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Supporting local start-ups
March 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, News

Sparks & Ellis, one of SA’s uniform supplier and manufacturers, helps to build and sustain small businesses and create jobs in local communities through its CSI (corporate social investment) programme.

Ex-employee of sister company, K-Way Manufacturers, Natalie Michael, didn’t hesitate when she was offered an opportunity from Sparks & Ellis for some funding towards her CMT (cut, make and trim) start-up business. Natalie joined K-Way at the tender age of 16, where she worked her way up from a machinist to a supervisor within the K-Way factory. After 20 years’ service, she left to move to Pretoria and start her own family.

“I had always dreamt of having my own business and sewing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl,” enthused Natalie. “So when I returned to Cape Town in 2016, I bought two sewing machines and started to sew again. An ex-Sparks colleague encouraged me to contact Sparks & Ellis for work opportunities.” Following an interview and selection process, Sparks offered Natalie a contract to sew and make up some of their uniforms.

Sparks & Ellis has assisted with the purchase of four additional sewing machines, a laptop computer and printer as well as a delivery vehicle. Eighteen months later, Natalie now employs eight full time staff, mostly ex-K-Way staff who she originally worked with and have all grown up together to become mothers and grandmothers. “We have learnt so much from our experience at K-Way and are thankful for the knowledge and skill we gained to enable us to produce quality items and run a very successful operation,” says Natalie. Along with mentoring from Sparks & Ellis management and some new IT technology, she is able to produce her own electronic invoices and statements.

“As part of our CSI commitment, we plan to continue helping Natalie to grow her business,” said David Gaussen, director of Sparks & Ellis. “It’s a win/win for both parties as Natalie produces a wide range of quality garments for us every week. In order to assist with her cashflow we ensure that she gets paid within two or three days for what is delivered each week.”

Natalie has plans to continue to grow her business and Sparks & Ellis hopes to continue to offer assistance so that she can reach her full potential.

Supplied By: Sparks & Ellis
Tel: +27 21 404 1240
Fax: +27 21 447 7630
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