Molepolole — A Molepolole born businessman, Mr Katlego Thabalaka says he started Armadillos shoes after his research on types of shoes students wear at school showed that a certain brand, an import, dominated school corridors, although it was too expensive for most students.
He said making durable school shoes from genuine leather was his entry point into business and he made a move to exploit the situation.
Mr Thabalaka highlighted that his business was named after an animal believed to have the toughest skin on earth, the Armadillo.
The youthful art teacher said he used 3D to design his shoes, and said he did research with students and parents for about a year on what kind of shoes they would prefer.
"In 2016, I started producing some samples with different production companies to check who could give me the product that my clients desired and finally settled for an Israeli company, which has a factory locally. That's the company I am currently working with to produce the school shoes," he said.
Mr Thabalaka further said he recently produced about 400 shoes for junior and senior school students, half of which have already been sold.
He said the business was promising as many people appreciated his efforts of making quality school shoes at an affordable price, revealing that he financed his dream from his pocket.
He said the support from his family and friends drived him to work hard every day. Despite his main target being junior and senior school students, Mr Thabalaka said primary school pupils and adults were also keen on his product.
Mr Thabalaka said his objective was to compete with established competitors that often gave young and upcoming entrepreneurs a hard time as they produced in bulk and could afford to drop prices.
He encouraged young aspiring entrepreneurs to be driven by passion and love for business rather than circumstances. He also advised them not to rush into applying for funding or getting loans when they started businesses as it was better to start small with what one had.
He said young people should take business as a long term investment and refrain from having high expectations as soon as the business started.
"It is a natural process that everything grows bit by bit," he said.
Mr Thabalaka thanked JB Sports Botswana for giving him a chance to sell his shoes in their shops.
Source : BOPA