NicheBiz: Hip-Hop Sneakers


Johannesburg hipster Sifiso Dlamini turned his passion for sneakers into a small business, but like many South African entrepreneurs, he’s battling to find financing to expand.

For six years, he’s followed his heart’s passion in making trendy sneakers that are a hip-hop staple.

“We take our time and make sure that everything is put together,” he said in his workshop filled with spools of thread, pots of glue and scraps of leather, the 24-year-old said.

“It’s more resistant, lasts longer,” he said of his shoes. “I would say its magic.”

His clients are largely fashionistas from Soweto, the Johannesburg township that styles itself as the epicentre of South African pop culture.

The shoes from his label Eish Hade – a slang for “Oops, sorry” – cost up to R600, a price that lets a man “feel yourself like a king” and gives women a way to walk “sexy, not in a hurry, but just relaxed”, he said.

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