Kecks a quick drying, anti-chafe, colorful and fun sports underwear for guys,designed and made in Cape Town, from imported fabric, with a bikini range added to the offering, and was founded by Sandra Mitchell, together with her son, Thomas.
The business operates online, at selected retailers around the country, and at markets in the Cape Town area, and has become a ‘go-to’ sports underwear brand, that is all about outdoors, adventure, sport, practicality and versatility.
Lockdown, and the subsequent period, has generally been a good experience, time to reflect, tidy up, relook at life and business says the co-founder, Sandra, who says she has felt very fortunate to have had her entire family together under one roof, with space to be comfortable!
“With the unusual amount of time we have had to think ‘out of the box’, we as a business, used our off cuts and joined forces with a tailor, Vincent, in Imizamo yethu, to make masks to donate to the IY community, as well as making them sandwiches”, says Sandra. She says, she had worked with Vincent for years previously, and had really enjoyed getting people involved in the initiative, which resulted in providing him with work which he could undertake in his shack during lockdown. Vincent, in turn, was able to give masks to many people, and found it a wonderful experience. It proved to be a time of coming together, with them constantly checking up on each other. “We found there were so many good people all around that were prepared to help the local community”, she said.
Having gone into Lockdown, with the mindset to tidy up, and get things done at home that Sandra hadn’t ordinarily had time for, had worked for a short while, but after a couple of weeks she was bored and it was then, that her more creative brain kicked in! Knowing Lockdown was going to finish after 21 days had seemed manageable, but when it was extended and not knowing when it would end, was when things got a whole lot more challenging.
Sandra, and the family embarked on some new directives in order to get through this period and these included: exercising, chatting to a non family member every day, achieving something at work / school, and doing something at home. Doing these 4 things DAILY, became a powerful family coping strategy and resulted in everyone being in a really good space.
Regarding social media, Sandra, says she had definitely spent more time on it, using it to engage with other small businesses, and trying to get their own online business to grow. Creating content from home had not been easy, but they tried to post something a few times a week, if not daily. They made efforts to join forces with other small businesses, and met (virtually) with them occasionally, to encourage or and to get encouraged. Sandra found their customers had offered incredible support over this time, and loved engaging directly with them, and particularly getting their feedback via Instagram.
With regards the brand change pre- and post lockdown Sandra says they had looked at their future and had adapted their processes in order to enable them to become more flexible, according to how things would evolve with Covid-19. Positioning themselves, so that they didn’t have to do one bulk order for the season, but rather facilitate cash flow by ordering less, more frequently, so that they could monitor what stockists and the markets were doing during season.
In their free time, the Mitchells built a veggie garden, and learnt a number of new skills which included sour dough making, and how to play the card game, ‘shit head’!
Regarding the future, Sandra says she believes, things will change, work wise, for which they need to be more prepared, and adaptable, ready for anything. She thinks there will be far less driving around, so it would be important to try and do more from home, and to look out at other folk in and around the community, to ensure they were okay.
When asked what her one gigantic dream was, she said: “To put everything into Kecks and go worldwide with it! Honestly every person who wears them has loved them, we get constant rave reviews from customers, but with family responsibility it is scary to go all in!”