Working Women: #8 Robyn Barnard

Robyn Barnard at her home in Grahamstown where she runs her business Blue Robin.

Robyn Barnard at her home in Grahamstown where she runs her business Blu Robin.

Robyn Barnard is a book keeper from Port Elizabeth who moved to Grahamstown four years ago and recently began a handmade craft and jewelry business, Blu Robin.

“At first I was feeling very sorry for myself when I moved here as I didn’t really know anyone,” said Robyn. “But making jewelry helped me meet more people because you can connect with other ladies”.

Robyn sells most of her Blu Robin jewelry at open house sales, which she likes because she can get ideas from the feedback from her customers.“

“The only thing I don’t like is selling out of a box, because I feel that my work is a representative of me, and I do take a lot of pride in what I do” said Robyn.

“My husband used to make comments about my beading, he just couldn’t grasp the concept of me “at my beads again”. But now that I’m making money he just keeps quiet,” laughs Robyn, and adds. “I always say ‘now that I can prove you wrong it makes it all the sweeter’”.

Although she advertises on her Facebook page, she doesn’t like to look at trends online, each piece for her is a product of her own intuitive taste.

“I think it’s a business with heaps of potential, if I could do this as my full time job I would be one of those people that skips and jumps in the road” said Robyn.

“But it takes a lot of work and you have to be careful. You have to be a bit selfish,” said Robyn.


South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This August, GAP is publishing a micro-profile a day on women working in Grahamstown in 2015.


About the photographer: Jane Berg is a photojournalist working in Grahamstown finishing her Bachelor of Journalism Degree at Rhodes University. She is the Media Officer for The Gender Action Project. You can see more of her work at www.janebergphotography.tumblr.com and on her Facebook page.

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