SuperSport United midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane is another PSL footballer who is tapping into the fashion industry, and he welcomed Soccer Laduma into his store, 88 Apparel Q. Have you seen what it looks like? Check it out!
On Saturday, Fan Park editor Rossella Marrai-Ricco visited "Yeye" at his store on 88 Corlett Drive, where he revealed how he got into the industry and what goes into designing clothes.
Together with his partners, the 34-year-old is bringing back fresh, affordable and trendy fashion.
Click on the gallery above to view the 88 Apparel Q store.
Rossella Marrai-Ricco: Hello Yeye, thanks for letting me come visit your shop. Can you tell me more about 88 Apparel Q?
Yeye: 88 Apparel is one year old now. It opened in December 2015 and how it came about was from where I used to buy my clothes. My partner, Kay Kay, used to work there and, at that time, I was interested in becoming a shareholder in that store. After talking a few times with him, we sat down and decided that we can start our own store – he wanted to go his separate ways from his other partner. We agreed it could work, and we discussed where we wanted to go and the type of clothes we wanted to sell.
RMR: I was told that some of the production and making of the clothes happens at the back of the store. How involved are you in the designs, given the fact you have a full-time job?
Yeye: I am involved in terms of production at the back. We get designs from certain individuals and they ask us to do a certain thing and we do it. Other times, we do some designs by ourselves. We research the types of clothes that are in trend and we decide what to go for at that time. Obviously, a lot of the times I am not always available because of my work; Kay Kay and Shanice are the ones responsible with the running of the store and how we do things. Obviously, we communicate often so things keep going the way we want. We also outsource a lot of things because we cannot produce them all at this present moment.
RMR: Looking at the PSL, we have seen Teko Modise launch his own fashion line, Bidvest Wits' Gabadinho Mhango has done so too, and even your teammate Morgan Gould has his own line of caps. Why do you think so many footballers are exploring this avenue?
Yeye: For me, fashion is part of our lifestyle – not only footballers, but everyone wants to look good and representable. For me, I enjoy dressing up; I enjoy looking at other people who are well dressed up. It's an option and a way to do something that you love. Football is my first love, and fashion is my second love. For me, fashion was another avenue I could take.
RMR: Obviously, having this shop and being involved in this industry can help set you up after football. Is this also a reason you are pursuing this avenue at this point in your career?
Yeye: Ja! It is the vision behind it. At the moment I am still playing, and this is still a small store, but in five or six years' time when I retire, I will be hoping to have more stores and to generate more money with it. It is part of a longer plan.
RMR: Lastly, everyone must be wondering about the meaning of the store. Can you reveal where it came from?
Yeye: We were fortunate that when we chose the address, it corresponded with the address of the building, but it doesn't have to do with the address. Before we got the store and started to plan the name, Kay Kay wanted me to have my name in the name of the shop. I refused. I said we must get a name that will strictly represent the name of the shop. He was the one who came up with the name 88. May question was: "Why 88?" Because there is another store with a similar name. He said that they weren't our competition, so he said he likes 88 because the number sounded good together and he had the logo in his head. I remember saying to him that 88 alone won't be catchy to the market we want. We played around with the names that would go with 88. We are selling clothes, so we wanted a word that would go with the clothes. From there, we got the word apparel, and we decided on 88 Apparel. We wanted it to be 88 Apparel Quality but it sounded a bit too long, so we needed to stick with one or the other. We wanted the word quality to be in there, as we wanted to say we are selling quality clothes at a decent price. So we decided on the name 88 Apparel Q – with the "q" standing for quality.
RMR: Great! All the best for the future.
What do you make of 88 Apparel, and how Yeye is discovering a new avenue in the business world?