Alfred Maoneke left his home in Zimbabwe and went to South Africa in search of a better life. He struggled to make ends meet working odd jobs that never matched his vocation with his aspirations. He remembered that his uncle had taught him the basics of leather work, so he bought a few pieces and started with dog collars. He went shop by shop asking owners to sell on consignment for him. Now he operates a small shop in Simon’s Town, South Africa. It is a shop full of incredible pieces handmade right there at his work station. He stops each time a visitor enters the shop to welcome them and share his passion for each piece.
Alfred’s story is that of hard work and determination. Despite working harder than anyone we might know there is a certain limit to the storefront he now runs. Here he must wait for a tourist to come through his shop to recognize and value the amazing products he is creating. True, the local market sees how beautiful they are but breaking into the leather market one bag at a time would take an army of sales and marketing talent. At a certain point, Alfred must wait for business. He is limited not by his energy or creativity but by the scale of his market.
In South Africa, piece by piece, Alfred must choose between reinvesting in supplies or feeding himself. Larger orders and exporting to the States is helping Alfred grow his business, reinvest, and plan for the year ahead. These orders open him up to a larger market and a business that can support him and others. Most importantly it matches his ambition, drive, and dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
“Some days I feel inspired to create bags, other days aprons. You have to do what you are inspired to do.” – Alfred Maoneke