ZITA DE BRUYN
Meet our Digital Strategist (and Art Director... and TikTok Star... and Multi-Talented Unicorn)
Okay peeps, time to talk about Zita. Best you strap in and keep your hands and feet inside the compartment at all times bestie, because @de_zita.show is a fast-paced ride that does not stop for mere mortals who can't keep up. Such is the way when you are in the presence of a Leo queen who stands in her power, shaking that mane.
In Jumpin' The Gun terms, this lioness also happens to be a full-on sparkly unicorn.
"Zita is one of those rare unicorns - for our team, she is somewhere between a digital strategist and an art director. She knows the ins, outs, diagonals, and upside-downs of what it takes to communicate successfully on social platforms. From meticulously organised documents to the latest, hysterical trend on TikTok - she's always bringing new and innovative ideas to the team. On a typical day, Zita will be ensuring our social media posts for all our brands are on track, liaising with clients to plan upcoming content and providing helpful feedback and assistance to her co-workers," says Keagan Clack, Creative Director.
Managing Director Michelle Van Sittert agrees, adding that Zita is one of those very hard-to-find employees who have no problem stepping outside of her comfort zone or helping with a brief that may not even be in her job description.
"On the daily, Zita conceptualises campaigns and creates proposals (on proposals, on proposals!), handles her own set of clients and brands, develops monthly marketing overviews and briefs, as well as managing the daily flow of content and directing the traffic of our team. She also assists with the majority of our content creation that is not design related (even though she's a great soundboard for design) including art directing photoshoots, attending all client events, doing coverage of those events and even goes as far as stepping in front of the camera to be our resident reels/TikTok star," says Michelle.
The story of how Zita became a part of the JTG team is another thing that makes her so special. See, she came to the marketing world from a very unique angle...
"When I was 19, I joined the cruise ships working in a spa for Steiner after completing a beauty course at BN Academy. We travelled the waters around Bermuda, Western Caribbean, Mexica, Canada, and the USA, and I really flourished in this environment because I am a natural people's person, even though I was the youngest of 2000+ crew members at the time. I always got along with management, and within four months I was head therapist, and doing the introductory tours for the new guests who came onto the cruise ship," Zita recalls.
Wait, what? Cruise ships? Weren't we just talking digital strategy? Hang on, honey, there are many chapters to The Story of Zita. Next up, our girl ventured into makeup artistry!
"It all started when a bride on the cruise ship was getting married and the spa manager asked me to do her makeup even though we didn't really offer the service at the time. As a therapist, I would always do a full face of makeup myself and put that little bit of extra in because I am a total glam queen. So I had a big personal makeup selection, and doing her makeup that day, I fell in love with the craft. This is why, when I came home after my first cruise stint, I decided to stay and pursue it as a career."
So Zita started doing promotions for various beauty brands in Cape Town, applied for a job at the MAC flagship store at the V&A Waterfront after 8 months, landed it (obviously), and learned a ton from the artists there. Two years down the line, she was working on their events team, doing makeup for huge happenings like Cape Town Fashion Week and Gavin Raja's couture show; as well as celebs like TV host Ayanda Thabetha, former Miss SA Ziphozakhe Zokufa, as well as many top CPT models and influencers.
After this, it was time for our girl to spread her wings, and she left MAC after 5 years to pursue freelance make-up artistry in the wedding and beauty space. This worked a charm, but then, The Pandemic hit...
Obviously not one to sit around waiting for better days, even during a global lockdown, Zita got to work on a brand-new vibe straight away.
"During lockdown I started pushing really hard on my side hustle, Cub Culture, which I launched in 2018 as a platform where I shared anything useful that I discovered and learned about mental health and wellness in general. In 2020, I added the brand's first line of products that my mom was manufacturing, building the store and doing the branding myself. I watched hours and hours of Gary V’s marketing expert YouTube videos, sat in many marketing webinars, watched tutorials on how to do graphic design - generally pulling up my socks and doing everything myself."
