FASHION designer Samkeliso Mpofu of Sanah Designs said she built her own empire through hard work and perseverance.

Mpofu, who considers her tape measure her best friend, was recently featured in a top South African men’s Magazine, GQ, after taking part at the Mozambique Fashion Week.

After having lost both parents in childhood, she used the tragedy to fuel her zeal.

“I lost my parents when I was so young, luckily my siblings took care of me,” she said, adding that losing her parents made her strong and self-dependent.

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Mpofu said she discovered that working for someone else was growing other people’s empires instead of building her own legacies.

“I wanted my own empire, so people and my children would know I lived and I was here. I want to leave something behind that my children and family would survive and pass it on to another generation, above all being your own boss, the sky is the limit. That is what motivates me,” she said.

She urged up-and-coming fashion designers not to give up and to have a vision for brand identity.

“This means that, as a young fashion designer, you need to know exactly what you are doing. Be clear in your mind why you want to start a business in the first place,” she said.

Mpofu said she used fashion to communicate things people did not say and sacrifices were inescapable in the trade.

“Being a designer requires a lot, you have to focus on building yourself first and your brand then when it’s up and running you can then build a family,” she said.