20 March 2018

Namibia: Budding Entrepreneurship Inspiring Local Brands

Windhoek — The refusal by young Namibians to let a struggling economy, coupled with a high unemployment rate and equally high inequality, keep them down is inspiring the youth to develop their own brands to eventually compete with the best brands in the world. One of the latest brands to make a splash on the local market is Made It In Life, developed by Donald Gotlieb, who is actually a dentist by profession.

Young Gotlieb, also known as Don Speedy, studied dentistry in Europe. Now 30 years old, Gotlieb refused to sit around waiting for an opening as a dentist and decided to determine his own fate. In fact, Gotlieb narrates how early on in life, he always knew that he would become someone in society.

"The thought of sitting at home with no job made me decide to turn my design into a clothing line and inspire a lot of people who want to make it in life. I started my brand in March 2017 while still abroad in Europe studying because I knew I was going to make it out of medical school and graduate so to celebrate my achievement I had to make my brand a reality," Gotlieb told New Era.

Since starting the brand, Gotlieb has already made a name for himself when he proudly sponsored some merchandise to the Miss Namibia beauty pageant. "It was a great feeling sponsoring such a big beauty pageant and I am looking forward to being involved in more local events," he said.

He added that he has no distribution contracts with local retailers yet but will soon focus on including his brand on the shelves of local retailers across the country. Currently, Gotlieb only sells his merchandise from the shop where they are printed as well as from the boot of his car and also does deliveries himself.

Geingob prints his merchandise at Iprint Namibia, situated at Gutenberg Platz in Windhoek's Central Business District, where he holds a minority stake. He prints the brand on items ranging from T-shirts to sweatshirts, to short, baby shirts, vests and caps.

"The brand has been received very well in the local market. I emphasise and maintain a high quality of merchandise because I feel this is essential in maintaining the image and reputation of the brand," Gotlieb explained.

He added that he prints roughly 150 T-shirts per month and noted that his target market is everyone although he focuses on the youth who he feels want to be inspired by his brand and want to achieve something that they will be proud of in life so that they can one day say "they made it in life".

"The biggest challenge I'm currently facing now is with distribution because there is too much demand across the country and even abroad. But I see the MIIL (Made It In Life) brand to be the biggest brand in Namibia because right now it's growing day by day and the sky will be the only limit," said a proud Gotlieb.

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