Beitbridge youth creates own clothing label Shalom Mudau wearing one of his branded t-shirts

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
BUOYED by a fervent desire to create an authentic Venda clothing brand, 25-year-old Beitbridge-based youth designed his own clothing label, which is already a hit in the border town and across the border in neighbouring Limpopo province in South Africa.

Shalom Mudau designs and prints T-shirts with the catchphrase “Ndi mu Venda mubikwa na ive (I am proudly Venda),” which he says is a form of distinguishing his brand.

He sells his T-shirts around Beitbridge and Limpopo for R200 each.

After seeing that there were a few local Venda brand names, he came up with the business idea. He started just with one T-shirt, to test the waters and the overwhelming response from the market prompted him to pursue the idea. Mudau says he posted the pictures on social networking site, Facebook. From there, people started contacting him, asking for more of the designs.

The young entrepreneur said he started taking orders from people who showed interest in his products through social media.
Mudau said he plans to expand his business by printing hats, jackets and hoodies.

“I buy plain T-shirts from South Africa in a variety of colours so that people can choose the ones they like. I then print the T-shirts at home using a heat transfer vinyl machine.”

A heat transfer vinyl machine (HTV) is a specialty vinyl polymer that can be used on certain fabrics and materials to create designs and promotional products.

Mudau said the machine takes approximately nine minutes to complete the entire process.
“The first four minutes are for cutting the vinyl and making the design and the last five minutes are for pressing and printing,” he said.

Money. Image taken from TimesLIVE

Mudau said he makes more than 60 T-shirts every month, which are often sold out as a lot of people buy in bulk.
“Once done, I communicate with my clientele through social media. People get my number from my Facebook page and come to where I operate from to either get their orders or place new ones,” he said.

The young man said social media, particularly Facebook, has been a very useful tool to advertise his brand and get customers.
Mudau said the only challenge that he has at the moment is inadequate machinery which is slowing down his printing and sometimes makes him miss deadlines.

“I hope as the business grows, I will be able to get a bigger space so that I can get more machines and expand my enterprise. Once that’s solved, the sky will be the limit for me as I’ll be able to produce as many branded clothes as I can,” he said.
Mudau said he is working on establishing and growing a network to help him broaden his horizon beyond Beitbridge so that he can grow his clientele and cover other towns and cities across the country.

“My business is still new and it’s a promising field. I’m hopeful that should I continue working hard, it’ll grow even bigger,” said the young businessman.

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