By Rubaya Tapiwanashe
A trio of young gentlemen from Harare, Byron Bibo Mulinga, Blessing Chikanga & Tendai Dalton who became friends during their heydays at University (Midlands State University-MSU, Gweru, Zimbabwe) to Business Partners.
The three combined their ideas on how they can bring bread onto their tables this summer and came up with an idea from the fashion sector which involved the business of selling summer shirts and shorts by establishing their own company, ‘Pre Loved Bales’.
We caught up with one of the members of the Preloved Bales’, Blessing Chikanga who gave us an insight on how their business started and their aim as young entrepreneurs.
Q. When did you think of establishing such an initiative?
A: It was in October, when we just wanted to find some, Summer wear and we then stumbled over the idea of actually seeing if there’s a market for them.
Q: Do you agree that your initiative, can be described as a summer Zimbabwean movement?
A: I would say yes. Zim usually adopts trends from other countries as well and summer shirt have been a thing in SA and in Zim simultaneously, who or which country started I’m not sure.
Q: There are a number of boutiques or fashion shops that sell summer shirts for gentlemen what makes yours to be unique?
A: Branding, we branded ourselves as very stylish, smart and conspicuous. Although it’s still the same type of clothing particularly thift clothes we made sure to do photoshoots, engage in proper customer service and marketing on social media platforms.
Q: What type of fabrics are the shirts and how is the material favourable with the weather or season?
A: Cotton, an occasional silk, I’m not sure of the other materials since we rarely ever have an item in our hands for more than just a day. We can’t even catalogue and all because it’s the nature of the business for stuff to move hands quickly.
Q: As a brand what are you doing to develop your community?
A: We are still just a couple of recent graduates who couldn’t find work, hence we just trying to put food on the table. In the future we will grow a little bit to be of help. Personally, yes, we are involved in a charity organization but that’s on part time basis.
Q: To the youths from your community what lessons can they draw from you as a brand?
A: Try everything. This isn’t our first venture. We failed, couldn’t find work but try everything that comes to mind something will eventually give. Be creative and unique in your approach to anything. We sell preused clothing just like a hundred other people, but we just decided to add a little extra to our image and it made all the difference.
Q: Back to the brand, whom would you say is your targeted market and why?
A: Targeted audience are millennials and gen Z (ama 2k or 2000) as they are affectionately known and ‘Gen X’ (18 and below). We do however have clothing for ‘Gen the older generations’, but we don’t usually market that, it’s mostly just people our age buying for their parents.
Q: To those who would like to purchase your shirt and shorts products, how do they contact you especially those who are outside Harare?
A: We have a Facebook page, Pre-Loved Bales and Instagram page Bales_263. Mobile numbers are 0775155862 Byron and 0782605585 Blessing (me). We are usually by Cnr Fife and 4th Street though we move around sometimes.
Q: What ways do use to market your products?
A: Mainly we use social media, instagram, facebook, twitter. Word of mouth also helps a great deal.
Q: Some have specifically classified your brand as a gentlemen’s brand, is there anything for the ladies in your brand?
A: Yes. The clothing itself is mainly unisex so ladies would fit in as well, but we also have summer shirts particularly suited for women and they can come through.
TR: Thank you for taking to chat with us and all the best.
A: Thank you.