Nkosinathi Zwane is a determined, and resilient entrepreneur. The 26-year-old learned early in his life that you need to respect your craft and put your best at it.
Growing up in KwaThema township also taught Nkosinathi the importance of empowering others. For the past six years, he has been advocating for people to buy from black businesses and ensuring that the township economy thrives.
Transform SA spoke to Nkosinathi to learn more about his business journey.
Can you briefly tell us about your business?
I am a fashion entrepreneur and a creative. I have been doing a lot of work for township businesses. I met my business partner five years ago and we both pointed out a problem: most designers sew clothes but do not know how to take them to the market. To solve this problem, we decided to train our own models and do events to showcase these designs. In this way, we try to formalize them to become businesses.
What’s your staff complement?
I can safely say that for the longest time we had people but they were not functional. There are only five of us now. And each of us has their own company. We have a guy who has a graphics company and I do video production. From the start, we all knew that we won’t make money now so we decided to invest our skills into this for the same goal.
How do you sustain the business?
It has been challenging, especially with no support. This is a strictly self-funded initiative. People purchase tickets for our events and get to buy the garments from the designers.
From time to time, we get invites from places in Soweto (Vilakazi Street) to do events.
We have been doing this for six years and all I can say is that we are just pushing passion.
What are some of the challenges you face on a daily basis?
The biggest challenge is not having facilities. We do not have a place to rehearse for our models, we do this in the streets because there are no spaces in the townships to do such. We also need skills to capacitate our designers so that they can make money from their garments.
Are you working with any sponsors?
We have worked with Markham’s but it was only for a season and they were dressing the whole crew. Besides that, we have tried to send out proposals to different agencies and even the government. But no one seems to get what we are really about. And that has not stopped us,we are doing this with or without funding.
What is your definition of an entrepreneur?
I would say a true entrepreneur is a person who is resilient, a person who can spot an opportunity and go fully in no matter the circumstance may be and, of course, a visionary.
Going forward, what are your future plans as a business?
We are currently in the process of opening a school for models ….an academy. Where we can give models a holistic experience on how they should dress, and how to brand themselves. We want to get into the development space where we empower both designers and the models.