Historically Africans walked bare foot, they only started modeling European shoes through creating slippers and leather sandals when the Europeans arrived in Africa. The introduction of shoes was in the fifteenth century when trade routes were created which included shoes. The journey from that time to where we are now, owning our own production of shoes. One such shoe line is the Bathu Shoes which was founded in the year 2015 by its owner Theo Baloyi.
The former PWC Accountant who was inspired by a French business man based in Dubai to create a business that would be localized and represent the South African culture in the world. The word Bathu is a South African slang for shoe and that is a perfect representation of their street culture. The entrepreneur’s background in accounting helped in him setting up his business and putting in the tenacious research for 18 months before launching.
Baloyi managed to start with just 100 pairs of sneakers and the brand’s growth has been tremendous with over 15 000 pairs sold a month. His dream was to create a culture that would empower South Africans and that vision continues to be realized on a daily basis as they have over 100 staff. These are the African business stories that we need to inspire each other and show the attainability of dreams.
Part of the growth plan includes a partnership between Baloyi and a South African media personality Somizi Mhlongo which was inspired by the dream to represent Africa’s minerals. This then brought about the mineral range which consists of platinum, gold, diamond and ruby. This range exudes flamboyancy which is a typical representation of the larger-than-life personality.
In a true brand for the people style, Bathu also had a collaboration with Castle Lite where consumers who had bought a certain amount of the beverage stood a chance to win a limited-edition sneaker called “unbox yourself.” This collaboration allowed the winner to custom design the Bathu sneaker to suit their taste whilst aligning to the overall Bathu look and feel. We anticipate more exciting sneaker ranges from this brand and the owner is intent on building more than just brand but an empire.