Zintle Iintokazi – Human Power Apparel

Zintle Iintokazi Human Power Apparel Made by South African Women

We are excited for you to meet the founders of Zintle Iintokazi.

As you know, here at SYH, we are inspired by men and women that go all out for what they are passionate about, we are inspired by their hustle and the spirit of perseverance, and Zintle Iintokazi ’s journey is one that we can learn from.

Learn how they got her hustle together to birth Zintle Iintokazi:

Who are the people behind Zintle Iintokazi?

Our names are Bukwase Mgidlana, Nompumelelo Mgidlana and Nonisi Dhlamini. We are all cousins. We have always want to start a business together to ensure that eventually we do not work 9-5 jobs, but instead run our own business which empowers ourselves and others while benefitting others through creating jobs (eventually). We come from a family of entrepreneurs. They try to use entrepreneurship as a secondary income which is highly necessary today. We want to achieve the inverse where entrepreneurship is first then working for someone else is secondary.

We officially started the business in January 2018. The business idea inception started mid- 2017 after we had been trying to figure out what we could invest our time, talents and efforts in while studying. One of us, Bukwase, has an Instagram page which celebrates personalities in African space, who are under the radar, but are doing exceptional things.

She used this platform to celebrate these people; inform the followers about these people and to educate us. Inspiration to a large extent was drawn from this as as a team we realised that as (South) Africans we do not
celebrate African personalities enough.

From the time that you decided to pursue this business, what challenges have you faced?

The challenges we have faced includes funding; time management;

 

*Funding :* Because we’re still students and we do not have credit records nor surety, it was extremely difficult to get funding to begin our entrepreneurship journey. It still is at this stage of the business as the business is still considered to be new. Therefore, we had to start the business venture with the bare minimum and try to grow from there.

 

*Time management:* It has been difficult to juggle university work and the business but we take each week as it comes. Each week presents its own challenges but by constantly communicating, we’re usually able to resolve
matters at the earliest convenience. It has been extremely difficult to run the business especially between May and June as it has been exam season.

 

*Suppliers:* Getting a reliable supplier at first was difficult. Initially we had a supplier who did not take us seriously as “we are young” so they often took us for granted by not delivering on time or by giving us the incorrect order (quantity or quality wise), therefore it led to a delay in our orders getting to our customers.

 

*Machinery:* Because we do not have our own machinery, we have an intermediary who we get the stock from. Sometimes it gets tricky, depending on when we get orders. It would definitely be more convenient if we had our
own machinery so we could print on demand.

 *Funding: *We had to ask our parents to loan us money. They assisted us in the best way possible. The reason they loaned us this money (without interest) is to teach us the value of money in business. They are in no rush for us to pay them back, but we do need to do so eventually. We are currently still struggling with funding therefore we are exploring
other ways to get more funding by looking at places which offer funding options which are applicable to us.

 

*Time management:* Each day we set aside a few hours to engage in business activities. Depending on our personal schedules, we make time to do tasks which we have set out. We also keep each other up-to-date in terms of our
personal and academic schedules to ensure that when one person cannot fulfil their duties, the rest of us can hold the fort. Communication is vital among us as time is of the essence and we’re all based in different parts of Johannesburg.

 

*Suppliers:* We decided to get a new supplier who is based closer to home and who is extremely understanding. We have formed a great working relationship with her.

 

*Machinery:* We are still trying to save and source a printing machine. We are hoping to have one in the near future as this will make operations much easier for us.

How did you overcome them?

This is our brain child. We said “let’s do this” in January 2018. No one forced us or told us to get started. We took the initiative to do so. This keeps us going because we know that we have a concept that has the potential to grow; to become more than what it is now.

Our slogan is “Human Power Empowerment” which means we desire to encourage  individuals to be better and greater individuals in the spaces they occupy. We want to create and continue building the culture of congratulating
people for what they have done. We would like to encourage people to celebrate fellow Africans but in a manner which is different. By saying this, we mean that we want to celebrate people in our immediate spaces too; people who walk through life’s journey with us. We achieve this by drawing inspiration from common figures. For example, one of our t-shirts have the following: Strategic like Biko; Strong like Sobukwe and Resolute like Mam Winnie. If you have someone who is strong in your life, celebrate them! We say that they are strong like Sobukwe (the reference to Sobukwe is because we don’t know the name of the person in your life- but you do). The merchandise serves as a reminder and as a celebratory technique to acknowledge those around us.

What keeps us motivated is we want to be more and do more. We want to be part of the city shakers and country changers. We aspire to be citizens of the country who make positive contributions. We’re also motivated by the fact that we want this brain child to grow and to continue growing to a point where we don’t only distribute t-shirts, but we do more.

How do you push through your worst times? What keeps you motivated?

6. Our business is 6 months old; we’re still in the early stages of business. We are definitely proud and extremely happy about the support we have received from people. We didn’t anticipate it. We have more ranges and more options to offer our customers and we are planning on adding more. We are proud that we’re making baby steps and everyday is an experience. We are happy with the progress we have made so far and we only hope for the best going forth. We are extremely proud of the fact that we are reaching out to the people who we have paid homage to on our  merchandise and we have had the success of giving one of our t-shirts to Nomzamo Mbatha, through the help of one of our friends.

How old is your business/hustle and what are you most proud of so far?

We’re all still studying. Two of us are probably going to get into our industries for a year or two to gain experience in the industry. Mpumi does publishing therefore the experience she gains from the industry will assist greatly in the business. A 9 to 5 job is not a long-term option but it is something we have to do especially since we are still fresh and young
out of university. Working a 9 to 5 job would meaning working in the pharmacy field for Bukwase; doing psychology for Nonisi and focusing on Publishing for Mpumi.

Congratulations on taking that first step and actually starting. How are you marketing your business now, what has worked for you so far?

It is difficult BUT it is highly possible!

Focus on your idea and define it properly. No one can execute your idea as well as you, because YOU know what it is and how the final product should be.

We strongly recommend talking to people. We would not be where we are if we did not talk and engage with the RIGHT people. Bouncing ideas off people is great. They indirectly and directly help you. Always make sure that you have a non-disclosure agreement with you to ensure that they do not tell people about your conversation.

Not every opportunity is an opportunity for you. Stick your brand identity and define it. Use your mission and vision to drive you and to “dictate” where you are headed to ensure that the right opportunities are taken.

What can we expect from Zintle Iintokazi in 2018 and beyond?

You can expect more- more milestones; more products and services  and more of us! We want to break into new ventures and exposure ourselves in the industry as more than just “The t-shirt ladies” … lol, we’re bigger and greater than that! Keep a look out for us. We are here to stay.

How can people find you online?

Facebook: Zintle Iintokazi

Instagram: z_iintokazi

e-mail: ziintokazi@gmail.com.

We are currently working on our website. We’re hoping to launch it soon.

Last Words:

Zintle Iintokazi is more than a brand, it’s a culture, a movement. We want you to be part of our journey. Follow us on our pages and see what we get up to.

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