So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
I discovered SMC recently and just fell in love with their gorgeous African print socks! I mean talk about statement pieces, these are bright and beautiful. These are definitely wearable art pieces as they are described as on their website!
We chatted to Simba Mupandi about SMC and he had this to say about the business!
Who is SMC?
Style Merchant Clothing comprises of bespoke fashionable/wearable art pieces which are inspired by the African art, culture and the need to preserve that art for future generations.
SMC Socks are a perfect gift for a stylish, outspoken and sophisticated individuals who are confident to be different and proactive for the cause of cultural preservation. Style Missionaries are trendsetters.
3 things you had to learn the hard way in business?
a) Not to rely on a person’s word. People have a change of mind always so relying on what a person says today when they’re feeling some type of way must not give you false hope. The person will work tomorrow feeling a different way and they won’t go buying from you or sponsoring you as promised. If it’s something important it has to be written on paper.
b) Great communication skills – people love to be treated special and the special effort you exert in making them feel that type of way will affect your business positively. Some of your customers will end up being friends or business partners due to your great service and communication.
c) Patience – in business there are a lot of tasks which one cannot do themselves due to lack of skill or time and these tasks need to be outsourced. You may waste your time trying to do everything buy doing it wrongly and longer which will cost you financially. Subcontractors are there to assist you and you just have to be patient because most of the time they will make mistakes and miss deadlines. Their business is in helping people like you and there might be lots of you on the queue.
What is your advice to people wanting to start their own business but are too scared?
– a child does not master the art of walking in a day, it’s gradual. The child starts by falling but will end up mastering it. You must only start a business you are passionate about. Invest your time and money in acquiring more knowledge about that particular kind of business most often. If a business fails it means there is something you didn’t do correctly and you just need to correct the issue and carry on.
What have been the challenges you have faced during lockdown?
a) uncertainty – people were uncertain about tomorrow and they wouldn’t spend on items they don’t deem essential at that point.
b) loss of income due to government restrictions – only businesses which were deemed essential by the government could only operate in the stricter levels of lockdown so our business was halted. A lot of customers and potential customers lost their income as well and that drove the sales further down the hill.
c) lifestyle changes and unpredictable shopping habits.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
a) SMC establishing factories in the remotest parts of SA/Africa to bring employment to people and to harness the raw talent/creativity from such areas
b) Open research laboratories which are going to lead in the research and development of African primitive materials, crafts and skills. Becoming a knowledge hub for such.
c) Becoming a global supplier of African art.