Bobo Dread Designs is an emerging Eastern Cape small leatherworks company established in 2009 that handmakes leather shoes, bags, belts, jackets and other accessories, using the finest leather available.
The company’s designs are unique, world-class and handcrafted by the 41-year-old company owner, Xolisa “Bobo” Mnqumevu.
Mnqumevu learnt his craft while working in Cape Town in the early 2000s.
He operates his business from a small room in his Alice home, while dreaming of one day opening up a leatherworks factory somewhere in the province.
Mnqumevu wants to employ other enthusiasts in the craft and further, to teach others how to use leather to manufacture excellent products.
Sometimes he uses the Amathole Craft Hub in King William’s Town as a workshop and a place to showcase his products.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch yesterday, Bobo said he dreams of one day owning his own factory and employing “more than 10 people”.
With the help of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), Bobo’s dreams may now become a reality.
That is, if he is chosen as one of the provincial small businesses to be assisted by the corporation as part of their year-long Export Development Programme.
The ECDC is embarking on a mission to assist emerging provincial businesses to showcase their products across the globe.
Mnqumevu said: “I started to manufacture these products for myself in Cape Town. I later realised that people were loving my products and that is when I decided to start selling some of them.
“Since I came back home I have been trying to establish a factory for myself, but the challenge is that there is no capital and no financial support to do so.
“It is a move which would also assist in job creation in this poverty-stricken province of ours,” he said.
Currently, as part of his youth month initiative, he is busy training disabled youth from around King William’s Town on how to manufacture leather accessories.
He said his biggest dream was to see his “proudly Eastern Cape” products being showcased and sold at international markets.
The trade earnings would go a long way to setting up the factory of his dreams.
If he gets it right, Mnqumevu will become part of the ECDC’s export development programme which will assist local companies in exporting their final products to the bigger world stage.
As part of the programme, ECDC will offer financial and other support for 12 months to emerging applicants who have been in business for more than 18 months, and who display ability and produce quality products that could be showcased at international destinations.
Interested companies have until June 23 to apply to the corporation for such assistance. — firstname.lastname@example.org