WE HAVE NOTHING BUT LOVE FOR YOU
Change – a forever season we’ve all gotten quite used to.
Isn’t it incredible how adaptive we are? How much change we can endure?
And on that note: That’s what this message is about.
As like many brands and people in general, we’ve been challenged in ways that I can’t fully comprehend. It feels a bit like a whiplash of time, and here we are. Two years of crazy, but we still have our heads :).
With change, you are probably also familiar with having confronted your life in full- looking at the big picture and trying to make sense of the grandness of it all.
We’ve done a whole lot of that. And from that space, we’ve grown immensely into a better direction for our lives. But that tug-of-war with self also meant loss and enduring a shedding of old skin.
I’ve poured my whole heart into this brand. And what I’ve gotten in return has been ten-fold, primarily a massive thanks for our team and our community!
What I’m trying to write but clearly struggling to, is tell you that we’ve made the very difficult but heart-centered decision to close our manufacturing operation. The complexities and pain of this decision has been nothing short of exhausting. To be clear, it has taken us 6 months to gather the courage to admit what we needed and make this decision final.
To give you more context as to how we came to this decision, Christiaan and I have ALWAYS been involved in the factory where our shoes are made. It belonged for 15 long years to my mother-in-law, first as a ballet factory and then a multifaceted facility where we learned to make shoes, then clothing- always pushing our own boundaries and comfort zone. She always made space for us to create and innovate in the factory. We have been closely tied to the growth and development of making our shoes since day one alongside Antoinette who was incredibly knowledgeable and our reason for starting our business in the first place.
But unfortunately, on April 2021, we lost Christiaan’s mom to cancer. And overnight, we found ourselves grieving the loss of someone who lit up every room and was by all means the heartbeat of this place.
We found ourselves needing to lead a factory where we knew a lot, but not enough. At the end of 2021, we found ourselves fully burnt out, unable to give more, unable to create, uninspired- just totally drained.
There has been guilt in admitting what we need, because it has meant changing the course of our shoe team’s lives. It means letting go of a freedom to create on a whim. It means disconnecting from the source of our why and rediscovering how to connect with it. It means no longer seeing people that I care greatly about day-to-day.
It also means- admitting we need more freedom to move. It means letting go of the one thing that often feels heavy. It means admitting that there is probably a better leader for a manufacturing operation, and it’s okay to not be it. It means facing more change, a new direction. And after two crazy years that feels like A LOT of change that I haven’t had the energy to face.
Sorry to get so personal- but I feel safe with our community and wanted to share our reality, as you have been such a big part of our lives whether we have met or not for over five beautiful years.
So what’s next?
This means we will be stopping all production and selling the beautifully handcrafted designs we have left until we are certain about the next phase of our future as a brand.
So, although it feels very surreal and hard to let go of for the moment, this doesn’t mean goodbye indefinitely. This is simply a ‘See you soon!’. In many ways, this is just another pivot on this adventure called life. And we'd like to believe the best is yet to come.
TO YOU, OUR COMMUNITY: I can’t even begin to explain what building Matsidiso has meant to us. The past 5 years of getting to know you, our beautiful community, our brilliant team… we’re forever changed. The love and support we have felt since day one is priceless. Nothing comes close to the feeling of someone else cherishing your work. And I've never felt more purpose than that while creating, collaborating and meeting all sorts of people from all walks of life.
We’re infinitely grateful for the journey. All of it. Business can be hectic (for those who didn’t know-haha), and we have SO much respect for our fellow local brands and businesses. Thank you to all of the brands that have shared knowledge and given us nods of encouragement along the way.
Matsidiso to me will always embody the beauty and diversity of South Africa – forever inspired by the incredible humans that live here and those that understand Ubuntu at the core. Through our brand, we’ve experienced nothing but unwavering warmth, love, kindness, hope, and creativity.
By far the greatest gift has been meeting all of you. Whether online, in person, through a text or at a market – it’s my greatest joy to chat and connect in whatever way. For those who have bought our products, sent a message to say hi, or engaged in any way… we adore you and a million THANK YOU’s wouldn’t be enough. The South African spirit will live on in us forever.
While we don't know exactly what lies ahead, we know it's going to be a love-child of creativity, further embodying our mission to support local artisans in Africa and share those masterpieces made by masterful hands to the world.
In the meantime, we will be announcing plans to sell any last items we've made through our online shop. All of our products listed online and at our Watershed shop are the last items available. So if you’ve had your eye on any designs, now is a great time to get your favourite handcrafted pieces before they're gone forever!
xx Jinae, Chris & the entire Matsidiso Team