This is when Michelle, a school friend of Zita's, sat up and took notice. She reached out to Zita to find out who was doing the marketing for Cub Culture, and when she learned it was Zita herself, she offered her a job then and there. This is how she managed to land herself a job in the midst of hard lockdown in July of 2020.
"Zita came to Jumpin' the Gun with ZERO creative industry experience, however, this did not bother me in the slightest as I knew myself and Keagan could teach her our way of thinking and doing (it is sometimes even better that way!) and she could learn from all her team mates. The world of advertising has changed so much that what you learn at traditional institutions isn't what you actually do every day and someone with a love for social media/digital marketing can often make a far better candidate than someone with the know-how but never spends time or enjoys being online," says Michelle.
Keagan agrees. "I am amazed at how far Zita has come in her journey at Jumpin' the Gun. Transitioning from a professional make-up artist to the digital marketing world was a big change. I am inspired by her bravery and proud to have her become such a crucial member of our team. She has exceptional ideas that bring so much value and I'm sure she will be as well known for this career as she is for her makeup artistry. I look forward to watching this multi-talented unicorn continue to move from strength to strength for years to come," he says.
In short, Zita picked up what takes other people years of training in just a matter of months and has now been with JTG for two years, where she continues to serve nothing but looks and excellence. Oh, and she happens to be super organised, and amazing to work with as well.
"Clients and co-workers alike love working with Zita because of the effortless balance she strikes between top-level professionalism and general good vibes. She has a warm, friendly attitude that is just infectious, and she can lift the spirits of everyone lucky enough to be in a room with her (whether virtual or IRL)," says Keagan Clack, Creative Director.
"She has a keen eye and understanding of digital marketing in a social media-centric world and is never someone to shy away from a challenge just because she might be out of her comfort zone. She is quick to learn and adapt to an ever-changing industry and will immerse herself in the worlds of the brands we work with to ensure she fundamentally understands what the brand is, who their audience is, and how best we can market the relevant product or service."
Anna-Bet Stemmet, Senior Copywriter, agrees. "One of the main strengths that Zita brings to the table is staying on top of trends, knowing what people are watching and what people want to see. A lot of our brands market themselves with their strong missions and objectives, but it is our job to find an interesting, fun, digestible and trending way to relay those messages to our audiences via social media, and that is where she comes in," Anna-Bet says.
It's also a major advantage that she is both strategic and creative.
"Zita is a double-barrel talent which you seldom find and I particularly appreciate this element of her because it is the way I like to work and think! She is both highly strategic as well as very creative. Those that find success in the creative side of the industry rarely excel at the strategic part of the job and vice versa - yet she juggles both and achieves fantastic results whilst doing it," says Michelle.
"She is also an incredible motivator and support system to her team and even to me as her employer. On my absolute worst days when I have been told all the bad things you can imagine, she is there to pick me up, dust me off and remind me that I'm amazing."
This same golden thread runs through the narrative among her co-workers.
"One needs to understand how people consume information to do what she does so well, and that calls for a lot of creative thinking. It also helps that she is an amazingly organised, positive person, that makes her great to work with," says Tara Bakkes, Lead Designer.
Community Manager Macdonald Makganyoga agrees. "Zita is such an easy person to work with. She is always polite, calm, and collected even when she's stressed out. She's been patient and helpful towards me right from the start, and always assures me that I'll get it right. Also, her laugh is completely contagious - every time she laughs, I find myself laughing as well," he says.
"You can tell how passionate Zita is about what she does by the amount of effort she puts into everything and how hardworking she somehow manages to be every day," says Megan Shaw, Junior Designer.
And the girl herself? She loves that she gets to do what she loves without feeling boxed in.
"What I really appreciate about the job, Jumpin' The Gun as a company and our team is that we are not boxed in. The floor is open for anyone to discover and play in any sort of field. This industry is so new, and there is still so much scope for me to explore and see where my strengths lie, and I love that Michelle and Keagan give me the freedom and opportunity to go and experiment and find out what I dig and what I am good at, while also letting me know where they see me shine."
And how we love to watch you shine, girl! Onwards and upwards, always.
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