This year marks the Thula Sindi brand’s first decade in business and June 10th marks the opening of the designer’s first standalone store.
Situated at Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg, the designer promises customers a peek into the Thula Sindi ‘universe’ with basics, ready-to-wear, custom ranges and now accessories, and footwear, all on offer under one roof for the first time ever.
“A store is like a church. Online is like praying at home, but when you have a Cathedral, people are able to come witness what the gospel is about. With the opening of the store people will be able to see how I’d like my clothes worn. We are now able to communicate what the whole Thula Sindi brand is about.” Preach!
So far, Thula has been stocking shops like Luminance and Burgundy Fly as well as other boutiques at home in South Africa as well as Nigeria and Angola.
Last year, the brand went online- an important step in what Thula says was the catalyst to bringing the brand to life in the form of a bricks-and-mortar store.
“Selling through stockists- you are basically letting other people tell your story to the customer. It’s their space, their shop assistants and all of that; you entrust your story to them. But the moment we went online, I suddenly had direct contact with my customers and we were making more money from each sale.”
Thula adds that he believes his unique social presence is working and that people have responded well to it. In case you are not already following the designer: the tweets are directly from him and include his opinion on everything from his appreciation of TV shows like Empire (hey Cookie!) and what he calls ‘saka yo rubbish’ music (we also love ratchery, Thula). On the same TL you are bound to find twitpics of happy Thula Sindi customers flaunting their latest purchases or that number they bought for a special occasion.
It is clear from just looking at these images that Thula has found a loyal customer base and one that is happy to share the joys of getting into a Thula Sindi number. It is their support that the designer attributes the growth of his ten-year-old business.
“I love that there’s a community forming around it; my customers feel like they are part of this club. They want to see other people wearing what they have, because how they wear it is what makes them unique.”
Check this: the Thula Sindi store is entirely funded by the designer himself. “I’m doing this on my own, funded by the sales from people buying Thula Sindi online and through stockists. This is actual growth. There’s no investor. This is the actual business of fashion at work.”
It’s great indeed, watching an African fashion brand that is growing organically, reaching new heights year after year. Many young brands hit the scene with a bang and quickly disappear with a whisper, leaving many wondering: what went wrong? What one suspects goes wrong is that designers lose sight of their vision and get excited by the hype.
Thula is an example of a designer whose patience, resilience and focus is paying off and we wish him and his team all the best on this journey.
Come the 10th, Thula Sindi will be unveiling a new collection at the opening of the new standalone store in Rosebank, Johannesburg, where he will also be stationed for two weeks after opening in order to interact with you, the customers.
Photo Cred: Simon Deiner/SDR