Tell us about the brand.
The brand name “Khosi Nkosi” is derived from the Zulu language, which signifies royalty. Khosi Nkosi garments are inspired by what the brand essence stands for —the strong, modern, worldly, nubile woman who loves and respects herself. The brand is exclusively available through YDE (Young Designers Emporium), a South African retail chain store that features young local designers. Entrepreneur Paul Simon founded YDE in 1995 and has since sold the business to the Truworths Group. With the great leadership from the Truworths CEO Michael Mark, the brand Khosi Nkosi has learned to shift its thinking to be more business savvy.
Tell us about the inception of the brand.
Khosi Nkosi was established by two individuals, one with a Marketing & Branding qualification from CPUT and another with a Fashion degree from from LISOF — they aren’t in the public domain as they feel the brand speaks for itself. The owners entered a Young Designer’s competition ran by YDE. The requirement was to design a capsule collection, manufacture it and put it instore. Khosi Nkosi was the brand that sold the most and that’s how it secured its spot as the winner in the competition and ultimately securing its spot at YDE.
How long has the brand been in the fashion industry?
Khosi Nkosi was established in 2008, this year is the brand’s twelfth year of existence. It’s been an interesting journey filled with exhilarating highs and constructive lows.
What pushed you to become one of the top fashion brands in the country?
We refer to our customers as “Bossladies” as they have been the main drivers of the brand. When they talk, we listen and consequently work enthusiastically to implement styles that they require for the season. “Be careful of the compliments and stares when you wear Khosi Nkosi,” has been our slogan. It’s incredible how much confidence an item of clothing can give you, it’s even more remarkable when one has confidence already. Our Bossladies make an impression in any setting, which has made the brand extremely proud and more determined to continue expanding on their self-esteem.
How do you keep your brand alive?
With the support and input from our customers, the brand manages to consistently grow and maintain its momentum. Travel has also played a huge role in keeping the brand open minded and adapt to globalisation. Travel has also instilled the notion of, “never forget who you are”. We live in a modern world and it can be easy for one to forget their heritage. The Khosi Nkosi brand has learnt over the years, that it does play a role in compiling a wardrobe that’s modern with an African flair, making it exciting for our Bossladies to dazzle in public.
Hardest career lesson the brand has learnt?
The hardest pill we’ve had to swallow was the one of counterfeit goods. It becomes immensely frustrating to our customers when they see items from the brand replicated in inferior quality by counterfeit traders. The phrase “turn lemons into lemonade” has never made so much sense. The brand has aimed to have a customer-focused mindset and has learned to plough through any challenge put before it to ensure the customer remains fulfilled.
The best lesson learned?
You can travel the world but the best inspiration is right here at home.
Favourite thing about the brand?
The confidence and pride that our customers exude when wearing Khosi Nkosi. It’s astonishing seeing our Bossladies tagging the brand and wearing it with such pride and grace in different parts of the world.
Worst thing in the brand’s career?
As a company, we believe that with every challenge comes an opportunity. It’s very easy to wallow in negative situations, but it actually doesn’t get you anywhere. We have learnt to always see the positive in any and every situation. If you think of the worst, you’ll attract the worst.
What are the tips for those looking to work in the same industry?
Fashion has and will forever continue to evolve. If you stand still, you’ll end up watching life/trends pass you by. Keep moving… keep challenging yourself… keep evolving.