By: Zethu Gweva
In a mission to boost the township economy, business partners Nkosinathi Sikoti and Bonke Monono Mdantsane shelf strictly local brands in Duish Corner shop.
The shop was launched on September 24th, 2020. The partners have their separate brands, Andikuva Noba Uthini and Strong Character and they decided to start a company together.
According to Sikoti, local brands struggle to get shelf space in clothing shops and at Duish they sell strictly local brands as the big international brands already have enough space on major retailers.
“We decided to come together and start Duish Corner, a walk-in store for our existing and new customers. We also sell other local brands like Mdantsane Native, Ushukela and Addictive Wear,” he said.
Furthermore, Sikoti said they established their shop in Mdantsane because it is where they are both from.
“We are planning to open more branches around the Eastern Cape, then outside the province in the next 3 to 5 years, he said.
When asked by BCM News how the shop is boosting the economy Sikoti said Duish corner has created jobs for locals.
“We have the manufacturing team, the printing team, the in-store sales team then the freelancers (photography and models). We have clothing ambassadors who help promote the clothing items on social media platforms.”
In addition, Sikoti said although their company gave people job opportunities due to Covid-19 when people lose jobs and work fewer hours because of layoffs, they spend less on things like clothing.
“Sales reports show that we had fewer sales during the hard lockdown,” he added.
Talking about the challenges that have faced Sikoti said the shop was burgled and a couple of items were looted and the shop was almost burnt down.
“The main challenge is having our products manufactured locally. If we can have our manufacturing plant it will help in creating more jobs locally and also increase our turnaround time in terms of stock availability. All that is difficult to achieve without the assistance of funding, he said.
According to Monono, venturing into this kind of business as they receive the support they get from people is unmatched.
“The journey is quite interesting as we get to learn the dynamics of running a business from stock take, making orders, sales and staff management. What keeps me happy and motivated is knowing that we can put food on other family’s table. The compliments and appreciation we receive from people who support us do not go unnoticed,” he said.