Bheki Panze, the founder of Makaplan Clothing, chats to our features writer, Fundiswa Nkwanyana, about starting and running his business.
My friends encouraged me to start a business. In 2012, I decided to have a cap printed with my nickname on it, just for fun. My friends loved the cap and urged me to print more. I printed 10 more caps, and they sold out in a day. In June the same year, I officially launched my clothing brand that specialises in branded caps, bucket hats, beanies, hoodies, bomber jackets and t-shirts.
The meaning of the name
The name of my business is Makaplan which means make a plan. I believe that we all have to make a plan when life gets tough. It’s also a constant reminder for all of us to not give up. I hope that people connect with the labels positive message.
Balancing a 9-5 with a side hustle
Running a business and having a full-time job is not easy. I work as an IT support specialist, and use my spare time to focus on my business. It’s not easy balancing the two because my full-time job is demanding. But I make time for my business because I can see that it’s growing. I also have to be innovative and creative because the streetwear sector is very competitive.
Where to from here?
I’m working towards opening Makaplan clothing stores in townships. At the moment, clients can make purchases on my social media platforms: Makaplan clothing on Facebook and makaplanclothing on Instagram. I love that social media easily connects me to new and old clients. My long-term plan is to open stores in townships across Gauteng because this is where most of my clients are based.
Advice to aspirant entrepreneurs
My advice to aspirant entrepreneurs is to make a plan and get started. When there is a will, there is a way. And, start creating your own opportunities in order to grow. It all starts with finding your passion and working hard towards achieving your dreams.
Read more career advice