In 2013, Mike Nyirenda and Khulekani Mxotshwa decided that they wanted to do something in fashion. The pair started out with five sewing machines, never dreaming that one day they’d be the owners of shops across the continent and one in Australia.
They were approached by someone interested in franchising the label and supplying the store with their beautiful African print merchandise.
Currently Bow Afrika Fashion is available as far afield as Kenya, Botswana and in their home country of Zimbabwe. Their beginning wasn’t easy – Mxotshwa and Nyirenda didn’t draw a salary for their first year in business.
“We started off with zero budget. Here we are today, employing over 56 people, so it can happen,” says Nyirenda.
The pair can hardly keep up with the orders they have and have put further expansion plans on hold until they can create more capacity to keep up.
“The demand is huge. You make a dress today and, in three days, it’s sold out. Out of 154 000 hits on Facebook, we can’t even supply 20 000 so we need to find a way to improve that,” says Nyirenda.
Currently they’re looking for a bigger factory where they can increase their output. They’d also like to open a school to train young people who can assist them with designing and making clothing.