Siboniso Nomgenge. Image supplied

Q&A With Nomgenge Duo Wear Founder Siboniso Nomgenge

Siboniso Nomgenge is the founder of clothing brand Nomgenge Duo Wear (ND) in Eldorado Park. He is one of the young people in Eldos working hard to change perceptions about their township through innovative ways.

Nomgenge has a Q&A with Spot-On about his clothing brand, visions for Eldorado Park and the challenges plus triumphs of running a business.

1.) What inspired you to start the ND clothing brand, have you always been into fashion?

Out of struggle I started the brand. I can recall in 2016 after matric when I couldn’t get into Varsity I was advised by my youth leader to do prints for local churches, barbershops personalized items to have money to make ends meet at home. I always wanted my business to stand out from the rest therefore I spoke to my current graphic designer. He then came up with ND logo in 2018 that’s when I started designing my own clothes.

2.) Do you design the clothes yourself?

Yes, I do design process myself together with my Public Relations Consultant and graphic designer. We create the concept that includes the pattern, cut, texture and material which we then send to a CMT factory to manufacture.

ND Wear designs. Photo supplied

3.) I understand you’re the owner of the brand, but do you have any partners?

Yes, I’m the owner of the brand and I have a dedicated team of six working in the company that makes the vision possible.
We currently employ three full time and three part-time/freelancers. It consists of a photographer, store clerk/salesman, graphic designer, administrator/manager, seamstress and Public Relations Consultant.

4.) What’s the meaning of the name of the brand?

Nomgenge is a Xhosa phrase that alludes to a group of people that come together for a common cause. Duo in effect is two. This group of people from the customer standpoint and the organisation in plain sight are partners in addressing the social ills that plague society, one sale at a time.

5.) What are some of the challenges of running the business ekasi ?

The challenges faced in our community is the support we receive from the general public. It’s no secret that many people are unemployed. The sales have suffered as a result, but we have addressed these challenges by marketing on social media and encouraging online purchases. We are faced with many social ills in the kasi but try to beat them by changing the narrative one purchase at a time.

VISIBLE: ND Wear’s recently launched flagship store. Photo supplied

6.) I believe you recently launched a Flagship Store. Is it in Eldos as well and what’s different from the first store you have?

The container structure is a flagship store modified to our distinct design from the ground up. It’s a well-developed structure in the heart of a underprivileged area known as Kiersdrop. We want to bring a hope that far exceeds the reputation of Kersie Dorp, by standing by our mantra and slogan “Only Quality People”.
The Flagship Store to date will challenge the norm that exists and hopefully change the mindsets of all that come across it. The old store which was in a back room was too enclosed and not visible to the clients as the current store is. We feel we out-grew the first store in terms of size and now we don’t look back. We look forward to converting many more containers and setting up stores first on a provincial level and there after see what the future has in store for ND.

7.) How were you affected by the Covid19 pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the company tremendously at first, but we made lemonade from the lemons. It created an urgency in us to make a sale at whatever cost, hence we created pop up stores within our community. The masks were a necessity, so we created masks and printed our logo on it. It was a cost-effective method of bringing brand exposure because we have reaped the rewards of this ingenious tactic to this day.
Sales have picked up since so we would say that the pandemic had a positive impact if we look at it in hindsight.

MASKED: ND Wear. Photo supplied

8.) You’ve had the likes of Thebe Ikalafeng visiting your space. What does that mean for your brand?

Hosting a marketing Guru and titan in African consciousness, of the likes of Thebe Ikalafeng, encouraged us and gave us more hope.
We want to rival the conglomerates in the industry of sport apparel and have ambitions of growing the brand to be globally recognised. Having Thebe be so gracious to pay us a visit and now mentor us makes this possible going forward. We can’t emphasise how proud we are and look forward to working with him and growing, going forward.

9.) What are your hopes and dreams for your community of Eldos?

Our hopes and dreams are to portray our community in a positive light because we are fighting against a status quo that pre-dates our existence. We have aspirations to see the unemployment drop rapidly and see Eldos as a SA tourism destination and the flagship store being an attraction.

Businessman: Siboniso Nomgenge. Photo supplied

10.) Where do you see the business in the next few years?

Our vision is to have multiple operating stores and own a warehouse that produces our garments locally. We want to employ as many capable and competent creatives from our community, giving opportunities to our youngsters that aspires to make a living from their craft.
Top of our agenda is to be a national flagbearer in clothing apparel because our long-term goal is to be Africa’s no. 1

For more information on the ND clothing brand click here