Meet Koena Moabelo, a young, motivated, committed and dedicated entrepreneur from Ga-Matlala, a small village called Goedgevonden in Limpopo.
Moabelo, 34, is the founder of Koena Clothing, a company that was inspired by the lack of young black people in the shoe-making industry. Established in 2016, Koena Clothing started off as a brand that made T-shirts, caps and hats. In 2017, tracksuits were introduced and that gave the brand life as Moabelo started investing in machinery to make production a little easier.
Moabelo says that taking production to greater heights got people demanding for more products from his brand, and that’s how he started making sneakers.
“In 2018, we started receiving a lot of demands from those who purchased from us. They said they wanted sneakers to compliment the tracksuits. They disliked the fact that they used to wear our tracksuits with someone else’s shoes. At that time we had already sketched a few designs of sneakers.
“We thought, let’s give production a try. We made some sort of samples, handmade, but we never had confidence on how the stitching was made. Most of the designs we had were complicated and needed machines. We started investing in some small machines that could assist and the rest is history,” said Moabelo.
oday, he has multiple collections of dope unisex sneakers and recently launched his formal shoe range where he partnered with Rose Morapama-Moabelo.
“A lot of people have asked me about formal shoes. I took an opportunity to partner with Rose Morapama-Moabelo and we co-founded Mogore Inc. It is actually her other name and as partners we are doing what we can to make sure we give it the best. We did not start this company two days ago but three years ago. I can tell you that making formal shoes is more complicated than making sports shoes. At the moment, we are just using the existing platforms to introduce the brand,” Moabelo said.
On how he comes up with unique names for his shoes, Moabelo said “what you say about your own product must be able to grab the attention and give a certain impact to push them to end buying the products. The right name also gives impact on what people brag about on the streets.
“We have decided to use destructive forces of nature or rather natural calming effects that are not mammade in most cases to give statement in terms of endurance, stability and the force to hold on to giving what can be given.”
Moabelo also gave us a breakdown of our top five favourite sneakers from his collection, the Tsunami, Forest Fire, Full Moon, The River, and Gauteng.
This name was picked because of the struggles and unpredictable challenges they had to go through when shoe was produced.
This one was to give the playfulness of sitting under the full moon. If you ever visited or grew up in a place where there is no electricity, you will understand the excitement around a full moon.
The Forest Fire came as a collateral of something that can destroy itself to be reborn. This is how nature can push fire to burn its own grass and have it grow greener the next season.
This is more expensive than the rest of the sports shoes. It represents the progression status of Koena Clothing.
It is not man made. We always hear stories of a stone that started having water and the water never stopped instead, it formed a river. It gives you the ability of nature to sustain itself.
Due to the lockdown, the brand is unable to sell at the moment but they’re taking online orders on Koena.co.za and deliveries will only be made after the lockdown.