OUR FAMILY

Taking a look back, the earliest textile and clothing businesses were family founded even in times of mega-industries and globalization.

Jota-Kena makes the craft of clothing a homegrown enterprise by once again bringing the overt artistry of fashion back to the hearth.

JOHN

Having a degree in agriculture and several years experience as a businessman, entrepreneur, and CEO of a large national company, John Swinford is very familiar with the term “growth” and most capable when it comes to running a business.

Being a family man, it was always John’s desire for his daughters to be in business with him. However, knowing that they were not about to enter his world of interests, he decided to enter theirs, and in so doing made both his dream of a family business and their dream of having a clothing brand, materialize (literally!)…

TANITH

Constantly striving for refinement and improvement, she emphasizes that Jota-Kena is not just about a look, but a life and a value system – where authenticity, excellence and honesty shape the way business is done. Where giving back is central, and where people are prized above all.

KEZIAH

Always making, fixing and moving things – whether it was clothing for her dolls, designing and painting her own room, or renovating items she would buy at auctions – Keziah Swinford became a practical thinker and curator of comfort and “usability” from a young age.

As a qualified Interior Designer, Keziah worked as a 3D designer for an esteemed furniture and décor company for some time, after which she started her own business in the field of interior design & graphic arts…

ANNETTE

A long-standing friend of the Swinfords and the newest member of the Jota-Kena family, Annette Steenkamp brings a wealth of knowledge and vibrant enthusiasm to the core team.

After earning her degree and working in the field of secondary education for a number of years, Annette went on to become an expert in project management, heading up various programs in global youth development and administration – her heart being to help and uplift society…

SONIA

As a teenager in the 70s with dreams of becoming a nurse or matron, in-house seamstress Sonia Hoffman initially started working in South Africa’s manufacturing industry to support her family. Fast-forward 43 years, she knows that it was meant to be and counts herself blessed to be doing what she loves.

A master in her trade, Sonia has been a part of Jota-Kena from the very start, bringing with her so much knowledge and experience. Although very familiar with the ins and outs of transforming a piece of fabric into a beautiful article of clothing, she is not one to get stuck in her ways. Sonia is always ready to take on new challenges and very much enjoys working on new styles – growing and learning with the rest of the team.

From giving valuable input when it comes to style adjustments, cutting and sizing to singing as she lovingly handcrafts samples in the studio – Sonia’s skills and special presence form an essential part of the Jota-Kena core team.

FATIMA

14-year-old Fatima Ajam started working as a messenger in the manufacturing industry. One of 12 children, she helped her father support her siblings, so they could study – whilst she worked her way up from a messenger, learning to work on industrial sewing machines, to a supervisor position.

Being the hard worker that she is, with a great eye for detail, she eventually landed a job as a sample hand at one of South Africa’s leading design houses.

Because of industry standard, she was forced to retire at 60. Fortunately, after 2 years of unwelcome retirement Jota-Kena has been blessed to welcome her into our family.

Fatima loves the challenge of constantly working on new things and is grateful that her opinion and input is always valued.

John

Having a degree in agriculture and several years experience as a businessman, entrepreneur, and CEO of a large national company, John Swinford is very familiar with the term “growth” and most capable when it comes to running a business.

Being a family man, it was always John’s desire for his daughters to be in business with him. However, knowing that they were not about to enter his world of interests, he decided to enter theirs, and in so doing made both his dream of a family business and their dream of having a clothing brand, materialize (literally!).

Focusing mainly on strategic management – John heads up logistics, quality control, and administration for the business. The fashion, marketing and creative aspects of Jota-Kena are left to the ladies.

Under John’s guidance, Jota-Kena has developed an exemplary corporate culture. Since day one, before everyone gets started at the studio, he speaks to the team encouraging them with words of wisdom, which sets the tone for a productive day and ensures a greatly enjoyable work environment.

A down to earth farm boy from the Northern Cape, John has always been highly respected and admired for his generosity, integrity, and leadership practices. Be it in the home, in business or in community development projects, he consistently lives by his mantra of being “hard on standards but soft on people”.

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KEZIAH

Always making, fixing and moving things – whether it was clothing for her dolls, designing and painting her own room, or renovating items she would buy at auctions – Keziah Swinford became a practical thinker and curator of comfort and “usability” from a young age.

