Hip, stylish and proudly South African – these are just a few words that can be used to describe BROKE, a trendy clothing brand that celebrates the urban lifestyle. Now a popular online store with a physical presence in numerous clothing boutiques across Cape Town, BROKE is living proof that with enough drive and commitment it’s possible to turn your hobby or dream into a thriving business venture.
“BROKE is an abbreviation for ‘being rebellious over konforming to expectation’. BROKE is a multi-cultural clothing brand that represents those considered as the misfits and/or the rebels of society. The brand is inspired by real life events and combines elements from the past, present and the future to give the youth its own definition of the current,” said Andile Dlamini, the Founder of BROKE.
Defying the odds to be BROKE
BROKE was first established in 2016 by teenage Andile in collaboration with his crew the Broke Boy$. Their goal was to come together to share their limited resources and skills to bring their idea to life: influencing streetwear through thrifted clothing. However, due to financial constraints, Andile and his team were forced to close shop in 2018 to reevaluate their business model.
Despite challenges and setbacks in getting BROKE off the ground, Andile was determined to see his vision manifest into something real. “My biggest obstacle setting up the business was lack of financial support as we don’t have rich parents to finance our dreams. However we couldn’t let that stop us from chasing our dreams; it took a lot of sacrifices and determination to overcome the challenge and odds set up against us, like financial constraints,” said Andile.
After revising their mission and vision, BROKE relaunched bigger and better than ever in December 2020. They set up racks of clothing in a few physical clothing outlets as well as launching their very own online store.
Setting up for ecommerce success
Like so many other small businesses in South Africa, BROKE made the most of COVID-19 lockdown by entering ecommerce and launching their own online store. In the lead up to doing so, Andile researched what other brands were doing to determine which shopping cart platform was right for him and his brand.
“I would advise new businesses to do as much research as possible by looking at other online stores before choosing a platform. It’s important to compare the ecommerce platforms’ different functionalities and choose the one that works best for your business model. It’s very important to choose a very reliable platform that will make it easy for your customers to successfully purchase products from your ecommerce store, as online shopping already comes with its own uncertainties for shoppers. It’s best to make the process as uncomplicated and effective as possible,” said Andile.
“My online store is built on Shopify as I find it to be quite efficient and easy to operate. Shopify also offers a variety of themes, giving you the opportunity to choose the one that complements your business,” continued Andile.
Choosing a trusted payment gateway
Andile also did his research when it came to selecting a payment gateway for his online store. He wanted a reliable solution that was trusted by other brands to process online payments.
“It was around the time I was working on our online store for the relaunch that I looked at what established brands were using for their online payment solution. I found out that quite a lot of South African businesses similar to mine were using PayFast and considered it to be very efficient. So it was a no-brainer to go with PayFast as well,” said Andile.
By integrating PayFast with his Shopify-based ecommerce store, Andile is able to offer his customers the option of paying securely online via Visa and Mastercard credit card or debit card, Instant EFT, Masterpass or SnapScan. “Our business has grown in terms of being accessible, as we now operate online and do transactions online,” concluded Andile.
Do what you love. But get paid
For someone so young, Andile has come a long way since 2016. In collaboration with his group of friends and business partners, he has created a multidisciplinary, national movement that has come to embody streetwear, events, music and more.
PayFast has helped thousands of unique business ventures like BROKE accomplish their dreams of turning their passions into successful online businesses. To find out how you can use PayFast to receive online payments for your business, visit www.payfast.co.za.