Sinethemba Sakati is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of both the Sinethemba Community Development Project and Thembernator (Pty) Ltd. This 22-year-old mentor, musician, MC, radio DJ, and student, hails from Xhume village in the Eastern Cape and currently resides in Hatfield, Pretoria.
He recently hosted the Treasure of African Heritage Fest which was held at the South African State Theatre Arena in Pretoria from the 23rd to the 27th of September. He also dressed the models at the Mr and Miss Proudly Africa event that took place on Heritage Day.
With no background of fashion whatsoever, in 2010 he opened a fashion boutique called Jaxx Apparel which was previously known as Thembernator Vintage Retro Clothing Boutique before a revamp in 2013.
He currently runs the boutique by himself, handling both admin and deliveries. He can run it on the go because it’s online-based. His friends and students around campus assist him when he has to showcase in fashion shows and with the setting up of a stand when he is invited to exhibit in events and flea markets.
We had a chat with him about his career. Or should we say careers.
Simamkele for Live SA: What inspired you to start Jaxx Apparel Fashion Boutique?
Sinethemba: When I went home for my initiation, I noticed the simple and neat look made of old clothing items that the elderly men and women of my village wore. That inspired me and was also taught to dress in a certain way for a three-month period at after my initiation. As ikrwala (an initiate) I became too attached to the look.
When I got back to Pretoria, my friends Miahs Moloto and Gugu Masondo sold me the idea of of collecting clothes and selling them. And that was the birth of Jaxx Apparel.
Live SA: What does vintage and retro clothing mean to you?
Sinethemba: Vintage or retro clothing in my understanding is clothing or garments produced between 1920s and the 1980s. Retro is a short term for Retrospective. Vintage Style refers to clothing that imitates the original style of a previous era.
Live SA: What sets you apart from all the other vintage and retro stores?
Sinethemba: As the Founder of Jaxx Apparel, I pride myself in being my own competition and that helps me to constantly work on my craft, other than having to try and get into another person’s level. I also apply that principle in my business.
Live SA: Who in the industry have you worked or work closely with?
Sinethemba: I have a lot of people that I consult when I find myself stuck- people such as Miahs Moloto and Sthembiso Mngadi (Owner of the Fruitcake Vintage retro boutique in JHB)
Live SA: Where do you get your range of collections (both first and second hand) from?
Sinethemba: (laughs) that’s a secret I’m not sharing. All I can tell you is that my grandmother is a very stylish gogo.
Live SA: How would you define your target market?
Sinethemba: It’s both males and females from the ages of 16 to 40 years old and people who are looking for quality products without paying ridiculously high prices. Those people are trendsetters who range from middle to upper class and they want to be part of the unusual but funky lifestyle. They are also specific in knowing what they want and only expect the best at affordable prices.
Live SA: How do you reach your target market?
Live SA: What was the feedback like after your first sale? And how did it make you feel?
Sinethemba: My biggest sale was after the Image: Iam fashion show, where I was showcasing. It was very exciting and gave me hope.
Live SA: What are the challenges of selling your stuff the way you do it since the online store has not been launched as yet?
Sinethemba: You mean besides post office strikes?. Honestly there are none, I guess it’s because I am still small and growing.
Live SA: What can we expect from you in the future?
Sinethemba: Well, there is quite a lot to expect from Jaxx Apparel and Thembernator umbrella as a whole.
The launch of our boutique and website, the launch of our own branded designs, launch of our first annual fashion show. So exciting!
And I am also currently recording my first three singles for my upcoming house album.
Live SA: What would your advice be for a young person who wants to start-up a similar business?
Sinethemba: Well, any business requires endurance, discipline, passion, and commitment. One must really love what they do in order for them to succeed. Don’t chance it. Business is like a baby, you always have to be there for it. My advice would be that they must start with what is necessary, then what’s possible – and suddenly you will find that you are doing the impossible.
All images supplied by Sinethemba
Follow him on twitter and Instagram: @Sinethemba_S
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