With a passion for beautiful things and a fashion designer for a mother, Desiree’s path was laid out very early on. In her words, “beautiful things make my heart sing!”
Des’ artistic abilities were picked up at St Cyprians girls school where she excelled in everything Art. She then studied fashion design at a night school in Observatory, before braving it alone on Green Market Square.
Desiree was the first designer to be asked to join the Young Designers Emporium concept, which acted as a springboard for the brand. When Truworths bought YDE, it was time to move onto greener pastures and with the help of her mother, Janice and brother, Mike, she sold a range of clothing to boutiques throughout the country.
After opening a concept retail store at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, she quickly realized that retail was the way to go and since then has opened 8 stores around South Africa.
Janice studied fashion design at the Birmingham School of Art from 1964 to 1967. Winning the prestigious Cotton Board Awards at fashion school for most commercial designer, paved the way for a career in fashion.
Janice sailed to South Africa in 1968. Her first designer role was at Fairweather, a top fashion house in Cape Town. In the 1980’s Janice started the Caviar range, which at the time was very well known. She then joined a large manufacturer called Wolpe Fashions, where she spent 18 happy years designing for the chain stores.
Instead of retiring, Janice decided to work alongside Des, and later Mike, to help build the Desray brand into what it is today. Her attention to detail and technical design abilities have been a blessing for the business and if you ever visit head office you may very well find her critiquing one of Des’ latest creations.
Mike started at Desray in 2005 after completing his BCOM degree in Economics and Business Management through UNISA. The goal was to spend 3 weeks creating a business strategy, but the role took a bit longer and he has yet to leave.
Mike manages the HR, Finance, Marketing and Strategy side of Desray with the help of a great team. If he is not applying his mind to something unimportant he will likely be doing IT support, which he hates passionately.
Mike is very fortunate to have his beautiful wife Tertia working alongside him, on the online and social media needs of the business.