Collaboration with Sun Goddess creates 200 jobs over six months in first phase alone
] Sun International’s flagship resort, Sun City, has partnered with Sun Goddess African Luxury Design House to dress more than 400 members of staff at The Palace, in a venture which will lead to 200 people employed for up to six months.
This is the first phase of a full redress for all of Sun City’s staff.
The partnership between the iconic Sun City Resort and the afro-chic luxury lifestyle brand Sun Goddess is a natural fit, with both renowned for glamour and opulence.
The idea for the partnership with Sun Goddess first occurred to Sun City General Manager Brett Hoppé in February, when he and Vanya Mangaliso, Managing Director of Sun Goddess were panellists on a radio show discussing how entrepreneurs had pivoted to adjust to doing business during the pandemic.
Mangaliso, Managing Director of Sun Goddess, said the collaboration could not have come at a better time for the brand. “The Covid-19 pandemic put an end to socialising, meaning that people no longer needed luxurious eveningwear. As a luxury fashion and lifestyle brand that offers exclusive South African clothing and accessories, Sun Goddess has had to think outside the box to reinvent itself to remain relevant and keep our doors open. We are so excited to be part of taking this global brand into the next phase of retail entertainment.”
Hoppé invited Mangaliso, her business partner husband Thando, and their key team to spend a week at the resort, talking to staff and observing them go about their tasks, before giving them free reign to design a range of uniforms for every hotel in the resort. They have started with 400 staff at The Palace who have each received three uniform changes, including accessories, which see them bedecked from head to toe in uniforms which reflect the local Tswana culture and heritage. “Brett’s vision was lucid; he wanted authenticity and a world class look which celebrates global excellence while reflecting local traditions, and he felt Sun Goddess embodied that.” The design brand will then move onto the Cascades, Convention Centre, Vacation Club and Sun City Hotel.
The designs for the first 15 new uniforms are in development, and Mangaliso started with the doorman, saying this was the first person a guest meets. “You need a strong, yet imaginative look which is regal yet functional for work. Playing on the Lost City we added a chain which is similar to that of a mayoral chain, to help him assume his persona when he starts work. We went into the archives and researched, taking us on a journey by talking to some of the people who worked directly with Sol Kerzner, the visionary founder. It is exciting to be a part of this larger-than-life, one-stop entertainment and economic oasis of the North West Province.”
Others who are being dressed include the housekeepers, receptionists, pool area staff, waitresses and croupiers.
Unique prints have been created which include motif elements like proteas, guinea fowls, elephants and zebra stripes. Mangaliso took elements of the Batho blanket and designed a “cute cape” for the receptionists. “The resort didn’t want everyone looking the same, they want guests to be dazzled – Sun City is about showmanship after all, and staff is part of that experience. So we have created four different looks for each member of staff which have a common thread running between them.”
Some of the accessories such as bow ties, shawls and headscarves will be produced at Sun City, empowering the local community. Sun Goddess is working closely with Sun City SED manager Tebogo Mokgejane to ensure that skills exchange takes place. “This partnership is rather unique as we also looking forward to the technological skills transfer that will bring in innovation – for the example, the tagging system used to track the hotel laundry including the uniforms has opened up new possibilities for us as a brand.
“I hope that we have captured the staggering legacy of what Sol created. Some of the workers have been at Sun City for 30 years – some even had parents who worked there. During the Apartheid era it was a beacon of hope, and today, Sun City is still this magical world, for people of all ages.”
Hoppé said he anticipated that the Sun Goddess uniforms would usher in a new mentality for staff. “When they put the uniform on, they must become an ambassador for the hotel, the province and the country. A tourist might not meet any other South African during their trip other than the staff, so they have a huge ambassadorial role to play and need to be reminded of this. It is important that they feel a sense of pride in what they do,” he said.
“We are proud to be working with a strong local brand as Sun Goddess and hope the staff enjoy wearing these unique and beautiful designs.”
Sun Goddess Considerations & Research of the Design Process
1. Sun City Brand DNA.
2. The North West Province.
3. The Tswana Heritage Culture.
4. The Travel and Leisure Industry and Fashion.
5. The practicality of the uniform in terms of weather & care.
6. Luxury Hotel and Travel Industries (Hospitality of the Future)
7. The staggering Legacy of the Brand
8. Industry 4 Brands of the future.
9. The Palace Heritage
The Sun Goddess Mission for the Palace:
1. Ambassadors of The Palace.
2. Hosts committed on giving unforgettable guest experiences.
3. Story Tellers of the Legend of ‘The Lost City’.
4. Agents of change.
5. Important Stakeholders along the value chain.
6. Custodians of ‘The Lost City’ Heritage and the platinum province culture in its entirety.
7. Curators of the provincial heritage and culture.
8. A Positive influence on the community around them.
9. Drivers of economic and environmental sustainability within their ecosystem.
10. Symbols of hope in the community, thereby inspiring the new generation