Shoe Designer – The Leather Empire

Boitumelo Khumalo

Name: Boitumelo Khumalo
Business Name: Leather Empire
Job Title: Manager Director
Cell Number: 0784399994

Tell us about yourself?

I am a mother of two: Sakhile 7 (boy) and Nandi 14 months (girl), a wife and a sister to many. I love working with my hands, I have a great sense of humour and enjoy spending time with family.

What motivated and inspired you to start your business?

Well my sister, Hunger inspired me! It all started when I was dancing in Joburg in 2004. It happened that one day as I was waiting for a taxi there was a shoe crafter on the bus stop. He was busy making shoes and I got a chance to see what he was doing. I was captured by the art and a few months later I met a lady who would introduced me to a shoe maker. He taught me the basics of how to make a shoe, I then later on met Ntate Godfrey who then became my mentor, he has help me a lot in terms of learning the in’s and out’s of the industry.

Tell us about your business?

The name of the my business is LeatherEmpire we produce leather products like shoes, bags, belts, earrings, ottomans and mirror frames. There is also a co -operative named GRABS that I’m part of and there we manufacture shoes only.

What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?

Not having enough machinery and equipment for production.

What do you look for when hiring some-one?

A person with a high self esteem because when you are have a high self-confidence you’ll always have room for improvement. A person with a high self esteem has room to be motivated and they always strive to be better and good at what they do. They are about the job and the work at hand. Its
always easier to work with them in a team or individually.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Enjoy your business, have passion for what you are doing and little bit of gratitude everyday will do wonders in your business!

What does it mean to you, to take a leap and what has been that leap that you took as an entrepreneur?

To throw myself into the sea with big busi-ness man and woman and see if I swim or drawn: What I mean is that trusting myself and my work to the extend of presenting my work to the highly respected business people and asking them to buy my products with the knowledge that
I got from the street ,not tertiary level. That’s taking chances and having good work to back it up.

About you

Can’t start my day without ….giving thanks for life!
My style is …. Comfort then classy! I always have to be comfortable in every outfit I wear!
Coffee or Tea …. Tea! I love my ginger tea!
Love is ….. Iyoo sister that is a big one! I guess to me is feeling good about a
person even though they have done you wrong or snapping your fingers with a hammer while working and still continue working or walking for hours in the sun looking for buyers of your products and still be happy!
Hard work is ….. Being dedicated to what you are doing even if you feel like giving up persistence!
I believe … that what goes around, comes around! That’s my religion!
My favourite quote is … what you resist persists baby!

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