Tumelo Ntja and Tumelo Sekhokho are known for having many talents some of which fall under photography and drawing, but what grabbed our attention is the ability to combine their skills to develop a clothing label called Kings. ThinkSllow.com caught up with the young entrepreneurs to find out more about their brand and how it was established.
Tumelo Ntja (19) is a BCom Marketing student who has fallen in love with the fashion industry. He manages to balance photography, fashion, social and academic life. (That on its own is art.) His definition of fashion includes following trends as well as keeping up with seasonal looks. Ntja’s fashion style is inspired by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. “I got inspired by a brand popularly known as G-Star Raw. They made street-wear look clean and people can wear their items in any occasion.”
Tumelo Sekhokho (24) is a vibrant future leader who uses a forward-looking approach to manage Kings. He has always had a deeper appreciation for fashion. He believes in setting trends and not following exiting ones, “Street-wear is just an external embodiment of who you are as a person, the way we dress says a lot about who we are and the street is where you’ll find what’s current. It doesn’t have to have a huge price tag on it to qualify as quality, class or for it to be a trend.”
It seems to us the two are committed to exposing Kings to much bigger platforms. The brand is strictly focused on street-wear. It introduces a whole new form of creativity and art to the streets.
Q: When and how was Kings established? What’s the story behind the brand ?
A: “Kings was founded late last year by myself, under the name (Tumelo Ntja). It started out as a Tshirt brand, with my signature as the logo. The sole purpose for that was to market my name as an artist and to attract attention to my artworks. My friend, Tumelo Sekhokho loved what I was doing; the ideas and vision I had for the brand, and he asked to join me. So we partnered up and started making and selling more of those designs.”
Q: How did the name ‘Kings’ come about? Explain the transformation from The Signature to just The Crown.
A: “Tumelo Ntja was changed to Kings this year. This was because the rest of my friends wanted to be part of the brand/movement of the clothing. They all had amazing ideas for the brand and each of them had unique qualities to contribute to the brand. So beginning of the year, I decided to start everything for scratch: not only as one king (TumeloNtja), but as “Kings” (together). I then concluded on brand separation; Tumelo Ntja is its own brand and Kings Clothing is a separate brand, but the name will always have the crown.“
Q: What are the brand’s biggest achievements?
A: “That would have to be the time we got Shaun Stylist to feature the brand in his looks. The other achievement would be when Shelton Forbes wore Kings Clothing in an episode of V-Entertainment. He, later on, featured Kings in a photo shoot 2 months ago. So far, these would have to be our top achievements. We are, however, looking to break barriers and achieve bigger things in the near future. As much as we don’t want to rely on celebrities to make it to the top; it wouldn’t hurt to have big names like Cassper Nyovest, Siyabonga “Scoop” Makhathini and Bonang Matheba supporting the brand. ”
Q: Who do you think you’re most likely to influence with your brand? (Target Market)
A: “We are most likely to influence young entrepreneurs and other brand owners. We’d also like to inspire potential business owners and designers. Our target market is anyone (young or old), who is looking to be unique. We attract people who dare to be different as well as those who do not follow trends and have an eye for art. “
Q: In terms of marketing the brand, what strategy has been working for Kings?
A: “The bandwagon strategy, I’d say, has been the most successful. It’s basically using social media to say “everyone is doing it; you should too”. So we created that whole atmosphere on Facebook and Instagram, through pictures of other customers wearing different brand items. However, we will be trying new ways of marketing, in a more visual form. “
Q: Where do you rank your brand andwhen do you plan to reach your peak?
A: “Right now, I would just like to say that we’restill progressing and growing. So I wouldn’t want to compare or use other brands as benchmarks. We’re basically, still trying to perfect our craft and the style we’d like to portray to the public. So I guess we’re still in the learning stages of the industry. We’re planning on reaching our peak as soon as next year. That’s when the brand will be proper established and visible to the public and the industry at large. “
Q: What advice can you give someone at home forkeeping in trends you set and the style you present?
A: “We advise that they always keep their look simple and clean. Simplicity in the brand is key to executingoutfits right. They can also browse our social media pages to see how our models and other customers wear different items. We always encourage the minimalist look. “
Q: You (Tumelo Ntja) have added photography as a hobby and as a personal skill, how does this benefit the brand?
A: “It obviously positively affects the brand because we don’t need to outsource photographers for shoots anymore, because we can just use an in-house photographer for new designs and marketing concepts. This also cuts down our expenditure and saves time. It also brings publicity to the brand because the more attention the photography (images) gains the more people are aware of the brand. I can have a photo shoot and models can just wear Kings apparel, with their permission of course.”
Q: To what degree does having business skillshelp in managing Kings, as a fashion label and a brand?
A: “Business skills are very essential in managing any kind of brand. Members of the brand need to know production, marketing and satisfying customer needs through quality services. They need to understand the concept of demand, especially in such a seasonal industry as fashion. They also need to know how the target market and potential customers see their brand as compared to other brands.”
Q: What projects are ongoing regarding Kings? A range or collection…
A: “There’s a rapper by the name of ‘Von Intellekt’ under Kings who is busy with his next album. So people should just be on the lookout for his work. He is actually campaigning for the latest Jagermeister ‘Back the artist’ competition. People’s Votes will be very much appreciated ( https://backtheartist.co.za/von-intellekt/ )
We’re also working on limited edition T-shirts with our artwork on. Only 30shirts will be made. Every T-shirt will be different from each other. With unique paintings printed. The shirts will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.”