The South African Clothing and textile industry is a very competitive space. We see new and innovative brands flocking the industry on a daily basis. New trends are introduced everyday, and like a chameleon, the industry undergoes constant change in order to align with the seasons and current trends. With this, designers have no choice but to keep up or get ahead by introducing brand new creative concepts to the market to aid them in getting ahead of their competitors and creating a unique and loyal fan base for their brands. But how can young designers access the market? What processes are to be taken in order for them to trade at retail stores? How has the industry advanced and aligned with the 4IR? In all honesty, it is quite a mission for young designers to get exposed to such opportunities given the limited resources available to industry players – and considering the aforesaid, it is refreshing to see that our sister countries also try to play a key role in aiding the South African Clothing and Textile industry especially businesses owned by women, with the ultimate desire to see it contributing more to the African Clothing and Textile industry at large.
A visit by the UN Africa Women – a UN organization that was formed to support and champion gender equality and the empowerment of women in Africa and also serves as a global champion for women and girls around the world. The organization was established to accelerate progress on meeting women’s needs worldwide.
It was a pleasant day when the UN Women Africa, represented by delegates from Mozambique, Malawi, Burundi, South Sudan, uGanda and South Africa came together with the eThekwini Municipality – represented by Ms Zandile Sithole and Ms Ayanda Mvimbi – whom all paid a visit to the iGoda Incubator facilities and had a motivational and constructive conversation with Founder and Managing Director, Ms Zola Shabangu. The conversations steered more towards the history of the business and how it came about and also elaborated more on aiding the Clothing and Textile businesses owned by Women in general and how Local and National Government can assist and intervene.
Ms Zandile Sithole who is the Deputy Head of Supply Chain at the eThekwini Municipality expressed interests in working with the UN Women procurement. Ms Zola Shabangu presented the business model and project to the delegates, which left a positive impression, where each presented ideas on how the business can grow, expand and take advantage of new technologies and Innovation, new and latest methods and trends that the industry has to offer. She further explained the processes she undertakes to gain market access for the designers and incubates and the costs involved in the process.
“The business has faced many challenges in the past, many of which came unexpectedly and each time, we have managed to overcome each obstacle. Each time we rise we keep growing and learning more from the fall, so all that the business has gone through was to prepare us for where we are now and where we are headed” said Ms Zola.
After extensive talks about the industry and what iGoda is about, the team was introduced and given an opportunity to present their works.
Lulu Marenene Head of production at iGoda stated that teamwork plays a very important role in the production room. She further stated that the team pays careful attention to detail and quality before dispatch – which is what sets the iGoda Brand apart from the rest. “It feels good to see our work on rails at big stores such as Edgars, it motivates us and gives us hope to continue working hard and most importantly it shows that we are doing something right and that our hard work really does pay off” said Lulu.
The floor was open for the iGoda team to enlighten us about their work and how they manage to keep a consistent workflow. Khethokuhle Thango, iGoda’s former student and incubate who is now under the employment of iGoda, told us that since he started at iGoda he has learned a lot that has helped him understand the industry better. “When I came to iGoda I honestly knew very little about clothing manufacturing and the industry, I was exposed to new skills and opportunities since I started and have had the privilege of working for a brand that grooms and cares for its employees,” said Thango.
iGoda has been in Operation since 2008, and has since bred well known and very skilled designers who now own their own brands and businesses. The Incubation program equips learners with the necessary skills to create and develop their product, market their own product and gain access to the market and retail stores. Located in the heart of Durban, at 127 Johannes Nkosi Street, Durban, you are sure to find the right threads for you or your business.