Being a Zimbabwean is not the easiest things to wake up to every morning. On Twitter we term it as “an extreme sport!” Unemployment rate is currently sitting at 95%. In a normal country things shouldn’t be like this. We are going through the most; from cash shortages, to roads that are filled with potholes, parents unable to afford to take their children to school, employees not getting paid their monthly salaries, failure to access health care…the list is endless and heartbreaking and not something I would want to dive into on a Monday morning.
Most people have taken to informally employing themselves and for some it is working out well for them. Today I want to share with you what some young entrepreneurs are doing in Zimbabwe to keep themselves afloat during this very trying time.
Avo Apparel by Kudakwashe Juta
From a young age I had a keen interest in drawing, I would scribble on desks, walls, chalk boards notebooks. I wasn’t good with numbers but I would always connect with shapes and understand infographics more than digits. At age 17 my older brother and I taught ourselves graphic design on a desktop computer that had an 8gig hard drive, it was super slow and we had no tutorials, this was a year before YouTube even existed. We had to figure out the software through trial and error. I would then develop and design my own brands even through college and fail and start over again and again until I started reading up on professional textiles printing, networking with international screen printers online until I had become a master of the game. It was then that I realised it could turn into something real that had the power to change the industry. I started seeing it as a business opportunity.
At age 26 I quit my job to pursue textiles printing full time but I didn’t have bulk production equipment; so I had to work as a freelance designer for almost two years till I was able to get my first machine through the help of a long time friend called Denis Hozheri. After 3 failed attempts at starting a retail apparel brand I told myself I would get it right if I kept on trying. It was then that I came up with the Avo Apparel brand which I developed for nearly a year doing almost 30 designs only to start with 2. The brand was launched in July 2014 and got great online reception which to me was a sign of potential. However, I had to put everything on hold for nearly 9months because I didn’t want to do door to door and boot sales, I wanted a shop! The shop opened for business in February 2015 and by then I only knew the printing side and had to learn the manufacturing side of the business and 4 months after we opened the shop we pretty much controlled almost all of our entire production processes. Besides retail I also do Corporate Wear through my company called “Inklab”, we’ve worked with reputable brands such as Tanganda, DHL, NetOne, Ernst and Young, KPMG, City of Harare, Institute of Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe, African Sun, Telone, and Old Mutual.
Follow us on social media and be part of our journey;
Twitter – @inklabzim
Make sure you get in touch with Kuda for all things retail apparel.
Hair piece and Earrings by Ndini Fugu $10
Unemployment inspired me to start on this journey! I used to make my own accessories after I found it hard to find exactly what I was looking for. People started inquiring about where I got them from and if I could make them some customised pieces. I saw an opportunity to turn my hobby into a profitable business.
I have only recently started a few months back but it has been nothing short of a blessing it couldn’t have gone any better. People still don’t believe I make the accessories myself, actually they still don’t believe it! The first question I always asked was “are you really the one who made this?” In order to claim ownership of my products I termed my brand “Ndini”. My hair accessories range from $1 to $10 so there is definitely something to suit your pocket. You can get my accessories from ISU collections in Eastlea and I also work per order and deliver if it’s not too far out of town. You can check out my work on social media from these links:
Ladies if you need something to make your hair pop then she is definitely the person to hook you up! Gents, surprise your girl with something cute and artsy crafty just because it’s Monday.
I grew up loving to cook and the BBC Food Channel was my all time favourite and I would spend time swooning on Ainsley Harriots dishes and Nigela Lawson’s sweet treats. I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and I remember even then it was the cooking competitions that we would always win with me leading my team. After high school I went on to study Culinary Arts and I have been in the industry since then.
The food industry has allowed me to visit diffrent countries and given me the oppourtunity to study in the culinary capital of the world Paris at one of the most renowned culinary schools Le Cordon Bleu. That has allowed me to have an appreciation of international cuisine and which I have since fused with local dishes to create incredible bespoke menus for my clients.
Food is always good business and economically it’s one business that will always thrive no matter how good or bad the economy is. I would like to see more professional culinary schools opening in Zimbabwe with Internationally recognised Diplomas and Certificates.
I’m on social media and you can find me on:
If you want to have top notch meals for an event or any special occasion, Dananai does bespoke menus after a consultation.
*Bonus Brand To Watch Out For!*
“My Zim Hustle” is an educational campaign about investment on the capital markets. They are trying to increase people’s knowledge about the stock market and other investment opportunities available. If you are looking to having multiple income streams and not just depend on your month to month salary from your job then be sure to be a part of My Zim Hustle. For more information contact them on www.myzimhustle.co.zw
I’m a firm believer that you can do anything that your mind conceives. Even though there as so many negative things happening in Zimbabwe some positive and productive ventures are taking shape.
What are some of the brands that are making noise in your country? Perhaps you initiated a programme of sort within your community that has spread like wild fire? Tell me more about it, I would love to hear from you.