Nardia Cronje: Building a business that gives back

This is 29-year-old Nardia Cronje, the founder of accessories line NOMVULA Design. She studied interior architecture and has always loved working with her hands. She knew that by venturing into design she would always be happy, challenged and stimulated.

Using her savings she started creating stylish bags for friends and family in 2012 and has since grown to establish a programme that trains women from rural communities. She would later go to receive financing backing from an investor.

Raised in Kwa-Zulu Natal, at 21 Nardia was honoured with the name Nomvula as a birthday gift by her community because it always rained on her birthday. That would go on to inspire her brand identity. “NOMVULA embodies growth, strength, and power. It encapsulates all aspects of a shared cultural existence which I value beyond measure, and which has shaped the person I am.” 

Based in a rustic corrugated iron studio, NOMVULA Design produces a range of accessories such as handbags, purses, belts, and jewelry using the finest quality leather. Their products can be found at The Space in Rosebank, Gateway Mall, Brooklyn Mall and The Pavillion in Durban and the company will soon launch in Cape Town at Cavendish Square and Canal Walk. They are also available on Hello Pretty, Etsy and their online store


With the exceptional growth of NOMVULA Design, Nardia’s focus remains on skills development and sustainable employment. “I want NOMVULA to be a creative hub for the women of the community. A space for expression, skill development, and self-empowerment,” she says.

Nardia says fear is part of the process of being an entrepreneur but she urges aspiring entrepreneurs to “Be brave, be bold, be gentle but do it. Nothing is more important than your own story”.

Nardia is a trailblazer of note and an inspiring entrepreneur whose mission is rooted in not just building a sustainable business but also empowering communities in the process.

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