Like a lot of local brands Just Cruizin Clothing has been affected by Covid-19, and sadly had to close two of their Cape Town stores. The silver lining, however, is that the brand has been able to use this as a push to create an online store. I caught up with owner Amanda Kamhoot to find out more about Just Cruizin.
What was your inspiration behind the name?
Just Cruizin started back in 1985 from an idea born out of a love of chilled, unconstructed cotton clothing. Hans, my husband, was influenced by the laid-back life he had experienced abroad, spending most of his 8 years searching for perfect waves and learning from many mentors who impacted his non-conventional way of doing things. Hans’s motto was and still is ‘keep it simple’. I have always felt the name ‘Just Cruizin’ is a perfect reflection of the lifestyle he largely lives up to.
Tell us about your team
Having owned a hair salon and a real passion for making women feel beautiful, it was a natural progression for me to eventually join Hans in his business. After our daughter, Hana, was born, my back gave in and I knew I had to sell my salon. I grieved the loss for a year and still miss so many of my clients dearly, but so many of them are now loyal supporters of JC! I am not a designer but have always loved fashion; don’t we all?
As a family, we enjoy overseas travel and use these opportunities to find interesting samples which we then adapt to suit our fabric. I work with an amazing team of women, and we have lots of fun getting our ranges together. Our son Jordan has been involved in the business for nearly 10 years and it’s been wonderful seeing him mature and take the JC men’s brand to new heights.
Did lockdown give you the little push you needed to go online?
I think we must have been one of the last clothing brands to go online! We knew it was something we had to do at some stage and Covid-19 definitely gave us the push we needed! Technology is not our strength at all, and I guess we feared to dip our toes into this uncharted water.
I have often mentioned, ‘treading lightly into our new normal’ in my posts on Insta. These words were written by Arundhati Roy at the beginning of the pandemic. They resonated hugely with me, and if I learn anything from this time, I hope it to be to ‘tread lightly with little baggage.’
What is a typical day for you?
My day starts with a delicious coffee in bed from Hans and an excited ‘Hello’ from our husky Marlie. I have now gotten used to the early morning walks during lockdown, so I think I’d like to continue with this as one of the new additions to my new normal. I generally get to work around 9.30am, check-in on stores, communicate with our CMT about production status and start answering emails.
I find that since going online, so much more of my time is spent communicating with customers or potential customers. I love interacting with people, so at the moment I don’t mind. I think anything new is exciting, so I am grateful that we have this platform to focus on right now, and give our staff some work to do.
What influences you?
I would like to think I am influenced by the many incredible people I’ve met throughout my life. Aren’t humans just the most extraordinary creation? In a time like we are experiencing now, we realise more than ever how much we need, miss and rely on each other. I am instantly drawn to folk who have a story and are open and willing to share. I used to spend so much time chatting to the elderly at my late grandmother’s old age home… if ever you have the time, sit and chat to the elderly. They have something to say and stories to tell.
What do you do to relax?
I’m a Leo, so I guess that could be part of the reason why I just love the sun. When I get home from work, I’ll always find the sunniest spot whether inside or outside to have a cup of tea. I love music, especially all the ‘oldies’ and my best is when Hana and I have our own dance parties together at home! We find any excuse to turn the music up. Being around my friends and family is probably my happiest time, and when you’re happy you’re relaxed!
A life mantra
‘Be kind, always’.
Any exciting plans for the future?
So much has changed so suddenly in business and in all our lives, I feel I would like to relook at our business model and possibly bring it back to its core again, simplify, follow our dream of perfecting a fully sustainable range of clothing. Keeping things honest and real.
Check out Just Cruizin’s new online store here.