Local designer aiming to cement lagacy and adding sustainable value into the local creative industry
Head Designer and Director of LERATOLETHATO, a leather design and products manufacturing company, Ms Nthabi Lephoko says that she aims to establish a lasting legacy and adding sustainable value onto the local creative industry. Lephoko is one of the ten companies that are showcasing locally-made clothing and textile products, goods and merchandise at the Source Africa Clothing and Textile Trade Fair that is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Source Africa Clothing and Textile Fair promotes African-made textiles, clothing, footwear and fashion accessories to international and regional buyers as well as boost intra-regional trade between African countries.
Speaking at the two-day exhibition, Lephoko said that she established LERATOLETHATO in 2011 following the successful outcomes of a feasibility study that she conducted on skins and hides on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
“I derived a lot of inspiration based on recommendations of my study and was inspired by the opportunities in this sector and have never looked back since. I was able to establish my company which currently employs six people and I am definitely looking forward to expanding operations. My company produces a wide variety of products ranging from card holders, wallets, leather belts, handbags and I also do the furniture range where I manufacture cushions, chairs and couches and a little bit of clothing,” she said.
In addition, Lephoko revealed that she had conducted research about showcasing at Source Africa and that she knew that platform would afford her the opportunity to attract local and international buyers and those from the African region as a whole.
“I saw this as a great opportunity to showcase my talent and share my passion in terms of my products. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of buyers and other creatives to exchange ideas. The local reception for my range of products has been interesting. I have had the opportunity to supply small niche boutiques. I have always been targeting a niche market and I have a passion for that particular market. I have an understanding that there is a great buying power within that market. However, in terms of managing cash flow it is important to always have an entry product which can be targeted at the mainstream market. The only way that one can master that is when one expands so that we can be able to manufacture more and trigger a positive cash flow,” said Lephoko.
On future plans, Lephoko said that she would like to expand and that she already has a business plan in place to do so.
“I am looking at establishing an incubator which will focus on leather manufacturing and that I can share my skills with other people. Part of the reasons I would like to expand and eventually establish an incubator is to get the kind of support I need and the kind of quality control that would enable me to meet standards internationally,” she said.
The day’s activities ranged from industry information sessions, African country pavilions and international business seminars.
Caption: LERATOLETHATO’s Nthabi Lephoko with one of the leather design bags
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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