They arrived from all over South Africa, starting as early on Friday morning, from Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and as far away as Pretoria, as well as one group from KwaZulu-Natal, all cancer survivors and all dressed in pink. They’d taken three days riding down and were planning to ride back in two - but in between they were ready to have a rowdy good time.
Yet they were among the first to muster on the road outside the resort early on Saturday morning for the mass ride through the town to the first of two charity stops, the AGS community centre, escorted by traffic officers, police and what seemed like most of the population of Robertson.
There the organising committee handed over a package of donations, including a big-screen TV and satellite decoder, as well as boxes of sweet treats for the kids, before the real business of the morning began, with children from three to 83 – most of whom had never seen a motorcycle up close before - lining up for a ride around the block on the back of a big, gleaming, and in many cases intimidatingly noisy bike.
The cops, looking on with huge grins, had closed the roads for the occasion, making it legal to ride without helmets, and the expression on the kids’ faces - usually a mixture of apprehension and wide-eyed wonderment - was worth the price of admission by itself.
All too soon it was time to move on to the Huis Le Roux seniors home, where the riders handed over a huge donation of food items donated by Spar, as well as a satellite decoder, laughing and joking as they formed a human chain to move literally hundreds of items to the pantry at the home.
VARIETY OF MOTORCYCLES
The final stop on the mass ride was at Graham Beck wines for a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and the obligatory group photo, against a stunning background of vineyards and blue mountains.
Here a German photographer remarked that the most striking aspect of the rally to her was the variety of bikes ridden by the women – cruisers, adventure bikes, superbikes and even a stunning retro Triumph Bonneville SE and a couple of bobbers.
There were dozens of Harley-Davidsons, almost as many BMW GelandeScooters, a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the hands of a dainty 19-year-old, and classic 1980s Honda CBR250 four redlined at 19 000rpm.
Once back at the campsite it was time for the rally games, where Lauren ‘the Ninja Fairy’ Cloete won the bull-riding contest for the third consecutive year- and was also a member of the Boob-Tubes tug of war team, which romped home to an easy victory over the Meerkats, the West Coast ladies and the Stall Holders.
Then the rally settled into siesta mode, as the ladies strolled round the dozens of stalls selling everything from upmarket biker jewellery to custom badges, made to order for your bike. Until the sun set, the bright lights came up and headline artist PJ Powers took to the stage, belting out hits old and new as the ladies partied into the night.
It’s no surprise that Sunday morning was quiet and relaxed, as the riders dealt with their hangovers, packed up and prepared for the ride home. But in, true biker fashion, there were no goodbyes, only firm promises for “next year”.Read more at:marieaustralia.com | evening dresses online
Ask and it shall be given.
That appears to be the mantra of Pretty Ballerinas, the popular ballerina pump and flat-shoe brand from Spain - at least where its customers in Singapore are concerned.
It opened its first store here last year and its chief executive officer, Mr David Bell, says the company is coming up with designs specifically for the Singapore market.
Customers here have asked for more climate-appropriate styles, such as shoes with open-toe designs and espadrilles as well as ones with more padding.
And so, fashion and lifestyle group F J Benjamin, which brought in the brand, is sending its in-house designers to Menorca, Spain, where the company is headquartered, to work with the brand's designers on specific designs just for the Singapore market, such as flats with a quilted footbed.
Mr Bell is more than happy to comply.
Says the 48-year-old: "Customers who volunteer what they would like to buy makes our job easy. We want to give them exactly what they want."
Pretty Ballerinas, launched in 2005, is best known for its colourful and comfortable ballerinas and flat shoes.
Prices range from $160 (for children's sizes) to $560 and styles are named after 1960s screen legends such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
New designs are sent to the store here every two weeks. One of the brand's claims to fame is that model Kate Moss' bridesmaids wore its shoes for her 2011 wedding to musician Jamie Hince.
The brand is owned by the Mascaro family, who have been making ballet slippers since 1918 in Menorca.
