Orders flood in as SA jeweller benefits from the 'Meghan Markle effect'

05 October 2019 - 09:36 By Sanet Oberholzer
The Duchess of Sussex wore a pair of Labyrinth earrings by Cape Town jewellery brand Pichulik during her visit to ActionAid on October 1 2019 in Johannesburg.
The Duchess of Sussex wore a pair of Labyrinth earrings by Cape Town jewellery brand Pichulik during her visit to ActionAid on October 1 2019 in Johannesburg.
Image: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

“I suddenly got a large influx of orders from our online store of one style of earrings — The Magi. I was confused about the specificity of it,” says Katherine-Mary Pichulik, founder of the Cape Town-based jewellery brand Pichulik.

It turns out that the Duchess of Sussex had just been snapped wearing that particular pair of earrings while visiting Victoria Yards in Johannesburg as part of her and her husband, Prince Harry's royal tour of SA.

The Duchess of Sussex donned Pichulik's Magi earrings to visit Victoria Yards on September 30 2019 in Johannesburg.
The Duchess of Sussex donned Pichulik's Magi earrings to visit Victoria Yards on September 30 2019 in Johannesburg.
Image: Sussex Royal via Getty Images

“Our Instagram started going off with tags, mentions, new followers and direct messages. It was exhilarating,” adds Pichulik, whose brand is a favourite among local fans of bold statement pieces.

Pichulik was experiencing the mythical 'Meghan Markle effect' or 'Markle Sparkle' whereby anything the trendsetting royal wears instantly becomes a must-have. As The Guardian puts it, the duchess “can change a fashion company’s fortunes if she wears one of their pieces”.

Pichulik says she’s not quite sure how her earrings ended up on the royal’s ear lobes; rumour has it that they were bought while Meghan was in Cape Town.

So she was even more surprised when, a few days later, the duchess was spotted sporting another pair of Pichulik earrings — The Labyrinth — while visiting the Joburg-based charity ActionAid.

Since then visits to the brand's online store have skyrocketed and sales have been fantastic, Pichulik says.

Pilchulik's Magi earrings sold out after the duchess of Sussex was seen sporting a pair in Joburg.
Pilchulik's Magi earrings sold out after the duchess of Sussex was seen sporting a pair in Joburg.
Image: Supplied
Pichulik's Labyrinth earrings, which Meghan Markle wore while in Johannesburg, retail for R1,500.
Pichulik's Labyrinth earrings, which Meghan Markle wore while in Johannesburg, retail for R1,500.
Image: Supplied

While Markle is the first royal to have worn Pichulik’s jewellery, other famous fans include athlete Serena Williams and actress Emma Watson.

Pichulik says shes appreciates any inclusive, strong and kind women who wear her jewellery, not just celebrities. “But we’re glad that Meghan is one of those,” she adds.

While Pichulik is very grateful for the exposure and “abundance of sales”, she says it was also fantastic to see how excited their community of existing customers were about the duchess wearing some of her designs.

“They were so proud and got involved by sharing our stories and tagging us [on social media]. We felt really supported.”

The duchess of Sussex dons a pair of Flora Leaf Earrings by Nina Bosch.
The duchess of Sussex dons a pair of Flora Leaf Earrings by Nina Bosch.
Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images

Pichulik wasn't the only local designer to experience the 'Markle Sparkle' while Meghan was in Mzansi.

White River jeweller Nina Bosch was delighted that the duchess was spotted in a pair of her porcelain Flora Leaf earrings at a garden reception held at the British High Commissioner's home in Bishopscourt.

“I didn't even know she was going to wear them. I sell them all over the world but I think someone bought them for her at my shop at the [V&A] Waterfront,” Bosch told the Sunday Times.

“They cost R400. I think I should make them R400,000 now,” she joked.


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