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Viewing problems as challenges is one of Hlahatsi's secrets to making riches in the rag trade

By unknown | Apr 16, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Tabane Hlahatsi started out with only one sewing machine three years ago. Since then he has grown his fashion design house, Dubstars, from a home-based business into a thriving company with premises in Johannesburg's city centre. He currently employs three people and owns five sewing machines.

Military-style clothing is the 30-year old's fashion niche. But his designs include other styles, even smart-casual wear, depending on the client's needs. Unathi Nkayi, Rudeboy and Chanel O presenters are a few of Hlahatsi's celebrity customers.

When talking to Hlahatsi, he smiles a lot, chuckling now and then. It would be easy to assume that Hlahatsi's time in this cut-throat industry has been rosy but on the contrary, there have been many challenges.

China has been a major cause of dismay for the people in this industry as many companies have decided to purchase their material from there. This has left local manufacturers pondering about the fate of their future.

Not everyone is able to turn a bad situation around by trying to look at it from a positive angle. According to Hlahatsi, companies purchasing their material from China has had a positive effect on the country. "China has given us a challenge and we ought to either step up and improve on our industry or bow out of the race," says Hlahatsi.

"Our skills need to be updated for us to be able to develop ourselves and the continent. SMEs need to be able to access finance easier irrespective of our ages. The youth is tomorrow's future," he comments.

"I have always been self- funded. Before I started, I worked for other people and that's where I got money to save up for my company," says Hlahatsi.

Fortunately, young and upcoming entrepre-neurs need not lose heart as there are several sources of financing that cater for the youth. Umsobomvu Youth Fund has played a major role in the growth of upcoming companies by providing them with numerous ways of acquiring finance.


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