SbKids clothing – When beauty and brains come together for a thriving business that pays it forward

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By Kagiso Bonoko.

 

“Getting into retail or partnering with these established corporate companies and having them trust you as a start-up businessperson or a small brand, is very, very difficult. So, the Buy Local Summit gives entrepreneurs and young brands an opportunity to showcase their products, network, and rub shoulders with other similar minded peoples in the different business sectors, exploring available opportunities”.

 

These were the words of the former Miss South Africa 2010, Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala, after exhibiting at the 2023 Buy Local Summit.

 

The Limpopo native has always been passionate about empowering women; which bears testimony to why her businesses and charities are centred around helping women to thrive.

 

She is a great example of celebrities giving back to society and continues to inspire young people because she has a successful pageant career, runs several businesses, and gives to charity.

 

The Bokang Montjane Foundation is registered as a youth organisation, and its mandate is to empower young people. Through collaborations, the foundation provides food to the impoverished and sanitary towels to schoolgirls.

 

Having global exposure as a former Miss South Africa and truly understanding what it means for little black girls to see somebody who looks like them with a crown, inspired Bokang to create an image that other little black girls can relate to.

 

This was a gap that made her realize a business opportunity in the kids’ toys, books, bags, and clothing sector, when she decided to explore it further  by establishing the SbKids brand in 2017.

 

The brand creates a path for African kids to find a positive referral point, to stimulate and  positively influence children of colour, especially young girls. This is where the Princess Bokang cartoon and doll characters were born.

 

“I used to look at myself in the mirror when I was a child, and I didn’t look anything like any superhero printed on the garments I was wearing, and that bothered me all of my life. So, we chose our faces and our stories, turned them into little cartoons and graphics, and literally created a brand out of them.” – Bokang

Princess Bokang is a children’s book by Montjane and Ethnikids publishers. She said that the book aimed to improve the self-image of black African kids, especially those aspiring to be models.

 

“We are used to walking into stores or in the malls and seeing a lot of black kids walking around wearing outfits that have characters with blonde hair and blue eyes, and for me that is a problem, and I always dreamed of one day having a son and a daughter, so I was like, I want my children and other children of colour to have a representation they can also relate to, printed on the garments they wear.” Bokang explained.

 

All her products are manufactured locally in various factories across the country, creating more employment opportunities, literally reaching every corner of this beautiful country through retail outlets, and contributing positively to the retail employment rate as well.

 

“As a brand, we try to keep up with the latest trends and whatever is on the market that best represents our kids. I think it’s important for African kids to see something of their likeness for a change.” – Bokang

“You know, we overlook little things like this, but if you look at our nation and how we’ve lost our African and cultural rooting, we hate ourselves, doubt ourselves, and think we don’t amount to much.  It all starts when you’re young, right? It is then important to shape the mindset of a black child while they’re still young to know that they are enough, that they’re worthy, and to be proud of who they are.” Bokang continued.

 

“Our government is trying its best to support young people through business funding and various other ways, but it is also overwhelmed and can’t reach everyone. For an ordinary young entrepreneur out there, the Proudly South African’s Buy Local Summit is a steppingstone for networking, empowerment, and collaboration opportunities”, says Bokang.

 

Bokang is an aggressive dreamer and would really be pleased to see her brands in all leading retail stores across South Africa. There are also plans to extend their reach to neighbouring countries of the SADC region and globally.

 

https://www.ethnikids.africa/products/princess-bokang-the-princess-of-africa