5 minutes conversation with the queen of vintage of Hombakazi Vintage Cabin
It was through a friend of mine that I got to learn about Hombakazi Vintage Cabin about four years ago. I had a long look at the Facebook page that was packed with items that I could clearly envision myself donning at just about any occasion.
Being a 24 hour journalist, I decided to do my research, to find out more about the brand and what I found was truly inspiring.
A black woman running a business and seemingly successful too. A new hunger in me awakened. I needed to know and talk to this woman.
Long story short, we couldn’t at the time do an interview but fast forward to now, I had an incredible chance and chatted with Mbukwashe ‘Mbu’Zwide about her work, her passion for vintage fashion, the future of the always evolving industry and style advice for the Spring season.
The day has finally arrived. Catch us today at 6 Spin Street Restuarant, spin street from 3pm -8pm Sunday the 30th we at the Social Market in Claremont from 10am -3pm Hope to see you ladies there ????? @tshikazeeglamcollection will be there too selling everything accessory from Beaded xhosa doeks, beaded ndebele wallets, tassel earrings the works
The self-taught entrepreneur has built and nurtured her business to get it to the solid ground that it is currently enjoying.
Her brand is embraced by South Africans in all the cities but that’s what happens when passion meets hard-work.
“I love fashion. I love styling. I love vintage because it’s exclusive. I am just passionate about it, that’s what drove me to start more than anything.”
From selling and auctioning clothes online from a black bag to running a showroom in Njoli to running a boutique in Westbourne Road to hosting pop-ups nationwide, it is clear that her brand is undeniably growing from strength to strength.
But of course no entrepreneurial journey is without its challenges.
“It wasn’t easy selling and auctioning the clothes online but apart from that I realised that vintage is not for everyone. Another challenging factor was that, people would see how I styled my pieces, order online expecting the same results and when it’s different, they became disappointed. That is why I decided to take the clothes to the clients through the pop-ups.”
Adding that even today, she faces the challenges from people who do not understand the concept of vintage.
“Vintage is only one item of each clothing that you can’t get anywhere else and although there might be something similar but there’s only one item of each.”
Running a business straight from her own pocket also has its challenging factors, with the government showing little to zero support to women like her in her hometown.
“I know a woman from Mount Ayllif and the amount of support she receives from her government is amazing and she gets to be exposed to a whole lot in comparison to us in PE. There’s a lot that the government can do for us but they are not forthcoming.”
However, these challenges are not obstacles to what she is aiming to achieve with her brand going forward. She loves what she does and you have to see her interacting with her clients to truly understand the depth of it all.
“I love that I get to wake up and do what I love, the fact that ladies are still lining up to my pop ups and appreciating what I do.”
“It’s beautiful how strangers love me, love what I do. And mostly, I love that I can inspire one or two people.”
When I asked her about her take on the fact that South Africans are becoming more aware of and are embracing local brands and big retail brands such as Stuttafords closing up she said it’s their time now.
“We are truly breaking barriers, if you look at your Instagram, you see the likes of Rich Factory, Dainty Frocks, Ntozinhle Accessories and more. Those are black owned businesses. We are telling people that we have arrived, that it is our time and I think the big brands are feeling the pinch because we are taking a percentage of their market share and it’s a beautiful thing to see.”
As a last word, she says “frills, frills frills” are the go to trendy items for this Spring season.
Having garnered over 30 000 followers on Instagram and 74 000 on Facebook and a team to assist with bringing her visions to life, I only see nothing but greater things to come.
Visit her at her shop at 68 Westbourne Road in Port Elizabeth or alternatively follow her on Instagram @hombakazi_mbu and Hombakazi Vintage Cabin Facebook page to find out more about the upcoming pop up in Durban and other pop-ups that might be coming your way.
July 22, 2020