From running various businesses such as selling books, and watches, running an online magazine, and developing websites and logos for small businesses, Kabelo Selekolo wants to focus on his latest venture, Mswenko [Stylish] Footwear.
Selekolo (32) from Rustenburg, but now of Halfway Gardens in Midrand, says the idea of Mswenko Footwear started in 2014 when he had his first job. He was raised by his aunt and uncle and his background in entrepreneurship includes selling cold drinks, beer, and snacks.
In 2010, Selekolo moved to Gauteng to study Information Technology at the Tshwane University of Technology and has since moved around for different jobs.
“I find myself buying a new pair of sneakers every month [because I was now working]. And as someone who enjoys jogging at night, I wonder if there is a kind of stylish and versatile shoe that I can wear for sports and casual occasions,” said Selekolo.
“At that time, I couldn’t find anyone who could meet my needs. Due to my limited knowledge of the fashion industry and the difficulty of raising funds, I let the idea slip away. However, in recent years, I have seen people like me create their own shoe brands, which inspired me to revisit the concept of a versatile sneaker from 2014 onwards. I officially started researching and developing Mswenko Footwear in December 2021, and the business was launched on October 18, 2022.
According to Selekolo after 10 months of research and samples, the product they are selling now is the fourth sample they received from the manufacturers.
He said that the process leading to the launch was difficult because there was no way to finance the business, limited research, and samples.
“Since the launch, it’s been really good. The feedback from our existing customers has been positive and we’re starting to see demand from new customers as well. I think the market is more or less as big as we think one. We are a small player compared to big brands like Reebok and Nike, but what sets us apart is how we position ourselves in the shoe market. By offering a wide range of high quality products, I believe African shoe brands have the potential to dominate the market more than foreign brands.
The local entrepreneur built a brand out of a passion for fashion