Sun shines bright for Kasi Shade

Kasi Shade managing director Sello Modikoane and his wife Nthabiseng are business partners.
Kasi Shade managing director Sello Modikoane and his wife Nthabiseng are business partners.

It takes guts to quit a lucrative job at an academic institution to face an uncertain future in the world of entrepreneurship.

But that is exactly what Sello Modikoane did in 2011 when he resigned as a librarian at the Wits University School of Accounting seven years ago.

Today, Modikoane is the proud owner of a prospering business that manufactures, supplies, installs and repairs a variety of high-quality awnings, shades and car ports.

"It all started when my wife [Nthabiseng] had a problem with rain water getting into the kitchen door and coming into the house and damaging furniture," explains Modikoane.

"I'm a librarian by profession, so I did some research. I came with the solution of awnings."

Basically an awning is a sheet of canvas or material like hardened plastic, stretched on a frame and used to keep the sun or rain off a window or doorway.

"It was a new thing to our neighbours in Protea Glen, [Soweto] when awnings were installed to our home and many people wanted them.

"I've always wanted to be a businessman since I was young, so I did business management after matric. It came in handy when I started the Kasi Shade business."

Modikoane, 42, says word spread around Soweto about awnings. "There was a great demand for the products that enhance the beauty of the house while it is also a solution to prevent rain water from entering. Awnings and car ports also increase the value of the house.

"I started small, with an order of 50 awnings. I've been hands-on together with my wife and business partner."

Kasi Shade now has 13 full-time workers. Nthabiseng oversees the administration side, handling the finances, clients' orders and quotations.

"Of course there is competition, but we circumvent that by being professional and most of our clients are kasi-based."

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