Trio takes to diaper making with a mission

Shane Ngwenya, Tiyani Khoza and Hanyane Mangwani Ngwenya are the trio who started Softline, a company operating in baby diaper making sector.
Shane Ngwenya, Tiyani Khoza and Hanyane Mangwani Ngwenya are the trio who started Softline, a company operating in baby diaper making sector.
Image: VUKUZENZELE

The business of manufacturing quality disposable nappies remains a limited space for black South African entrepreneurs but a group of friends is working hard to change that.

Shane Ngwenya, Tiyani Khoza and Hanyane Mangwani started researching opportunities in babycare industry more than 10 years ago.

Ngwenya, 35, from Pongola in KwaZulu-Natal, explains their journey in the diaper business thus far.

"It took about 10 years to conceptualise our business, but we officially got it off the ground about two years ago. That is when our company, Softline, was born," he says.

The three business associates thought it wise to venture into the market after realising that not many black people were in the industry and that many households in the townships and rural areas could barely afford premium baby diapers.

"The idea was to produce a good quality product at an affordable cost. We then launched our diaper brand, Adorables."

Ngwenya added that the diapers are manufactured with the consideration of babies' comfort in mind.

The company is outsourcing the manufacturing services, but Ngwenya said they were in talks with government to assist with funding so that it can buy the required manufacturing machinery.

The trio's occupation at the moment is largely sales, marketing and business development.

In its two years of operation, Softline has signed deals with various distributors across the country, bringing the product to many South African homes.

"Roughly, we have managed to create over 100 direct and indirect jobs in the country because our distributors also rely on our product to hire people in their own companies," Ngwenya added.

Customers can also place their diaper orders directly with Softline.

The company's contact details are obtainable from their website.

"In the near future, we would like to venture into exporting our product to other African countries."

Sotfline offices are in Modderfortein near Edenvale in Ekurhuleni.

- This article first appeared in GCIS's Vuk'uzenzele

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