Developing your own products are hard. There’s definitely no shortage of ideas, but time and budget are a young business owners’ worst enemy. For this reason, and the fact that South Africa has some of the most revered artist and skilled people you could hope for is why I chose to collaborate and work with other entrepreneurs. Creating and growing an ecosystem for me and others like me. In order to transfer that idea into the first demo, prototype, a physical item that you can touch, test, break and start all over again, I wanted to involve specialist artists, craftsmen and ladies, in the parts of my products that would make them feature the most.
I had our first product idea which had already passed the first prototype phase, completely hand-made by myself. It was time to turn up the volume and put this puppy into production. I was looking for a small company, an entrepreneur skilled and hungry enough to collaborate with, who would get my concept. Someone that I could trust with my idea.
I thought that it would be easy. I have a doctorate in Google-ing, plus, I know some people. There are very cool SA companies to be found online and some of their products are on display in places such as 24 Boxes or other trendy shops in the area, but most of them were not “young” micro-enterprises. The ones that I found were already quite a way down their entrepreneurial and business journey, and not really what I had in mind. At least not for this project.
These guys were already well represented on all online platforms, covering their bases with an obvious and dedicated marketing budget for social media managers that provide beautiful and elaborate visual content for Facebook and Instagram adds quirky Tweets and Google AdWords campaigns. I wanted someone new, fresh, unique if at all possible in this world with social media bombardment and overexposure.
Being tech savvy and hoping that the Google bots will do my work for me wasn’t going to get me the intended results. I had to speak to real people, make enquiries get out of my house for a change not only for the 2 km round trip to the gym back home via Topps.
Our first product, which I’ll introduce in the coming days, required a leather guy. Okay, strictly speaking, we are all made of leather, but you know what I mean. My partner knows a guy that works with a leather genius in the Fashion District of Joburg CBD. I grabbed the opportunity and arranged a meeting.
Joburg CBD, right, no problem. Historically I had happily kept to the outskirts of town like Braamfontein, New Town, Fordsburg or Maboneng, but not for this outing. Waze didn’t waste time and guided me straight to the desired destination, the Fashion Kapitol Johannesburg City (yes spelt Kapitol), 130 Pritchard Street, City Centre.
I don’t know that I would necessarily comment on the fashion part of the clothing stores and shops on route to this district, but there certainly were, it seemed, hundreds of them. Considering the CBD’s demographic, who knows what is fashionable in the DRC, Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Ethiopia for that matter. Unfair elections, Coup d'états and gold plated AK74s perhaps? I know, they know what the latest fashion is, almost all of Africa with bad internet has DSTV dummy.
With the first meeting in the bag, we had finalized the design for the second prototype and timelines. He quickly completed the first version only days after, which blew me away. Some small iterations and improvements followed and the second one was perfect, really perfect. Ready for production this week. Please follow this blog for my next post on Mbonisi Zikalala and his company called Mbonise Leather Craft.
Now, ask yourself my son, are you the Luckiest Fish?
Did you know that Google is a verb and in the Oxford dictionary?
GOOGLE - VERB
Search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google.
“on Sunday she googled an ex-boyfriend”
Music: Nice to Know You, Incubus
Podcast: WTF with Marc Maron – Episode # 613 – Barack Obama, http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_613_-_president_barack_obama