As we start to meet more and more of the movers and shakers around our fair town, I felt I simply had to introduce you to one of my favourite young business-people here in Ballito Melinda Kleyn, fashionista, connoisseur of the good life and dear friend. I have always been in awe of Mel and her ability to appear cool, calm and effortlessly stylish in the face of any situation. Mel has this air about her that immediately sets you at ease. She laughs at my jokes almost before I have said them and is always ready with a bright smile or a genuine compliment. Behind this all, she is an astute business-woman and after freelancing as a book-keeper / accountant for many years, decided to follow her true calling of fashion designer and boutique owner.
Her life at the moment is full and busy, and she is constantly on the move between one thing and the next whether it’s her busy boutique store Mellou at the Tiffany’s shopping centre, her freelance work or her fashion designing I sometimes wonder where she finds the time to fit everything in but she does – in true fabulous Melinda style. After creating Garmint, her online clothing store, Mel spent a few months looking for a retail space, and has recently joined forces with local designer and business-woman Lou Kelly. The pair hope to have a long and happy partnership together doing what they love most – making women feel something special through fashion and in their own way, changing the world.
In her spare time, Mel lives for her two dogs and on Summer evenings you’ll find her walking along the beach and enjoying a bit of down-time as she takes in the warm Ballito air. She couldn’t think of living anywhere other than on our beautiful North Coast and her gorgeous home in Ashley Road is full of nautical aspects that sing of her love for seaside living.
As we sit together over a coffee, Mel and I muse on the evolution of retail and how it has come full circle in recent years. As consumers, we have started to desire more and more the tactile aspect of buying clothing which is why Mel thinks her choice to create a physical store-front was a good one! Mel is a young entrepreneur who is really going places, and leading the charge in finding that place where online and retail meet. That place the customer finds their nirvana, that perfect item they simply can’t live without.
She is a purveyor of the finer things in life and on our shopping trips has often educated me on things like the difference between a cheap woollen knit and a luxurious cashmere; or the merits of a good Pinot Noir. This comes through in all aspects of her life and I often feel that just by being around her, some of this luxe living rubs off on me too.
Lately, I have had to limit myself to one visit to Mellou a week – the clothes and accessories there are simply too gorgeous to resist and I have to exercise serious self-control lest I buy the whole store and live on bread and water for the rest of the month. Somehow it seems worth it!