Blowing their own top selling trumpet
Self-proclaimed SA ‘inventor’ of the vuvuzela laughs all the way to the bank
MASINCEDANE Sports, which is owned by the self-proclaimed “inventor of the vuvuzela” Neil van Schalkwyk, is raking in big money from international sales during the World Cup.
He says sales have gone through the roof in the past fortnight and there has been a lot of international interest.
From being a local phenomenon just a few months ago, the vuvuzela has the world talking. Even the sniffy All England Lawn Tennis Association has noticed the vuvuzela – it has banned it from Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.
Van Schalkwyk said average sales had gone up from 500 to 50 000 vuvuzelas a month.
The company, based in Kuils River, was started 10 years ago. It employs about 70 permanent staff. Last year the resale rights for vuvuzelas in Europe were sold to two German entrepreneurs, Frank Urbas and Gerd Kehrberg.
“They are licensed to manufacture vuvuzelas in Germany and, as part of that agreement, the vuvuzelas have had to be redesigned.”
Van Schalkwyk said the mouthpiece would be changed to produce less noise and the vuvuzela would now be available in three parts. “This will make it easier to travel with the vuvuzela. It will also be used to counter football hooliganism in Europe. If someone hits you with a vuvuzela it will break into three parts that can be put back together again.”
He said the new designs would also be available locally. They sell for between R30 and R60, depending on whether accessories like the national flag had been added.
In the UK vuvuzela sales have been good, with Sainsbury’s super market chain, reporting sales of upwards of 40 000 units. The chain’s World Cup promotions also include recipes of the favourite dishes of competing countries.
Another UK businessman who imports vuvuzelas from Van Schalkwyk – and from the Far East – is David Broughton. He told the UK’s Daily Mail that he had sold about 10 000, or about one a minute since the start of the tournament.
Vuvuzelas are also popular in China, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand. One company, the Jiying Plastic Product Corporation based in the easter n province of Zhejiang, sold more than a million horns in the first four months of the year, mainly to South Africa, and the orders keep coming in.
Meanwhile, Van Schalkwyk is exploring other markets, “I am in talks with guys in the US and Brazil who are interested.”
Israeli internet entrepreneur Oron Barber has set up a site www.buy-vuvuzela.com to connect buyers and sellers.
Barber said he had set up the website for three months before the World Cup after realising that Fifa had approved the trumpets.
The site does not actually sell vuvuzelas but connects buyers and sellers.
So far the site has initiated sales of more than 30 000.
Barber said most of the vuvuzelas went to Europe but they were also popular in Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and Algeria.
PAAARP! Neil Van Schalkwyk does his thing at a Waterfront press conference about his vuvuzela success story.