Leigh’s designs aren’t new to Durban, South Africa or internationally, but her brand new footprint in the heart of design city is an exciting one, and she’s as fired up as her followers about her local expansion into a stand-alone store at 8 Morrison Street.
I launched my own label in 2003 after earning my stripes in years of commercial design, manufacture and retail. I’d always nurtured my design talent by competing in various design competitions, where I earned many accolades, but it was after winning the Invited Designer Category of the DDC in 2001 that I decided to go solo. I’ve supplied The Space and other SA designer emporiums since, and also now export.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
There was demand from inner city customers who’d always ask if they could come and shop in our studio/distribution centre. We realised we wanted something more official and comfortable as a shopping destination. 8 Morrison Street is part of the Rivertown Precinct, focusing on design and entrepreneurs which was a perfect match for us.
I’d heard about the development, and a colleague opened a collaboration pod there. I loved the layout, vibe and style.
Why are they ideally suited to your business?
It’s important that my brand be part of the founding of a reputable design quarter that promotes Durban and South African design, in a central and affordable location. There is a worldwide trend away from commercial shopping centres, to business and lifestyle hubs where like-minded people gather to enjoy themselves and buy ethically made, home grown, unique products.
Who are your neighbours?
Mi Africa Decor Experience (African craft shop), and SMB #baps, unisex streetwear clothing.
Depending on what everyone sells, the prices vary. Rentals are good, and substantially less than big shopping centres.
What is your shop footprint?
The foot traffic is growing now that people are getting to know we are there. There’s more development still happening which should bring more feet to the area. We also hope it’ll become a ‘must-see’ for national and/or international tourists. There’s still work to be done by the developers to get the tenant mix perfect, but it’s getting there.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Yes. I am about to open another stand-alone store in Work Shop New Town in downtown Johannesburg.
Do you operate online as well?
What’s your most popular item?
80% of my assortment is dresses (not sure why as I personally wear mostly pants!) I have a couple of classics we’ve repeated over the years to keep up with the demand. We always update and innovate so our styling is fresh and current.
083 422 7057
Words: Anne Schauffer | Images: Jerome Stoffels