Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It is a pleasurable Friday night, snugly with a Fruit Cocktail and an aroma of vanilla room spray from Crabtree & Evelyn that I am trying out. I am reading my interview with Adheema over and over searching for a way to deliver to Manolo Drive Kings and Queens, the same inspiration I am getting from her aura, without being clumsy with the details.

Adheema is a Durbanite who epitomises the same effortless sophistication she uses to describe the core of daveydarling, her fashion line... “It’s a brand for someone who wants to be stylish, comfortable and unique, whether it’s for everyday wear or a special occasion, and without trying too hard- it’s prĂȘt-a-porter, it’s ‘practi-fashion’”.

With every piece made with love, daveydarling does not shy away from Adheema’s eclectic and sophisticated attitude. It is of a quiet-confidence appeal that allows customers to embrace every piece with their own personal flair, while still looking gorgeous. Another calling factor is that the prices are kept in customers’ comfort zones.

On a typical Thursday, Adheema starts off the morning at work at a local Non-Profit Organisation, where she works on Marketing and Public Relations Monday to Thursday from 8 to 12. If it is the beginning of a season, she is liasing, sourcing and sampling with fabric suppliers or overseeing the technicalities or construction of her garments, because the perfection daveydarling delivers always has to go beyond just the design. The daveydarling brand has now showed at the Max Institute of Fashion Art at Gateway, in Umhlanga. Showing there has brought with it more opportunities, and she therefore expects to be keeping with the pressure of orders with a good playlist and a vision that is glued on the prize and not just the sketch pad.

In the afternoons, she goes through coursework, preparing for assignments and reading where she will go for a workout that evening. Some TV time is squeezed in at home with sore muscles and dinner. This time is also good for catching up on her reading and study books. Adheema’s bit of insomnia can be seen as a blessing in disguise because at time she will even work on daveydarling, and squeeze in some blogging time right to the wee hours of the morning.

It is with reason that her weekends are spent relaxing with family by long lazy breakfasts and lunches. Saturday nights are spent with friends, savouring every hour of the night and dreading the morning.

With a sweet tooth for days, Adheema also runs cuppincakes, which started as a hobby but grew into a business faster than mousse melts in your mouth. Her gourmet cupcakes are sweetened with indulgent flavours such as “pineapple hummingbird”, “red velvet”, and “chocolate volcanoes” which all have pretty decorations. Having loved the cakes, her initial customers - friends and family -naturally spread the decadence to others, which gave cuppincakes more awareness and as a result, the I Heart Market and Essenwood Market in Durban great platforms to sell on weekends. Now with her studies and day-time job, Adheema has had to scale down to private orders only, which still happen often.

Adheema herself says that Marketing is very important. The brand daveydarling is especially made known via her blog which is full of “new collection updates, trends and musings,” as well as a regularly updated facebook page to keep customers in sync with daveydarling. Simultaneously, cuppincakes is promoted via an email database for customers, as well as on facebook.

Adheema clearly is very creative and business minded, a trait taken from her mother who taught her to be proactive and hard-working. Being a ‘newbie’ in the business, she sees it as both a risk and adventure. For her, it is an exercise of patience and learning from mistakes. Having learned the wisdom of “...people skills, being courteous and keeping business making the right contacts”, she has also come to acknowledge that as a whole, it is sometimes “trial and error”.


What are you currently reading?
At the moment it’s two books, an Italian novel, Il Gattopardo, and The Human Search for Meaning, a book on Comparative Religion,

You are a very creative person. What drives your ideas?
Thank you! I think that fashion is something that is ever-evolving, so I am constantly working on my label and collections to keep up-to-date. There is so much that inspires me, both in and out of the fashion world, and that keeps me going.

Where do you keep your stock? Where can people contact you when they want to buy?
Currently my range is available privately, by contacting me or on my facebook page or blog. I have also joined the I heart market, a Durban market held on the first Saturday of each month showcasing Durban talent. I am also working on a few other ideas, so watch this space!

Do you ever find that you need any social support, to keep you going?
I definitely think that social support is necessary, as a young designer trying to make a name for myself in our local fashion industry, I have to make every attempt to put myself and my label out there. It’s hard work that pays off.

What are your price ranges?
Prices range between R 150 and R 400.

You are studying this year, what are you studying, and how do you manage your time?
I am studying towards a degree in Human and Social Sciences, majoring in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies, with minors in Arabic, Italian, and later, Human Rights and Social Transformation. My studies are by correspondence through UNISA, so I am learning to juggle my time in between that and part-time work, as well as daveydarling. I think time management is an important key for anyone, and sacrifices have to be made in order to gain reward, and I’m willing to make those sacrifices, and put in some serious elbow grease to keep my day job, do well with my studies, and of course run a successful business! I also have my friends and family there who would push me in the right direction should they sense any laziness setting in!

How do you balance friends and business?
I try to keep a healthy balance between business and social time. My friends and I like to keep things low-key, so chilled dinners at Spiga, fun stand-up comedy shows, live music and coffee, and the like are what take up most of my social time.

How do you spend the profits from your business activities?
Most of my money does go back into my business, for future use, but I do like to treat myself, so a portion of my profits go towards my aforementioned shoe fetish, and other little treats…(such as movies)

What are your values?
Values that I strive for personally, as well as look for in others are honesty, integrity, compassion, humility, and ambition.

What should Manolo Drive Kings and Queens (how I describe my readers) do when in Durban?
Definitely spend some chill out time at the beach soaking up some sun on Suncoast beach; visit Spiga d’Ora on Florida Road for delish, authentic Italian food, great atmosphere…and really good looking waiters! The great thing about them is they’re open til the wee hours, so you can get your pasta or chocolate volcano fix anytime you like; get a workout while shopping and walking across Gateway; and visit the Bean Green in Glenwood for the perfect cup of coffee.

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