Everyone wants ‘quick hits’ these days. Well, realistically, quick hits are something that humans have wanted since time gone by. I mean, isn’t it a fabulous warm, fuzzy feeling of success when things go the way you hoped/planned? Classic quick hits!
Of course, quick hits don’t happen as often as we’d like—although some people, annoyingly, seem to stack them up with ease—but we keep reaching for those quick hits, all the same. And why not? That endorphin rush; that walking on air feeling … it’s what one used to call being ‘king of the castle’, back in the day. I’d like quick hits every day, please … it can be addictive!
My dad was a ‘quick hits’ person. Always on the lookout for that next big thing that was just around the corner. Many people dream of that, thinking, Wouldn’t it be great to win Lotto? Yet, they don’t buy a weekly ticket! My dad wasn’t like that. He would give his ideas a ‘solid go’—much to a big sigh from my ever-patient mum who liked to be a bit of a planner. Probably, that’s why they were such good business partners and married for all of their lives … the yin-yang.
My Father Seeing Off a Consignment at the Airport
Below is an extract from my second award-winning book, Ciao! We’re in Africa. It’s 1957 and the small fashion boutique that the Piergiovannis (my parents) started up eighteen months before is expanding. The Rhodesian Fashion Guild is paying for the Piergiovannis to take their fashion styles (using Rhodesian cotton and some imported materials) down to the annual South African Rand Easter Show and promote these in a small exhibition stall. To catch people’s attention my father has organised for two gorgeous leggy blondes to parade the Piergiovanni created styles around the booth. The photo shows my dad at the cargo hold of a plane as he signs off (with great delight) on an order that has been sold to South Africa. #quickhits #Africa #fashion #Rhodesia
There’s a burst of applause as the fashion parade ends but unfortunately, no enquiries. The next night, however, word has gotten around. The crowd has more than tripled and is standing around waiting for the girls to model.
Eugenio delightedly whispers to me halfway through the evening, “The big South African store, Anstey, is very interested. Their salesperson says he’ll bring around his boss tomorrow to have a look. Apparently, two of our garments are just what they’re looking for. He’s convinced they’ll be placing an order.”
On the third day, people mill around the booth continuously. More importantly, the Anstey people return and confirm an order for fifty garments of three designs. It’s the final day when Eugenio grabs me by the arm and pulls me into a brief celebratory dance.
With barely concealed elation, he reveals, "Central African Airways want us to design a new uniform for the ground and flying staff. We've got a month to do something and they'll come up to Salisbury to view!"
We are both delighted by such a prestigious order. It is all we can talk about as we pack up the stall. Thankfully, the car has been fixed and all three of us return safely. Once back at the shop, we get together in what is becoming a ritual brainstorming session; me, Eugenio, Esther, and Janey.
There’s an urgency to attend to this as a week later, the manager of Central African Airways arrives at the shop on schedule, to explain more of the requirements. He’s a big-framed man with a slightly ruddy complexion; he has the look of a quintessential Englishman. I’m getting used to these colonialist types in Southern Africa. They talk with stiff lips and hardly any expression; I still find it rather odd. With sandy-blonde hair and light-coloured eyes, he doesn’t look too much older than Eugenio.
“We’re starting a new regional flight and want elegant, fresh-looking uniforms to launch this. I’ll need sketches of a design for the uniforms that will be functional but elegant. You’ve got a week. Sorry about the urgency but that’s the conditions.”
“No problem,” Eugenio reassures him. “What colours are you thinking about? How many uniforms will we ultimately be making?”
“We’ve got the material coming out from England. As far as I know, it’s royal blue. As for quantities, we’ll be looking at more than one hundred hostesses and one hundred ground staff. This’ll be a valuable business deal, I can assure you.”