Business-minded student started with matric dance dresses and has graduated to wedding gowns

Girls who cannot afford to buy fancy matric dance and graduation gowns have a more affordable option, thanks to a Wits second-year BCom accounting student who opened a boutique in February.

Daisy Chauke told Wits Vuvuzela that her boutique, Dress by H.E.R, came about because she saw a gap in the market for many girls her age who missed out on special occasions such as graduation day – the most important day of one’s life – because they could not afford to buy a dress.

Wits BCom Accounting student, Daisy Chauke, in the store she runs from a cottage in her parent’s backyard. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa

She said in the past her friends would ask to borrow a gown to go to their matric dance and because of this, she was inspired to help other girls who were going through similar challenges.

“I thought to myself how many girls go through this every year, and, why not give back and hire these gowns for girls who might need it,” she said.

Chauke started collecting donations of dresses that she said came in abundance. Her parents offered her the use of a mini cottage in the backyard of their Witpoortjie, Roodepoort home to run her business.

She advertised her hiring business on various social media platforms. That’s how many of her friends and customers found out about her business.

Chauke’s business has expanded to include gowns for purchase. She specialises in wedding, evening, prom and different kinds of special occasion dresses,that she imports from South Korea.

Since Chauke is a full-time student, the store is managed by her business partner, Priscilla Pretorius. The 20-year-old is a make-up artist, and with hair products sales, this is part of the Dress by H.E.R package that the store offers its clients.

Pretorius told Wits Vuvuzela that their partnership came about as a result of the pair’s passion to empower women by making them feel and look good on any special occasion.

Model, Asandiswa Molisi, poses in one of Chauke’s gowns for hire or purchase. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa

Shanice Moodley, 19, who is a classmate of Chauke’s, bought a gown for her younger sibling’s matric dance. “I thought Daisy’s dress store was just an ordinary pricey store that charges females a fortune to purchase a dress, but my perception about the store completely changed when I learnt more about it,” she said.

Chauke’s father, Sidwell Chauke, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “People love what she is doing for the community, because so many people outside Wits and the schools targeted have shown so much interest in what she is doing and that on its own shows how influential her dress business is in and outside our area.

“Her mother and I are trying our best to support our daughter not only financially, but as her parents as well because we have her best interest at heart and when she proposed this idea to us, we had our doubts but she has proven herself both academically and business wise,” the proud father said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits BCom Accounting student, Daisy Chauke, in the store she runs from a cottage in her parent’s backyard. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa