probably sets her apart from other fashion designers is the lengths she will go to, to give brides a stress-free wedding, from providing bridal gowns to beauty treatments.

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Anita Beryl is a fashion virtuoso on a mission to make people, especially brides, smile. What probably sets her apart from other fashion designers is the lengths she will go to, to give brides a stress-free wedding, from providing bridal gowns to beauty treatments.

By Joyce Nyakato
 
Anita Beryl is a fashion virtuoso on a mission to make people, especially brides, smile. What probably sets her apart from other fashion designers is the lengths she will go to, to give brides a stress-free wedding, from providing bridal gowns to beauty treatments. 
 
Judging from the phone interview prior to the meeting, her warmth and humour has one of the assets of her business. The minute you walk into her ‘House of Beryl’, located in Mutungo there’s an air of delight.
 
In the building that houses her clothes store and beauty spa, women make their entry. Some to have their hair and nails done, while others to relax. Her business is founded on the idea of pampering women by closing out the world on them and allowing them to relax.
 
Her biggest inspiration was her mother who reiterated that women had to look nice always. 
It is her personality as much as her design flair that gives her an edge. She is much aware of comfort, even if it means finding customers at their workplaces to take measurements, she will do it. 
 
When dealing with brides, she relieves them of the duty of calling their maids to come for fittings. At her outlet at Kamu Kamu plaza, clothes are invitingly hung beckoning passersby, who are making their way to the city centre. 
 
Being a fashion entrepreneur comes with its schedules. On a Monday morning, she hops from one meeting to another with clients. “Most of my clients are referred to me by other clients who have appreciated the work I have done,” says the 25-year-old. “Women need to look good,” she thinks aloud about what might make her customers still want to buy clothes in tough economic times. 
 
Bridal wear, party wear or formal wear: Name it and she is up to the task. Our interviews are interrupted by phone calls with orders from brides-to-be to the ‘permanent’ ones, who have handed her their wardrobe. “With them, I have their measurements. They just call and make orders. They trust me,” she says.
What has helped her business grow is her effort to keep in touch with her clients. For some, she has hosted baby and bridal showers.
 
Born in Masheruka village in Mbarara to Rev. and Mrs Ahabwe, she is the first-born of six children, a position that inspired her to be an example to her siblings.
 
She went to Bweranyange Girls School for six years before joining Uganda Christian University for a bachelor’s in education. Her heart’s desire was to study Mass communication, but she settled for education to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
 
However, while at university, her passion for fashion stood out. “Every time I had a cloth, I wanted to redesign it,” she recalls. 
 
Her sewing skills date back to her childhood when their grandmother taught them how to knit sweaters and scarves. During her Senior Four vacation, her mother tasked her with assignments of sewing, sweaters and scarves to keep her busy during that time. That shaped her experience.
 
She also enjoyed the fine art classes in school and excelled at the subject. With the good fine art lessons, she could draw sketches. After graduating in October 2009, she decided to venture fully into fashion.
 
In December that year, she got a scholarship to South Africa to study fashion, a time she terms as the most humbling time of her life. “By the time, I finished, I was burning to start,” she recalls. 
 
With the little money that she had saved from school, she bought fabrics from Johannesburg and set out to start her own company. 
 
The House of Beryl was born in May last year.
She only her present prominence after overcoming a number of struggles. Her biggest challenge was marketing herself and then the opportunity to showcase her work came in form of Vision Group’s Bride and Groom expo. With support from her friends and relatives she was bought a stall at the expo.
 
On the last day of the expo, she was slotted in to showcase her designs on the runway. “That was the defining moment of my career,” she says. 
 
What broadened her smile was the fact that her parents attended the event to applaud her. 
After the expo, people began looking for her work and her clients recommended others to her, which has made her market grow. 
 
Even with the overflow of customers, she still plans to build her business stay in touch with customers as she builds her fashion empire.

Beryl’s passion for fashion is paying off

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