April 20, 2024

For students like Leanda Du Bruyn, senior graphic design major, college life is more than classrooms and exams.

In addition to being a collegiate athlete, Du Bruyn created and manages her own athletic clothing business, Dada Active Wear.

While studying fashion design in Cape Town, South Africa, and competing in track and cross country for Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Du Bruyn, who graduated with a National Diploma in Fashion Design, realized the lack of running tights for athletes like herself and decided to create her own out of a fabric called scuba, which is not usually used for running tights because it is a thicker and newer synthetic material compared to lycra.

She began making the tights for friends at other universities until the University of Western Cape (UWC) contacted her to supply their running tights.

“This made me call up my mom and we decided to take the chance and start Dada Active Wear. There was a big need for affordable, comfortable running tights in my community and this is how we started,” Du Bruyn said. “I am often known as ‘the girl with the tights’ at races, or they refer to our running tights as ‘dada-tights.’”

Most students cannot imagine juggling their studies, social life and a personal business. For Du Bruyn, having the support of her mother is important.

“It is sometimes hard but my mother and I are both running the business side by side,” Du Bruyn said. “At the moment, I only help out with design work while studying here in California. She does the pattern-making and sewing, something that I really miss a lot. I used to do most of the designing, pattern-making and sewing before I came to CBU last year.”

Du Bruyn’s goal for her business is to become the official sponsor for running gear of a club in her province or to start her own running club with her brand as the official sponsor for clothing. She is currently expanding her skill-set through photography and said she hopes her enrollment in the Introduction to the Camera class will shape her business’ brand in a new way.

“For young entrepreneurs, having even a basic skill set of photography knowledge allows them to receive a grander vision for their business,” said Clint Heinze, adjunct professor of photography.

As a young entrepreneur himself, Heinze said he understands the grit and passion required to maintain a successful business for students like Du Bruyn.

“Entrepreneurship is about starting. Most people would be dissuaded by starting a business because it ‘sounds like something only business majors do’ — something too large to be in charge of.  But honestly, it just comes down to doing what you love,” Heinze said.

Du Bruyn has already achieved her goals through the satisfaction of clients looking for apparel that is tailored to their requirements, as well as having Dada Active Wear supply the official shirts at the 2016 National Senior Track and Field Championships.

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