- Mashele sells his famous atchar at the robots every day since 2016
- He wears a full 3 piece suit in pride
- Mashele shares his secret recipe, but only if it is your birthday
Irvin Mashele, a street vendor, has been selling atchar since 2016 and is making a killing. He has clearly changed the minds of many who think street vendors do not dress neatly.
Every day, Mashele arrives to sell his atchar dressed in a suit as if he was an executive of a company. With his fellow vendors normally dressed with a simple T-shirt, a pair of trousers and flip flops.
Dressed in a three-piece suit, it is business as usual for this 38 year old Soshanguve man. He stands on a busy corner of Molefe Makinta Highway displaying his colourful containers and loudly and vibrantly selling his stack.
Shouting “eh Monate achar” to promote his product, Irvin almost causes a traffic jam, when motorists look at him awe when driving by.
Clients are prepared to park on the side of the road to buy his atchar for R20. Others hoot for Irvin to bring it to them.
Irvin shared his thoughts with Pretoria News by emphasising the significance of presentation for small business owners like himself.
He said that his dress code is what attracts most of his customers.
Sales improved drastically, he said.
“I take this as my day-to-day job and not just a business.
“It doesn’t mean when I sell atchar people must see me with oily clothes, just like mechanics don’t have to be in oily overalls all the time.
“Presentation is very important and so is marketing your brand.”
This is the perfect opportunity for people to start putting South African products on the map. Irvin believes this is an ideal chance to do so.
“Atchar is a South African product just like the vuvuzela, but the problem is we just don’t like uplifting our products. So God chose me to be the one who would represent atchar.”
To leave home at 4am every morning, Irvin needs to be up really early in order to get all the necessary ingredients, prepare them and of course to dress up neatly.
His product is on demand especially from sphahlo establishments.
“I have customers from Soweto, from the Vaal and I have customers from other parts of the country. I have reached the tourist attraction point.
“You know I have never been so happy in my life and a lot of people love me, they love my atchar and how I represent myself.
“I put a smile on people’s faces.”
To alert danger in many black communities, a whistle is blown to make residents aware. Tapping in on this trend, Irvin started his business.
“I would blow a whistle when I started three years ago. It was during Thoko Didiza’s time where people didn’t want her as mayor, so whenever they heard a whistle they would quickly run outside because they knew it was time for looting and causing trouble.”
After he blew the whistle, the people that came running out were told about his delicacy he was selling. This was the beginning of his fame.
If a potential client approaches Irvin on their birthday, he will share the secret of the successful atchar, which is, use the best ingredients.
Irvin’s passion for his amazing atchar has led him to have big dreams for his brand and plans to release a song about his product, featuring Dr Malinga
Irvin has been receiving tips on how he dresses and has been getting gigs directing events.
The team from the Pretoria News were fortunate enough to be able get a taste of Irvin’s “pot-o-gold”. They dipped their bread in the atchar and discovered it is so worth it and even more.
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