We’d love to hear a bit of your personal story and how you got to where you are today.
When I traveled to South Africa for a business school internship, I received frequent compliments on my go-to pair of cheap rollable flats, available on almost every block in NYC for $10. J.G and I spotted an opportunity and set out to build the first African foldable flats brand. We also decided to build it in a way that impacts the communities the designs come from. We also chose to name our brand Thando’s because it is a nickname that was given to me by my South African friends. Thando means “love” and so it was a fitting name (no-pun intended) for us because we want our customers to feel like their feet are loved whenever they wear our shoes.
Can you tell us more about the brand, what it represents and what you hope people will take away from it?
Thando’s collaborates with African artists to create comfortable, portable ballerina flats that are inspired by causes in Africa. We’re the first truly African, foldable flats brand and we utilize crowdsourcing to determine our assortment. Our fans vote on which designs we should produce, and we donate a portion of all profits to a different cause with each unique line. Profits from our first line provided 600 people displaced by floods with food, protective footwear and new mattresses. We want our customers to know that their purchases make an impact and give hope to people whose lives have been devastated.
Building a company in fast-growing Nigeria must be exciting, but it likely comes with some challenges as well. Can you talk to us a bit about what doing business in Nigeria is like.
One of the obstacles that we faced early on in our journey was finding a factory that could make our shoe at the quality level that we desired at an affordable price point. We always had the vision of making Thando’s 100% designed and manufactured in Africa. It took us 3 years to find the right factory in Africa and boy are we happy we took our time because we found an absolute gem!
So how did we get there? God’s grace and being at the right place at the right time. Our factory is based in Ethiopia and is one of the very few locally owned and state of the art factories.
We’re have offices in New York, where both J.G and I earned our MBAs, and in Lagos, where we work directly with African designers to source our designs. We seek inspiration from both cities and particularly like the emerging, vibrant fashion scene that Lagos has to offer. Although the hustle and bustle of Lagos can be daunting at times, it’s worth it because we are tapped into the most promising raw talent the African continent has to offer.
Tell us about your collaboration with Moni & Platonic. We’d love to hear about your work with them and the importance of such collaborations.
Moni blessed us with the opportunity to feature our products in the first season of Platonic and we are extremely grateful for her support. As an emerging black-owned business there are so many barriers to getting exposure. Moni’s commitment to supporting emerging founders of color is to be commended and we look forward to continuing to support her work in the future.
Learn more & Connect with Thando’s:
- Thando’s Website: https://thandos.com/
- Thando’s on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thandos/
- Thando’s on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Thandos/
- Thando’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thandosshoes/
- Show Website: https://
- Instagram (@platonictheseries): https://
- Twitter (@platonic_series): https://
- Moni’s Instagram (@momonilessprobs): https://