Behind the scenes

The process

Our aim is to build a women’s wardrobe into a collection over time with timeless, classic pieces in beautiful fabrics. And a collection it will remain.

If a Desray outfit makes a woman feel good about herself, then we have achieved what we set out to do. We don’t design with a specific age in mind, but rather for a lifestyle.

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The cloth will inspire a design direction. We will start off by designing the new garment. Our pattern-maker Lamees, will make a pattern by hand from my hand-drawn sketch (she is a highly skilled magician).  Uncle Eddie, our sample cutter will cut our first sample and hand it over to my sample machinists. We do the first fit on my body and start discussing fit, buttons and other trims. Once the sample is passed (usually after I have tried the garment on five to ten times), the sample will be passed and production quantity confirmed. Our handmade pattern then goes to the graders who do our sizing for us.

At the same time we source our trims in bulk and the cutting room start cutting the garment in bulk. The garments are then handed over to Jenny, our CMT, to make and fasten trims. The ladies in dispatch receive the finished garment, quality control it, divide it between our shops, code it onto our stock control system, pack and finally send it off to shops. This process can take anything from three weeks to a month, from conceptual design to finished garment. What we are most proud about is that we do it all ourselves in our factory in Observatory.

We design classic pieces with a kick, and we do not mass produce.

Behind the ideas

The people

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DISPATCH

The ladies in Dispatch, jointly, have over 30 years experience at Desray. This team is in charge of quality control, division of styles into stores, logging each style into our stock control system, coding, packing and shipping off to stores. These ladies have superpowers, often sending out multiple styles per week with little to no returns.

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THE CUTTING ROOM

Our Cutting Room team consists of five dynamic guys who work under the management of Ricardo, our Head Cutter. This team gets tested almost weekly with tricky fabrics or difficult designs that we send their way, but they make light work of it. Uncle Eddie, our sample cutter, works closely with the design team to help make our exciting designs a reality.

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JENNY AND THE GIRLS

Jenny, and her husband Spencer, run our in-house Cut, Make and Trim operation (CMT). Jenny has been with us for over 15 years. Very few CMT’s have been able to manufacture to our quality and styling specifications, but Jenny is amazingly talented and makes producing our ranges look easy.

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THE DESIGN ROOM

Without our two sample machinists and my pattern-maker we would be lost! These ladies are magicians. We deliberate, discuss, laugh and get frustrated together. What comes out of my studio is my absolute pride and joy. A lot of careful consideration goes into each piece that we create together.

Sammy, our production manager is my life-line to the Cutting Room downstairs. She is an excellent supplier-liaison. We have worked with some of our local suppliers for over 8 years! We work as a very close-knit, interconnected unit and carefully adjust, correct and perfect each style before it leaves our design floor for production.

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THE SHOP GIRLS

Jacinta, our Area Manager, is our Jill-of-all-trades and has been with us now for 10 years. Jace is my eyes and ears in the shops. She helps me set up new boutiques, she merchandises and trains our staff and is also our in-house photographer. She knows the way I design our clothes and is able to translate that knowledge into sales whilst making our Desray customers feel as fabulous and special as they are.

We currently have eight shops nationwide. Each of our shops has their own manager and retail sales ladies. Aunty Sue, our Newlands store manager has been with Desray for 9 years and June, who runs our Stellenbosch store, has been with us for just over 8 years.  These two ladies have truly been through the retail trenches with us.

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THE SUITS

Blanche, Mike and Tertia are in the ‘Boiler Room’. Blanche joined us at Head Office after two years of running our Cape Quarter boutique. We noticed that she had some hidden talents and quickly brought her into head office to work on the business management side of the company. We can’t imagine how we ever managed without her.

Mike is the Managing Director of our company. He also takes care of most of the IT at Desray. Tertia is Mike’s wife and came into our family in 2009. Her background is in Marketing and Advertising. She is now an active part of the team on a day to day basis, running the online store and manages our marketing activities.