Sell­ing a life­style Free­dom of Move­ment doesn’t see it­self as merely a fash­ion brand, but as a life­style brand aimed at de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing time­less and au­then­tic prod­ucts of the high­est qual­ity.

Finweek English Edition - - ON THE MONEY -

when they founded the proudly South African brand, Free­dom of Move­ment (FOM), broth­ers Léan and Roal Boezaart not only wanted to cre­ate a unique and au­then­tic brand, but they also re­solved to boost the lo­cal econ­omy through job cre­ation and skill em­pow­er­ment.

FOM, es­tab­lished in 2013, spe­cialises in the devel­op­ment, de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing of pre­mium leather prod­ucts, time­pieces, cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories and en­joys a loyal base of brand fol­low­ers.

fin­week caught up with Léan to find out more about the brand and the broth­ers’ plans go­ing for­ward.

What did you do prior to start­ing your own busi­ness?

I qual­i­fied as a char­tered ac­coun­tant in 2011 and worked at Deloitte in Cape Town. I play pro­fes­sional golf as well, and played on the Sun­shine Tour be­fore start­ing the busi­ness with Roal in 2013. Roal qual­i­fied as a civil en­gi­neer at Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity in 2013. While he was study­ing at Stel­len­bosch, Roal dis­cov­ered a real pas­sion for the de­sign of cloth­ing and ended up sup­ply­ing cloth­ing (mainly hood­ies and T-shirts) to some of the uni­ver­sity res­i­dences in Stel­len­bosch. Roal then ap­proached my­self and our other brother Mar­cel with the idea of start­ing his own brand.

Cloth­ing turned out to be very tricky (es­pe­cially if you want to man­u­fac­ture in South Africa) and we de­cided to start with a prod­uct that em­braced qual­ity and time­less char­ac­ter­is­tics, and would work well with the es­tab­lish­ment of a pre­mium brand.

What mo­ti­vated you to turn it into a busi­ness?

We grew up in a house of four boys and dur­ing our up­bring­ing our fa­ther al­ways used to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of be­ing your own boss. We all had se­ri­ous dreams and as­pi­ra­tions to be­come fa­mous sports­men and I guess the idea of “cre­at­ing your own legacy” formed a fire in our make-up. All we needed was a spark. We spent the first two months mak­ing pro­to­types in a small room that was pro­vided to us by the LaunchLab, which is a mix-used busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor at Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity. We had one ma­chine and one leather worker by the name of Ben­jamin. Ben­jamin was a true ar­ti­san and de­vel­oped one of our very first prod­ucts that we named af­ter him – The Ben­jamin. The first Ben­jamin brief­case, was bought by D’Niel Strauss, who is now, in­ter­est­ingly enough, mar­ried to for­mer Miss World Ro­lene Strauss.

How did you get fund­ing to get started?

We were en­tirely self-funded. We started FOM with a mere R100 000. We used all of our sav­ings and a lit­tle ex­tra from our brother, Mar­cel, who bought a small eq­uity stake in the busi­ness. From there, we grew FOM or­gan­i­cally to where it is to­day.

Where do you man­u­fac­ture your prod­ucts?

At our own fac­tory in Stel­len­bosch. We have

Roal Boezaart (left) and Léan Boezaart (right) launched Free­dom of Move­ment in 2013. To the left is Free­dom of Move­ment’s new store in the Mall of Africa in Midrand.

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