Stellenbosch University's famous Matie Shop is since April this year in the capable hands of Lara Cronje. She joined Innovus as shop manager both for the bricks and mortar shop and the newly-launched online shop www.matieshop.co.za.
Being responsible for the strategic management of the Matie Shop and ensuring the growth of SU and Maties branded apparel, Lara brings her 25 years of experience in the fashion industry to the University. Her expertise is primarily in the youth apparel market, brand building, design, production, merchandising, and retail – both local and international.
“I like a challenge and love being surrounded daily by creative, youthful energy that motivates and inspires," says Lara.
What is her dream for the brand? “To commercialise it in such a way that it not only appeals to those affiliated with the university but has a far wider reach. Offering a diverse range of branded apparel, gifting and accessories. Doing strategic brand collaborations, look out for the first one coming up in January 2022 with the leading Brazilian flip flop brand “Havaianas". You will be able to buy SU branded Havaianas in-store and online," says Lara who is very excited to be working on the new branded SU merchandise which will be launched in January 2022.
Lara says they recently opened a new Matie Shop at the Tygerberg campus, much to the delight of all there who have been asking for it to happen.
“In 2022 we will be focused on increasing online sales, pushing the SU Creative initiative which is hosted on the online store. It's a platform that celebrates SU creativity and offers a space for students to showcase their work of which a percentage of their sales gets donated to a charity of choice," she says. “Hopefully we will also be popping up at various events with the Matie Shop trailer and designing really cool merchandise that we all can wear with pride."
Lara says she is motivated by red wine, chocolate and the unlimited potential of the human experience. She is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.
Lara has two daughters, one who graduated from SU last year and the youngest currently in her second year studying law at SU.
Visit the online Matie shop at www.matieshop.co.za