Kabokweni entrepreneurs make their mark
Nick and Nicole Nyalungu are the inspiring entrepreneurs behind Nick and Nichol’s, a growing brand that has been making a range of vegan leather products since 2016.
Nick and Nichol’s transforms discarded inner bicycle and car tyre tubes into designer shoes, bags and more.
The husband and wife team, both 33, rescue the tubes from landfills, before upcycling them into unique products - literally taking waste that takes years to degrade and putting it to good use.
“We are artists who create functional art. We call our products Vegan Fashion because of how much they look like leather, but no animal was killed to make it,” says Nick.
While Nicole makes the patterns and does the final hand stitching, Nick does most of the sewing. They are both self-taught.
The entrepreneurs operate from home, in Kabokweni, Mpumalanga. Their business idea was born when, after a few personal events, they started talking about what they could do to change themselves.
“We wanted this dirty unwanted tube to be loved and appreciated again. It gets a second chance. It wasn’t intentional that we found ourselves making vegan-friendly products, it just so happened that the tube looks a lot like leather when it’s made into a bag,” says Nick.
Nick and Nicole are as trendy, savvy and creative as the products they craft, and they are committed to not only creating magic out of nothing, but also to skills transfer.
Driven by their faith and the determination to ‘do it for themselves’ and uplift others, they are teaching youngsters how to create marketable products from scraps so that they too can become self-sustaining.
“We have successfully trained one person so far. Since we moved to Kabokweni two months ago, we have also involved two young ladies from the area who assist part time.”
Their message for youth is to begin by identifying problems that resonate with your interests. “From there, identify solutions for those problems. Before you know it, a way to make money from the solutions will show itself.”
*For more information, visit www.nickandnichols.co.za.
-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.