As the co-founder of Inner Secrets Lingerie, Penny Parolis brings her own brand of strength, resilience and femininity to the luxury lingerie boutique. By placing emphasis not on how her customers look in their lingerie but rather how they feel, Penny has succeeded in making Inner Secrets Lingerie an inclusive space where each unique facet of the female form is celebrated.
Through hard work and an unwavering dream of bringing quality, heritage lingerie to South Africa, Penny has set the benchmark for women in the workplace. Conquering the niche market by ensuring that Inner Secrets Lingerie clients are correctly fitted for bras and shape wear, Penny’s policy is that no woman would leave any of her stores feeling less than fabulous.
Inheriting her mother’s dedication to furthering the feminist cause, Penny started out with a career in education – the basis of which has aided her in teaching the importance of a well-fitting bra. Using her fight with breast cancer as the catalyst for driving home Inner Secrets Lingerie’s ideology, Penny has striven to provide her clients with a unique shopping experience that uplifts their mood and leaves them with a better understanding of what suits their natural shape.
“A woman’s self-esteem is completely elevated when she sees the difference the correct-sized bra does to her shape and appearance. With the right foundation wear, a woman faces her daily life with renewed esteem and confidence!”
Penny’s passion for helping others reflects not in her helming of Inner Secrets Lingerie but also how she has risen as a female entrepreneur. Alongside her son Dimitri, Penny begun a distribution company in the early Nineties but soon moved into retail after she discovered her talent for sourcing the best international swimwear, shapewear and lingerie brands and selling them in a female-friendly space.
“The motto of our retail business – which was borne from our passion for this industry – was to make a difference in the well-being of every woman, uplift her psyche and make her feel beautiful.”
In addition to this ethos, Penny sought to train local women as professional Corsetieres – reintroducing the lost skill of correct lingerie fitting and creating an entirely new employment sector for the South African economy. Today, Inner Secrets Lingerie is proud to offer their customers the service excellence and experience that goes with the luxury brands they stock.
For more information contact Kirsten Reynecke on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0827488887
This Women’s Month, Brand Hubb is taking some
time to salute all women, from all walks of life, across various
sectors and industries in South Africa.
The women like Penny, who are able to juggle a successful and demanding career in the retail industry, all while ensuring to raise and care for their family.
“I grew up in the small town of Howick. Most of my childhood was spent in game reserves in and around South Africa with my parents and two older brothers. My favourite is Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and, I suppose, this is where my passion for the industry started. Most kids dream of being nurses and firemen or doctors but, I grew up with a yearning to live in the middle of nowhere in a little house surrounded by wildlife, driving my old Landrover, and living off the land. Basically, I wanted to be Kuki Gallmann in I Dreamed of Africa… That was the life I dreamed of.”
“After school, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, however, after losing one of my brothers in a car accident, I knew I couldn’t just disappear into the middle of Africa. My best friend’s brother worked in Madikwe, and I accompanied him for six weeks (we would work a cycle of six weeks on with two weeks off) on a ‘working holiday’. I started at the bottom, doing admin, room checks, and spent two weeks in the boiling sun building a rubbish cage. Growing up with a dad who is a mechanic, two older brothers and a man as a best friend, I learnt how to do all the manly things in the world! Standing on the deck of the lodge speaking to guests about their game drive, watching the African sun setting, is how I began to know that this was where I belonged. And, to cut a long story short, I never left.
“I have worked in several departments during my career, (except the kitchen, because, if you ask my family, I’m not the greatest cook!). I even became an honorary officer for North West Parks Board focused on anti-poaching. Once my son was born, though, I had to resign myself from the dangers of this work.”
"One of the key factors is finding a good recruitment company to help you with the presentation of your CV, and they have the first pick of job openings.”
You recently won Dream Hotels & Resorts’ General Manager of the Year (2018). Tell us how this made you feel, and how you came to work at Nibela?
“Yes, this year, I was honoured by winning Dream Hotels & Resorts’ General Manager of the Year. As I stood on the podium with three other male colleagues, who are all very experienced and well-respected in the industry, I thought there was no chance…
“I started with Dream Hotels & Resorts in November 2017, with Nibela being the first property in the group. After 10 years in the Madikwe Game Reserve, I was in a small predicament, needing schooling for my son (the closest formal school to our last lodge was a 2.5-hour drive). I had an initial interview over the phone and a secondary interview at the Head Office in Johannesburg before we came out to see the property. We fell in love. Even though the closest school is 40 km away, we haven’t looked back on our decision at all.”
“Nibela is an amazing lodge. It is one of the only lodges situated right on the northern banks of Lake St Lucia. We are on a peninsula, and many of our guests love the fact that they feel like they are on an island. Pelicans, flamingos, hippos and crocodiles are frequently seen in front of the lodge.
“The birding is wonderful with many rare species; the forest boasts trees that are so big and beautiful and the butterflies are truly special, but my favourite thing about Nibela is sitting on the deck at dawn with a cup of coffee watching the sun rise over the lake. The stillness of the forest is intensified by the morning song of the birds. It really is magical!
“We are located among 260 hectares of unspoilt forest, with an array of walking trails and a few roads that access different parts of the property, it really is the place to come if you are looking for relaxation and a little digital detox. However, there is Wi-Fi and TVs for those who want to catch their favourite show or sports game.
“We also have activities for guests who want adventure. We have boat cruises on the lake where you can watch the sunset over the water (another one of my favourite things to do), we have quad bikes, guided birding/butterfly walks, fishing, a game viewer that takes guests down to the floodplains to see the flocks of flamingos, mountain bikes and a beautiful tented spa. There is something for everyone, young and old, adventure seekers and those who want peace and quiet.”
This Women’s Month, Brand Hubb is taking some time to salute all women, from all walks of life, across various sectors and industries in South Africa.
The women like Gemma, who are able to juggle a successful and demanding career in the hospitality industry, all while ensuring to raise and care for their family.