INSPIRING ENTREPRENEUR RINA CHUNGA-KUTAMA SHARE HER STORY WITH FASHION THAT PROUDLY DISPLAYS HER AFRICAN HERITAGE
We meet the creative and spiritual entrepreneur, wife, mom and founder of Rich Factory, Rina Chunga-Kutama, who shares the journey of creating dresses in her bedroom to the thriving business it is today.
Rina Chunga-Kutama was born in Zambia, grew up in Botswana and is now a resident in South Africa. Building her business from the ground up in 2017 she is passionate about African cultural conservation through fashion, art and storytelling.
“People like to refer to Rich Factory as an overnight sensation. It was not! From 2007 I was working from my bedroom and finally in 2016 I made the move to my shop in Parkhurst because the business had grown bigger than my house. It grew that big because I was dressing celebrities at the time, and of course when they would post people would get in touch with the brand and they really wanted it. And when I came into the shop it made the brand more accessible because people didn’t have to make an appointment to come into my house anymore. Since we opened our online store last year it has grown even bigger because no matter where in the world you are, you can actually access the garments.”
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED BY AFI
Rina shares that her ultimate fashion icon is eccentric fashion journalist, editor and author Anna Dello Russo.
“I really look up to her. She’s a maximalist, which is exactly the kind of fashion that I love. Over the last couple of years it was all about minimalism, but that’s not what we do here. We want more… Give me more print, more colour, more frills – the whole thing.”
The colourful entrepreneur lives boldly and believes that authenticity is not only beautiful but the best approach.
“I don’t think anyone needs to look in a magazine and try to look like a certain standard of beauty. When you accentuate your own features, when you are confident in your own body, just you being yourself is the most beautiful thing.”
Rina showcased her latest collection for The Insider SA, a line that was inspired by vacation looks and more specifically her 2019 trip to Bali. True to Rina and Rich Factory’s style, it features colourful prints along with lots of pockets, high waisted bottoms and frill detail.
Heading from work to home Rina showed us how she’s created a space for herself and her family to feel a sense of belonging and opens up to us about having Lupus, an auto-immune disease.
“It has attacked my skin, my hair cells, organs like my kidney, and my womb which has led to infertility. Having an auto-immune disease like Lupus that affects my skin and hair while being in the fashion industry, which is such a visual industry, was something quite daunting for me. I really had to take the time to find how to be comfortable in my appearance. I was losing my hair, but still found ways to be myself even without something that I was so connected to, which was how I got into my wigs. But while I do enjoy my wigs… I don’t wear wigs all the time, I do still rock natural hair despite my Alopecia,” says the mom of a 10 month old baby Rainbow.
“The parenting journey was quite a long one for us. We started the process of adoption in 2019 after struggling with infertility for a couple of years. And yes, we were finally blessed with this beautiful baby girl in 2021.”
Rina is married to life and business partner Dimo Kutama, who shares the significance behind their daughter’s name. “After every storm there always comes a rainbow and this is the beautiful rainbow in our lives.”
The couple share that their quality of life has drastically improved since having a baby, from spending more quality time together and at home, to helping them communicate more with each other.
Rina Chunga-Kutama’s work with Dimo and the Rich Factory is helping keep culture alive through her passion for telling a uniquely African story.
Q & A WITH RINA
How are you aspiring to live better?
“Living better to me means moving through the world as my authentic self at all times, showing up in every room I enter as my highest self means I’m living an abundant liberated life.”
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
“If anyone takes anything from me it would be to allow yourself joy every single day.”
What 2 valuable lessons would you like to share with South Africa?
“To always lead with love and to give yourself space to explore the things you’re curious about so you can expand into your highest self and truly enjoy life.”
Where do you go to escape and connect with yourself?
“Ideally Bali. Day to day I’ve consciously created a life that I don’t need to escape from, so if the world feels noisy I just focus on home. I’ve designed my home to look like a Villa so the environment I live in welcomes this. To connect deeper to self and to the divine. I meditate, practice yoga, tantra and mindful journaling and I play a lot, whether it’s through dance, costume parties, painting, riding my bike or even dress up, my soul feels best when it’s having fun so that’s what I do.”
Do you have an encouraging quote for us, to end off on?
“Just live your life man.”