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Keedo is a locally designed and manufactured range of children’s clothing with an international presence.
Keedo is a brand of children’s clothing created by Nelia Annandale. In the early 1990s, Annandale was expecting twins and was disappointed by the limited range of children’s clothes available in South Africa. She started sewing clothes for her children, creatively hand-painting the items and dyeing them in bright colours. The clothes were so beautiful that passersby would ask her where she had bought them, but Annadale didn’t really consider leaping on the business opportunity until an unfortunate skiing accident left her badly injured two years later. The accident was a turning point for Annandale, and during her recovery, she decided to pursue the idea of starting her own children’s clothing brand. Having no money and entrepreneurial experience, she approached a bank for funding with nothing more than the clothes she had designed for her own children, managing to convince them to grant her a loan. In 1994, the first Keedo store opened in Tyger Valley. Nelia continued to make the clothing by herself from her spare room before hiring one seamstress a few months after starting the business. In a fortunate twist of fate, Keedo’s export business started about 6 months after the establishment of the first store, when a Swiss customer bought items for her toddler while visiting Cape Town. She loved the brand so much, that she took a few items to sell when she returned to Switzerland. The clothing sold out quickly, and within a few months, a Keedo store had opened in the Swiss town of Baden. Annandale realised the export potential of the brand and turned her focus to markets outside of South Africa.
The economic crisis of 2008 forced the entrepreneur to re-evaluate the local market and the Keedo strategy was changed to focus on growing in South Africa. This proved to be a good decision as the brand flourished, growing to 25 standalone stores in the country. Today, the exports to approximately 16 countries account for 25% of Keedo’s business. The brand’s clothes are designed and made in a factory in Paarden Eiland in Cape Town by a staff of approximately 200 employees. The Keedo brand places an emphasis on a love of nature, echoing Nelia’s love of the outdoors inspired by her upbringing on a farm. In late 2016, the brand was acquired by the Cape Union Mart Group.
Keedo’s clothing is made from 100% cotton and uses natural dyes that are kind to children’s sensitive skin.