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Natalie Killassy

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Entrepreneur
Natalie Killassy
Company
Stitch Wise
Industry
Textiles
Year Selected
2004
Jobs at selection
128
Jobs 2017
81
Revenue Increase 2011 - 2012
2%
Company Snapshot

In 1997, Natalie Killassy began a sewing company for paraplegics who had previously worked on the Western Deep Levels gold mine in Gauteng Province. Initially the project focused on manufacturing protective clothing for the mining and other hazardous industries. However, Natalie quickly identified the need to produce innovative, leading-edge, fall-of-ground safety devices. She therefore developed a line of patented backfill and modular gully bags that prevent fall-of-ground accidents.

 

Today, Stitch Wise supplies over 12 000 patented backfill bags a year to the mining industry, and produces cutting edge rainwear, knee and arm guards – all with the same core of paraplegic staff. Stitch Wise sets the industry standard in geo textiles, has captured 50% of the backfill market in South Africa, and is protecting today’s mine workers from the very accidents that crippled Stitch Wises employees. The firm employs 128 workers – 80% black, 40% paraplegics – and uses a majority of male paraplegic sewers.

 

Stitch Wise has benefited greatly from Endeavor’s programmes and projects. These include strategic introductions to new mining customers, being paired with a Deloitte management consulting team for mapping out future growth plans, and access to invaluable research and insights from eMBA projects.