- Drip Footwear founder Lekau Sehoana has revealed how his disadvantaged background pushed him to dream big and looked back at his journey
- Having grown up under the guidance of a single unemployed mother, the 32-year-old explains why he decided to make shoes
- Apart from the late Richard Maponya, the Ivory Park-born entrepreneur also shares some of his role models
Taking matters into his own hands is what drove Lekau Sehoana, the founder of Drip Footwear, to change his family's fortunes as he grew up in a dire state.
Having struggled in a family that was supported by a single mother of a family of four, Sehoana says the call to come to school dressed in home clothes was a life-changing moment for him.
Coming from an underprivileged background where he had no clothes or shoes led the businessman to read inspirational books about the likes of Herman Mashaba and Richard Maponya among others. Sehoana told Briefly.co.za:
"In 2003 I was in Grade 8, that was the year I actually realised that we were very poor at home. Mom raising 4 kids by herself and being unemployed.
“When the school asked us to come wearing our home clothes, that was when I knew I also had to look different in order to fit in.”
The 32-year-old, who hails from Ivory Park in Tembisa, East of Johannesburg says he had to make shoes in order to receive the same attention his peers enjoyed but admits it was not a genius idea. He added:
“The clothes and shoes I made on that day, were not a genius idea, I just wanted to also be spoken about like kids who wore brands. Little did I know I was planting a seed in an industry that I would 16 years later break into.
“I at least saw a gap from an early age of my teenage years, I read books about Maponya, Herman Mashaba, Raymond Ackerman, Christo Wiese, Steve Jobs, Kanye West, JayZ etc. It Helped me to be positive and kept me going.
“I then studied poverty, and it taught me how to survive with limited means, also, how to build with limited resources. We built the business and brand from zero without any funding.”
After making his first shoe back in 2003 from his old pair of torn sneakers, the driven entrepreneur reveals it took him more than a decade to get things right. He concluded:
“From the day that I made my first shoe in 2003 using old torn sneakers to the day I sold the first pair of Drip on 26 July 2019 has been tears, trial, losses, stress etc.
"It took me 16 years to get the formula right at a start-up level. The brand employs 70 people today, it's only one year and eight months but it took me 16 years to get it right – never give up.”
Briefly.co.za previously reported on an inspirational story on the proud South African businessman when Sehoana hosted a heartwarming celebration about how far his shoe business has come over the last few years.
In his post, he remarked on the fact that he now employs over 60 young people in his sneakers stores, which have also branched out and are now open and trading in a whole eight different locations.
Scores of proud South Africans did not waste time and headed to the comment section to congratulate him on his journey in the business sector.
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