The underground style guru Africa needs to know about, TIISETSO MOLOBI, 37, talks about building her brand, Urban Mosadi.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR?
I think we're all born creative, it's really whether we embrace and express this part of us or not. I recently completed a short course in garment construction, so I'm slowly expressing the fashion designer in me.
DESCRIBE THE ROADMAP THAT LED YOU TO URBAN MOSADI?
Would you believe that it was all quite accidental? Urban Mosadi started off as a personal blog 10 years ago, and about six years ago, I began customising my own camera straps using Batik fabric. Some friends took an interest and wanted me to make them their own. It all started as a passion project, a hobby that forced itself into an entrepreneurial endeavour.
YOU HAVE AN ONLINE STORE AND DO POP-UP EVENTS, DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR A PHYSICAL STORE?
At the moment, all things Urban Mosadi are on standby. I'm taking a creative sabbatical and am focusing on making garments.
The goal is to re-assess the business structure and seek out a partner to assist me in getting that aspect in order. Once this is sorted, a showroom is something I'd love to have, a space that can house all my tangled creative expressions.
WHAT VARIETY OF PRODUCTS CAN WE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Urban Mosadi garments, textiles, homeware and more collaborations with my six-year-old daughter on a kiddies range.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL WITH THE URBAN MOSADI BRAND?
I'd love for the name to be canonised in the street culture archives of JoHo (Joburg) and the rest of the continent as a lifestyle brand.
WHERE DO YOU FIND DESIGN INSPIRATION?
The African continent, West Africa to be exact. Also from travelling and having to make products that suit my needs and style.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR NETWORK?
Word-of-mouth has been a great way of doing business, and good old emails.
WHAT SETS YOUR BRAND APART?
We pride ourselves on using authentic textiles and genuine leather. Also, designinggg our own textiles has been key in maintaining the brand. bran
WHICH BOOKS OR PEOPLE HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR GROWTH AND SUCCESS?
I'm heavily influenced by anything Rei Kawakubo (Japanese designer) and the book Sister Outsider by Audrey Lorde has helped me understand how the personal is political.
WHAT'S MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE CREATIVE BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Finding suitable artisans in JoHo. Production has been based in the Cape, making operational costs high. Staying inspired and passionate are my biggest challenges.
WHERE IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU LIVE IF NOT HERE?
WHAT'S BEEN MOST MEMORABLE TO YOU?
Becoming a parent and participating in the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair in 2017.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
“High-street” is a term I can use to describe my style.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE QUOTE?
“Comfort over everything”.
WHAT DID YOU WEAR TO YOUR FIRST INTERVIEW WHEN YOU WERE STILL FINDING YOURSELF?
A pair of jeans and my high school 8-eye Doc Martens.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO STUDY?
I had no idea. I wanted a gap year, but ended up doing a graphic design degree.