June Bloom, a range of innovative handmade jewellery, was created by a young designer and entrepreneur with a big dream.
Born and raised in Durban, life was not always easy for Yolisa Mase. She grew up in a poor household where her mother made clothing for her and her siblings using simple materials.
She was exposed to fashion from such an early age and never lacked imagination.
Her interest in fashion grew as she watched her mother sewing, paying extra attention to the finer details.
Mase longed to study fashion and pursue it as a career, but she knew that convincing her parents to allow her to would be difficult. After many failed attempts, she eventually gave up and agreed to study what her parents wanted her to do all along – accounting.
At first, she struggled to find somewhere to study as the spaces were limited. She admits this actually made her secretly happy because, if there were no spaces available, then she wouldn’t have to do the course.
Unfortunately, her parents kept pushing and she was finally accepted by the Durban University of Technology. After three years of “hard work with no passion”, she was awarded her Accounting Diploma.
Since she had obeyed her parents and got the diploma they wanted her to have, she thought she now had the freedom to do what she liked. But life had other plans for her. A lack of funds made it hard for her to study fashion and she had to find a job to support both herself and her new born baby.
Even though many challenges were thrown her way over the years, her passion for fashion never left her.
One day, after seeing an advert on television for a beading tool kit, Mase decided that this was an opportunity to learn something new. She bought the kit.
But, she says she found watching the DVD on how to do beadwork boring and grew impatient. She’d learnt the basic in five minutes and started experimenting and coming up with her own designs.
What she ended up with wasn’t you average necklace made from colourful beads that you can find almost anywhere. Her accessories are handmade using traditional “shweshwe” fabrics as well as chains and beads.
Her sisters loved them and started wearing them. Next thing she knew, her sisters’ friends were asking where they got them from and if they could buy some too.
That was the beginning of June Bloom.
Mate’s jewellery became more popular and, because of this, she had very little time to continue with her nine to five job. Eventually, she resigned and decided to make accessories full time since her client base had grown incredibly.
She then found ways to get more exposure in various pop up stores in Johannesburg and Durban. Her pieces are also on display in retail stores in Johannesburg, bringing in more customers.