Last year saw many business ventures fall flat before they could even start to generate any revenue. But that will not faze true entrepreneurs who have developed nerves of steel through that experience. It is the beginning of 2018 and many Kasi entrepreneurs are looking forward to a number of challenging endeavours.
Thabang Setoaba is no exception. He is not prepared to give up on a clothing brand he established in 2015. The 29-year-old businessman said Harry Nervous Denims SA is set to take its rightful place in the international fashion space. “Harry Nervous (HN) manufactures and retails custom tailor-made jeans with high-end quality, execution and attention to detail for both men and women who are conscious about what they wear.
“The company is a clothing brand that addresses unmet demands by designing classy, upscale, modern-day and versatile high-end quality clothing with an urban vibe,” said the entrepreneur. He said his Harry Nervous brand has been featured in two international magazines and the brand has caught the attention of a number of local business critics.
The Harry Nervous team has researched and analysed the clothing industry and discovered it can be a nightmare to find the right pair of jeans. Some call it ‘soul crushing’ while others call it ‘self-esteem destroying’. Most people struggle and spend a lot time shopping for the right pair of jeans. Either it is too big or too tight or doesn’t fit well.
Big companies mass produce their products for body types that are not common to the majority and that leaves a lot of people out in the cold. That’s where Harry Nervous Denims SA comes in. “Our methods are simple and convenient for anybody, anywhere around the world.” He said at HN they believe denim is an important part of any man’s wardrobe and that the majority of men own at least one pair of jeans. He added that a perfect pair of jeans is the holy grail in any man’s casual wardrobe.
“Our denim designs can be dressed up, dressed down and worn to pretty much any event short of a black-tie gathering. Like a suit, there are rules to be followed. We mostly use selvedge and raw denim fabrics. Along the way we’ve learned that the weight of the denim fabric can affect breathability and how the jeans drape on your body, hence we have decided to stick to a material in the 8 to16 oz. Furthermore, we plan to step into the green space by using organic eco-friendly denim fabrics,” said Setoaba.
Wear Swaggerville, also known as Role Model, became popular among Kasi people at the time.
“I sold over 200 units of those T-shirts. Thereafter I took a gap year to create a new brand. I wanted something unique and challenging. That was the birth of Harry Nervous Denims,” he said.
Asked why he chose to focus on denim, he said in 1999 his unemployed mother bought him a second-hand denim two-piece as she had no money for new Christmas clothes, and that is where he developed his love for denim.
“I stood out in that second-hand denim two-piece – everyone was impressed. No one knew that I was wearing second-hand clothes.” The enthusiastic businessman said in 2015 he took first position for his business pitch at Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA).
“For that I was invited for an interview at Cliff Central and was awarded an entrepreneur’s training course by Innovation Hub worth R30 000. Harry Nervous Denims has been featured in a US magazine called Urban Tymes as well as in a Canadian magazine called Trende.” He said the business has a hard-working team that pushes to grow Harry Nervous Denims.
“Our marketing manager Johandre Kruger is a professional model and his designer Mashoto Molapo is a qualified fashion designer who graduated from Vaal University of Technology. We have a formidable structure and for 2018 we are planning to have a photo shoot in Spain. Our photographer, Carmen de Lange, who worked with us in the previous photo shoot, has moved to Madrid and is planning to have the photo shoot there,” said Setoaba.
He said he is also planning to have a proper studio where his clients can walk in for measurements.