Mia Mélange is passionate about empowering women, but we also have two remarkable men on our team who we would like to celebrate in honour of the recent Father's Day!
Leonard - from Machinist to Manager
Leonard was working as a policeman in Zimbabwe when he saw a position advertised in the department that manufactures police regalia. Leonard, who has always had a keen interest in sewing, applied for the position and joined after passing all the interview stages. At the police clothing factory, he learnt how to sew uniforms. He furthered his studies after-hours at college. Leonard then joined the post office's clothing factory manufacturing uniforms for post office workers. As an ambitious individual always wanting to learn more and succeed professionally, he found a better job in South Africa, making school uniforms. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit and South Africa went into lockdown, he lost his job.
As we went into lockdown, our number one priority at Mia Mélange was to ensure that we didn't need to retrench anyone on our team. We had to find a way to ensure that we could keep everyone employed and paid. We quickly pivoted to making masks. Our team members with sewing machines at home started making masks. Due to the high demand, we had a lot of orders to fulfill and our team members could share the work with friends, family and neighbours. Leonard was one of the neighbours who started making masks for us from home. Over the course of lockdown, we got to know Leonard very well and we learnt how talented and hardworking he is. We knew he deserved a decent job. As restrictions eased and we started working on our Mia Mélange products again, we offered Leonard a full-time position.
Towards the end of last year, we advertised a vacancy for a production manager. Although Leonard acknowledged that he did not have the necessary requirements, he expressed an interest in the position. We decided to offer Leonard the job and we would assist him with training. Today, Leonard is an excellent leader who takes responsibility and manages his team and the production process with great pride.
Leonard is the proud father of three children, aged 14, 9 and 4. He works very hard in order to provide for his family. Leonard is taking leave for a month in August to go back to Zimbabwe and spend time with his family. We are going to miss him, but the way his eyes light up each time he speaks about going to see his children warms our hearts!
Isaiah - from Unemployed Security Guard to Machinist
Isaiah used to work as a gardener. He then got a job as a security guard. He worked in this role, day and night and over weekends, for six years. As South Africa went into lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Isaiah lost his job.
At the Mia Mélange shop in Stellenbosch, we have a roller shutter in front of our glass doors. Towards the end of last year, the roller shutter broke and had to be removed. It was a security risk to leave the premises unattended with no roller shutter, so we need to employ a night-time security guard. We found Isaiah who was very grateful for the job. Each evening, he arrived as we were closing up and he greeted us with the biggest smile as we arrived at work in the mornings. Our team grew very fond of Isaiah. When we had a new gate installed and we no longer needed a night guard, we wanted to make a plan to ensure Isaiah could remain employed. We thought of all sorts of roles we could create for him. He started to assist us with odd jobs around the studio. Seeing the work the rest of the team was doing, Isaiah expressed an interest in learning how to sew. Despite having absolutely no prior sewing experience, we decided to give Isaiah a chance and we let him try sewing. As a very determined individual, Isaiah quickly learnt to sew! Today, he is employed as a full time machinist and is a very valuable member of the Mia Mélange team.
Isaiah is the proud father of two children, aged eight and four. His children are blessed with a hardworking and responsible father (who is also a lot of fun and often has us in fits of laughter in studio).
Thanks to You
Thank you to you, our wonderful customers! Without you, we would not have been able to provide employment opportunities to deserving individuals like Leonard and Isaiah (and the rest of our phenomenal team). We are deeply grateful for your continuous support and we do not take you for granted.