Clicks helps local kids’ shoe brand find its feet

Clicks
Tsepiso Monamodi, founder of Oratile Kids
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It’s hard to believe that Tsepiso Monamodi, local entrepreneur and founder of Oratile Kids – the colourful, one-hundred-per-cent South African children’s shoe brand now stocked at Clicks – started her business with just one sewing machine. Perhaps more surprising: she didn’t even know how to sew!

“The lady who sold me the machine said, ‘I can’t sell you this machine if you can’t sew.’ So I would go to her shop every Friday afternoon for lessons,” Tsepiso recounts.

Oratile Kids was born from Tsepiso’s quest to find shoes for her toddler. Her aunt had told her about soft shoes for toddlers that were available when Tsepiso was a child, insisting that Tsepiso buy them for her own little one. Tsepiso searched high and low but could only find one very overpriced supplier. The more she researched, the more she fell in love with the concept of comfortable, durable shoes that actually aided baby’s development.

“I thought, maybe I could offer them, but they could have more of an African feel. I wanted them to be unique. I taught myself how to make the shoes – it took me about six months.”

The word oratile means love, and was chosen because the shoes are made with love. Tsepiso sold her products at markets for about three years, and describes this as her “biggest learning experience” because engaging with customers in this setting allowed her to hone her craft. When the pandemic hit and markets were forced to close, Tsepiso started using social media to sell her products. This was when her business started to flourish and she caught Clicks’ eye.

She recalls that when she received a direct message on social media from the Clicks team, she thought it was a hoax. “I thought, ‘No man, these people are lying!’” she says with a laugh. But the interest was real, and Oratile Kids became a Clicks supplier when the first stand-alone Clicks Baby Store opened at Gateway Theatre of Shopping in KwaZulu-Natal last year. You can find her products as well as many other South African brands by looking out for the locally sourced logo in-store and on the Clicks website.

Building a healthier economy by supporting local businesses

“We currently stock close to 780 locally produced products in our stores and we plan to continue growing this number,” says Clicks Brand Executive Phathiswa Sefatsa. “Sourcing locally is an important part of building healthier futures for South Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprises and is what will create stable jobs and a healthier economy for our country.”

The leading health and beauty retailer’s commitment to sourcing South African products saw the launch of a supplier development programme in 2021. In addition to actively seeking out brands such as Oratile Kids, Clicks also launched a user-friendly portal on clicks.co.za, via which local entrepreneurs can apply to become a supplier. The Clicks Group plans to target over R4.5 billion sourced through black women-owned suppliers over the next three years.

“Our sales have increased by 34% since we started selling at Clicks. They have really held my hand through this,” Tsepiso shares. “Remember, I knew nothing about retail. They’ve helped us to be more consistent in terms of the products that we’re delivering. They also want to help us enhance our offering. We’ve started engaging about an enterprise development plan, where they are going to be helping us to get factory space, more machinery and also to increase the number of stores that we are in. It’s really exciting – good things are coming!”

Oratile kids

 


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