Elula – eh-loo-la.
A melodic isiZulu word which, directly translated, means ‘simple’.
If one were to embellish that thought, words like ‘uncomplicated’, ‘effortless’ and ‘timeless’ drift to mind. That, in a chic nutshell, is what Simbithi residents Pippa Simpson and Angela Otto have created with their sophisticated and on-trend linen clothing range, Elula.
Close your eyes for a moment.
Imagine you’re stepping onto a picturesque beach in the Amalfi coast, sunglasses in one hand and aperol spritz in the other. Now, consider what you’re wearing.
If your dream looks anything like the reality crafted by Elula, then you’re in luck. “When we started Elula about a year ago, we identified a gap in the market for good quality linen clothing,” Pippa toys with her dainty gold necklace. Set off against the cool white of her linen shirt dress, where a pair of mottled shades are dangling, the accessory is simply lovely. “Something to throw on over your costume, or something light to travel in, complimentary to all body types and all season encompassing”.
At the time the sisters-in-law were both full-time working mothers: Pippa in marketing, and Angela in events. Pippa had just relocated to Simbithi from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. “We both wanted to create something that would allow us the flexibility and independence of working from home, we are both very hands on mums to a team of boys” Angela sips her cappuccino. “Each of us had an appreciation for fashion and were passionate about all things authentic and natural and had exposure to manufacturing through our lines of work, albeit FMCG manufacturing.”
Elula started off humbly, with a small order of shirt dresses and shirts and a once off consignment of kimonos. The public got their first taste of the new brand, incidentally, at the Simbithi annual Christmas Night Market. Reflecting on their journey, Angela jokingly remembers feeling ‘relief’ at holding her first Elula garment. “We’re still learning as we go, it’s been a steep curve,” she chuckles. “We thought it would be a lot easier than it has been, but the detail and love that goes into each hand made garment is something else and is what makes us special!”
A little over a year later, the duo has just placed a significantly larger order for their new seasonal range: more than 300 items to last them but a few months. The collection has grown to include camisoles, night shirts, pants and jumpsuits. “Everything is still true to the Elula brand: classic, natural and proudly South African. And, versatile, too; even the most basic piece can be dressed up or down to interchange from informal to formal,” says Pippa.
Attention to detail sets Elula apart, and Pippa and Angela are involved in the smallest of details; like hand cutting leather strips for the garments’ swing tags. “Pips is a perfectionist,” Angela teases. “She visits the factory with a measuring tape! We like to be proud of the pieces we send out, and having repeat customers buy Elula every season and even season within season is a testament to the quality, fit, thought and love we pour into our range.”
Elula currently supplies three stores: in Knysna, the Western Cape and Umhlanga. Pippa and Angela also find many of their shoppers online through their Instagram account @elulawear. They also do fittings upon booking at both of their homes for local shoppers. Their goal, now, is to increase their footprint across South Africa and, perhaps, Africa: they have just been contacted by a possible stockiest in Namibia.
For Pippa and Angela, life on Simbithi is rather similar to their Elula brand: a lifestyle in itself, relaxing and effortless. “We have everything we need here, and our family and quality of life is fantastic,” Angela smiles. Pippa adds that, coming from Johannesburg, the security found within Simbithi is invaluable. “And, to see how happy our children are is wonderful!”
Elula Wear: email@example.com