As a qualified Interior Designer, Keziah worked as a 3D designer for an esteemed furniture and décor company for some time, after which she started her own business in the field of interior design & graphic arts. She successfully operated her design business online, working with a large range of clients, whilst traveling abroad with her sister for research until recently when she decided to channel all her efforts into Jota-Kena.

A Parisian at heart, Keziah’s personal style can be described as clean-cut & classic. Being constantly challenged, she greatly enjoys her role as co-designer and creative director for media & textiles. She believes that working in Jota-Kena’s team environment allows her to better utilize her strengths and maximize her creativity.

Keziah’s strong convictions and drive to improve people’s lives is apparent in all she does: be it in business or spending her free time investing in the local community through outreach projects.

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NATASHA

A graduate in fashion design with a number of years experience in the industry, Natasha has assisted in growing a variety of local brands, most recent being Jota-Kena. Her expertise has formed an integral part of developing the brand’s undertakings, particularly involving processes and industry connections.

As a young mother, Natasha can often be found outdoors with her family – on the beach, farm, or walking up the mountain.

Lover of patterns and prints, her personal style reflects her multi-faceted life and in many ways, she identifies with the modern woman’s need to integrate the style and comfort of her wardrobe with the ever-changing pace of things.

It is not uncommon for people to stop Natasha and ask “excuse me, where did you get that?” in referral to a garment that she or her child is wearing, only to find that it was a product of her own creativity.

Having been with Jota-Kena for the past year, Natasha recently traded her position in the company to be a full-time mom. As a friend we love her dearly and wish the very best for her and her family in all their endeavours going forward! Her legacy will continue, as the first two letters in her name will forever be the “NA” in Jota-Kena.

 

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FATIMA

14-year-old Fatima Ajam started working as a messenger in the manufacturing industry. One of 12 children, she helped her father support her siblings, so they could study – whilst she worked her way up from a messenger, learning to work on industrial sewing machines, to a supervisor position.

Being the hard worker that she is, with a great eye for detail, she eventually landed a job as a sample hand at one of South Africa’s leading design houses.

Because of industry standard, she was forced to retire at 60. Fortunately, after 2 years of unwelcome retirement Jota-Kena has been blessed to welcome her into our family.

Fatima loves the challenge of constantly working on new things and is grateful that her opinion and input is always valued.

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Contact

 

Trading Hours : Monday – Friday
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM CAT+1
Tel:+27 21 461 2230
E-mail Please contact us by email.

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TANITH

Constantly striving for refinement and improvement, she emphasizes that Jota-Kena is not just about a look, but a life and a value system – where authenticity, excellence and honesty shape the way business is done. Where giving back is central, and where people are prized above all.

×
SONIA

As a teenager in the 70s with dreams of becoming a nurse or matron, in-house seamstress Sonia Hoffman initially started working in South Africa’s manufacturing industry to support her family. Fast-forward 43 years, she knows that it was meant to be and counts herself blessed to be doing what she loves.

A master in her trade, Sonia has been a part of Jota-Kena from the very start, bringing with her so much knowledge and experience. Although very familiar with the ins and outs of transforming a piece of fabric into a beautiful article of clothing, she is not one to get stuck in her ways. Sonia is always ready to take on new challenges and very much enjoys working on new styles – growing and learning with the rest of the team.

From giving valuable input when it comes to style adjustments, cutting and sizing to singing as she lovingly handcrafts samples in the studio – Sonia’s skills and special presence form an essential part of the Jota-Kena core team.

×
ANNETTE

A long-standing friend of the Swinfords and the newest member of the Jota-Kena family, Annette Steenkamp brings a wealth of knowledge and vibrant enthusiasm to the core team.

After earning her degree and working in the field of secondary education for a number of years, Annette went on to become an expert in project management, heading up various programs in global youth development and administration – her heart being to help and uplift society.

A forward-thinker and innovator, she is always experimenting with her own artisan projects, with her most recent role in business being in the hospitality industry. However, having been part of the Jota-Kena journey from the start in her capacity as a friend and supporter, Annette fully believes in the company’s vision and value system and looks forward to all that lies ahead. We are just as delighted as she is to have her as part of our team!

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