MEET THE LADIES
Durban single moms, Nicky and Debbie, took a leap of faith when embarking on the Blue Flamingo journey. Motivated by their desire to make a difference by empowering women, they pursued a business opportunity that would culminate in them developing the brand, Blue Flamingo. Drawing on their experience from the retail industry and using their knowledge of textile and design, they together created a range of fabric bags and accessories made from uniquely drawn and printed designs with a South African twist. Both Nicky and Debbie are 100% hands-on in the business, doing everything from designing the fabrics and products to sales, distribution and even cutting out the designs when needed.
The Blue Flamingo sewing team consists of 5 women who’d been retrenched from a large car manufacturer and left unemployed. They have all been trained in-house to make the finished products which are sold, largely wholesale, to various stores throughout the country.
The name Blue Flamingo found its origin because flamingos are big birds that can stand strong and firm on one leg; they do not waiver or fall but rather stand tall. To us, flamingos represent the strength and tenacity of the women making up our business. A blue flamingo is unique and doesn’t fit the norm, it will be a rare occurrence to spot this blue bird. This represents the uniqueness of our designs and brand, and also adds a fun dimension, which is important to us.
Our designs are bright, happy and fun – with a patriotic twist to most. Our products are stylish, with a bit of fun on the side. Our products are made from 100% cotton which makes them fully machine washable. They are durable and easy to clean ensuring they looks beautiful throughout the year.
Pre-COVID-19 we supplied stock to tourist shops and galleries around South Africa, including outlets at Kruger National Park; Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the V&A Waterfront. Many of these outlets have since closed. Just before the hard lockdown in March, we pivoted to making face masks, becoming an accredited supplier during lockdown. As with many local businesses, we’ve recreated ourselves over and over during this unprecedented time and are grateful and proud we’ve managed to keep our doors open; and keep our staff employed.
CELEBRATING SOUTH AFRICA
Blue Flamingo makes quality bags and other products that celebrate South Africa. Our unique fabric designs celebrate South Africa – and are all done in-house by our creative designer. co-owner Nicky Stark – who’s worked in the local graphic and textile design field for over 20 years.
We are all about celebrating life, and South Africa’s beauty.
Our manufacturing business is based in Durban North, KwaZulu-Natal. When we started Blue Flamingo just over three years ago, we worked from co-owner Debbie Russell’s garage.
We are passionate about empowering and upskilling women – our team is made entirely of local women.
We care about our community and about South Africa. We’ve collaborated with Woza Moya, part of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, incorporating their iconic Little Travellers in various designs, and have also supported women who sew in Bhambayi informal settlement.