Mr Bell joined the Mascaro company when he married third-generation Ms Ursula Mascaro.
They divorced in 2011 and he continues to run Pretty Ballerinas. Mascaro also owns other shoe brands.
Pretty Ballerinas started as an online store and opened its first boutique in Mayfair, London, in 2007. There are now 76 stores in places such as the United States and the Middle East.
It entered the Asian market in 2011 with a store in Taiwan and has opened stores in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
In Singapore, it started with a 230 sq feet store at Paragon, but because of customer demand, it relocated to another store twice the size within the shopping centre in the same year.
On what he attributes to Pretty Ballerinas' success, Mr Bell says: We use the best materials and craftsmen. We have been making ballerinas for a long time."
He says some of the shoemakers for Pretty Ballerinas have been working for Mascaro for an average of 34 years.
Although F J Benjamin declines to reveal how well the brand is doing here, Mr Bell lists Singapore as its best-performing market in Asia and notes that the ballerina-style shoes do better in Asia than in Europe or the US.
Move over salesgirls or salesmen, in today’s ‘branded’ era, the malls are chockfull with fashion consultants, beauty advisors, key customer representatives, and coming close to the old tag, sales executives.
The mall culture in Chandigarh has made big brands setting up their shops, creating a host of job opportunities. Being part of the sales staff is no mean task — long hours (anything between 6-9 to more) of standing, dealing with quirks of customers to meet the intended sales targets — yet, there is bunch of people who wouldn’t opt for anything else.
Vimal is a sales executive at one of the hi-end jewellery brands in one of the glitzy malls in the city. A fancy hairdo, sparkling badge on his well-ironed shirt, he approaches his customers with a friendly smile and mannerism that makes them shell out more from their wallets than originally intended. All in tune with the latest cuts, colours, trends, he softly strikes a conversation that starts with the client’s requirements and suggests accordingly.
This bachelor in business administration graduate hails from a small village Dhalara in Himachal Pradesh and none in his family can even pronounce the name of the brand he works for, but this job has been his lifeline. “The salary is good, there are incentives and I am on my own,” shares Vimal. “While women take forever to make up their mind, men are quick and decisive,” admits this guy adding that their store policy to exchange in seven days is a huge plus. Did we warn you he is pretty persuasive?
Shapinder is only few months old in the city but regulars at Elante know this girl with zest for life. A fashion consultant at Superdry before; she is currently the store manager with Kiehl’s and she sure loves her job, well, at least a major part of it.
“My work brings me face-to-face with people from different walks of life and apart from knowing all about skin, I am keen on human behaviour,” says the girl from Bhatinda. Armed with a degree in sales management, Shapinder worked in stores like Oroton in Sydney before she returned to her country. Working in Australia was way hassle-free than in India, she points out.
“Here, people work extra hours without being paid for it, back there I would get 1.5 times the sum if I put in extra hours,” says the girl, who except for taxing job of emailing reports, is cool with it.
Farah works for a leading cosmetic brand and she loves the start of the shift as she gets to doll up for the day. A beauty advisor, she has a diploma in basics of cosmetology from ITI, she loves sparkling Elante as an escape from her home in Bidi Colony near Sabji Mandi where her father works as a vendor.
“I know my products like the back of the hand and it gives me a big high helping someone look and feel better,” says this girl, super confident of attending to her high profile clients, which she credits to her product training.
Herself a shopaholic, Saliha, with masters’ degree in English, got into sales by chance and is enjoying every moment of it. “I am in love with clothes and bags and my work ensure that I am the first one to know what’s being rolled out from the brands like Armani,” says this happy, bubbly girl, an associate at Collective. Daughter of a bank manager, Saliha had to do her bit of convincing-the-parents-routine, and grudgingly they agreed. Product training takes her to Delhi every few months and for you all wanting to step in her shoes, she says that you need to be hardworking, passionate and…pretty, she giggles correcting herself to ‘well groomed’ to be in the field!Read more at:white formal dresses