Instyle Trends (Pty) Ltd, a company owned by a young Motswana woman Kelebogile Gontse aims to transform the manufacturing landscape thus contributing towards economic diversification.
Started about five months ago, the company currently manufactures ladies and men’s handbags, accessories, shoes and also repairs them.
Gontse explained to Monitor Business that passion and ambition helped her attain the dream noting that it took her almost three years to finally operate her business through her savings.
“My obsession with shoes and handbags really inspired me to turn my weakness into a strength. I always have the zeal to have my own products under my brand,” she said.
Narrating her journey, Gontse said unlike other graduates, upon completion of her studies she decided to pursue her dream and registered a company before knocking on the doors of financiers. “When I registered my company, I only had a dream and did not have any finance to make it alive,” she revealed.
“I knocked on the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture Development seeking for a grant and was demoralised by the requirements,” she added. Still in despair, she managed to get sponsorship to study Degree in Entrepreneurship. During that time she compromised on her lifestyle by saving a bit from her allowance. Upon completion she got absorbed into the two-year government internship programme where she was fortunate to be employed after 10 months. Gontse
Gontse said the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has been instrumental in her success as they offered her a place to operate her business while the Agency also provides continuous mentorship and training. Further she shared her dreams of establishing a manufacturing factory, a training facility.
Gontse is optimistic about penetrating the international market. Currently she is working on a campaign that promotes her ‘banana shoe’, school shoes that she said would roll out sometime this year. “I am ready to penetrate the market, create employment, empower aspiring women because I have the capacity. My machine can produce about 1,800 shoes in eight hours,” she said.
Gontse said retailers, second hand shoe and handbag traders are their competitors but she believes her products stand out.
In addition she noted that importing raw materials and leather force them to charge a higher price.
“Importing leather and these raw materials for production is a big challenge and we have also realised that locals still have attitude towards domestic products,” she bemoaned.