It’s all about foundation. And we believe babies and toddlers deserve a little style and pizazz in their wardrobe too. Little feet already melt our hearts, but the bright and quirky designs, patterns and textures from Myang are the cherry on top! This proudly made in South Africa brand is in the business of not only making hats, blankets, headbands and toys, but also the most adorable range of shoes that have the right balance of sweet and sass for boys and girls aged from birth to 6 years. Sarah Massey-Hicks, a talented designer, officially founded Myang in 2012 and now their ever-expanding product-range draws admiration from international markets too. To think, it all began in her mum’s garage.
Massey-Hicks has always been a creative. After studying fashion at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, she tried her had at making jewellery and crafts such as wedding invitations. But it was after the birth of her first daughter, Olivia, that she began longing to get back into sewing. Having always had the ambition to open her own business, this provided the perfect opportunity to get into the entrepreneurial game.
With her mother, Ingrid Kilian, she started making products in the house but were soon overrun with orders and had to hire a part-time seamstress to help. Consequently, she quit her job and went all in in 2011. Luckily seasoned local entrepreneur, Margi Sheard, took notice of Myang Designs and put her to the test by ordering 30 pairs of shoes. Having passed the test with the help of two seamstresses, she got the investment to make Myang a reality.
According to the Herald SA, Myang (pronounced “me-yang’) is based in Port Elizabeth and produced in an unassuming factory Newton park. Massey-Hicks makes the unique handmade products with the help of an all-woman team. There are six full-time employees while a further eight part-time employees are provided training and materials to make Myang products from their homes. This provides an avenue for them to make an income whilst taking caring for their families.
Many of the women involved in the project come from disadvantaged communities where they have limited opportunities. An intentional decision as Massey-Hicks wanted to take her love for handcraft and create a business that could provide economic empowerment for other women. In an interview with Tums 2 Tots Online SA Sheard says, “As we seek new markets and expand and grow as a business, we will continue to develop local talent and skills. We believe this is integral to achieving the dreams and aspirations of all involved in Myang.”
The “aaaaaaagh cute!” factor that Myang is known for comes from the design and handmade element that makes them stand out from the mass-produced options in the market. Even the brand name comes from cuteness overload. She decided to name her label after her cat, Myang, who’s a little quirky character. You’ll see some the cat utilised in all its glory in their branding too. Myang has ranges for both summer and winter, carefully selecting fabrics and trims that are trendy and unique for the uppers. When it comes to the soles, she opted for non-slip suede to help keep your tots safe and acing their first steps. While they do have perennial staples that are available year-round, they do have launches of fresh designs twice a year.
We don’t see many made in Africa labels catering to this demographic. Myang does it so charmingly. It is an outfit that combines fashion with empowerment that helps other women develop their own skills and talents. Their love for all little things comes through their extensive range of products that includes delightful shoes and boots for boys and girls. It’s never too early to start building their sense of style, so why not enjoy their dress-me-up years before the terrible teens set in.