Stellenbosch University’s famous Matie Shop is now in the capable hands of Lara Cronje. She joined Innovus recently 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 primarily in the youth apparel market, brand building, design, production, merchandising, and retail – both local and international – is spot-on for the new role she will fulfil working for “one of the top universities in the world,” as she refers to SU.
“I like a challenge and love being surrounded by creative, youthful energy that motivates and inspires me,” says Lara.
What is her dream for the shop? The challenge lies in crossing over into the mainstream market to those who have no affiliation with the University but aspire to be part of it simply by purchasing a SU branded product. International University’s like Oxford, Yale, Cambridge have done this very successfully with their branded merchandise. “To truly reflect the brand identity and to stock a diverse range of apparel, accessories and gifting that appeals to everyone, one of which they will wear or carry with pride. I believe that we can do this by association with where the University is situated in South Africa and the reputation it carries both here and abroad,” says Lara.
Being motivated by chocolate and the unlimited potential of the human experience, Lara is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead. One of her main roles will also be to see the new SU brand identity roll out in the Matie Shop and online once its guidelines are established.
Lara and her partner have two daughters, one who graduated from SU last year and a second one currently in her second year studying law at SU.
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826