You’ve seen her handbags all over Instagram (ours especially – we’re obsessed!) and now you will finally get a chance to connect with the artistic, ingenious woman that is Tsakani Mashaba, founder of Hamethop handbags! Inspired mostly by the artwork of the Ndebele tribe, Tsakani and her team’s exquisite handbags are truly for the creative, the fashionable and the distinctive consumer. Get to know the intriguing entrepreneur below as she talks about the importance of developing the African aesthetic in fashion…
Full Name: Tsakani Mashaba
Educational Background: AAA School of Advertising (Brand Management)
Current Title/Position: Entrepreneur + Creative
Current City: JHB
Tsakani, we haven’t seen handbags as outstanding as those from your brand, Hamethop, in a long time! Inspired mainly from Ndebele artwork, Hamethop creates unique, colorful handbags and clutches. Take us through the journey to founding your line, Hamethop?
Art, History, Architecture and Craftsmanship inspire our brand. This was the basis of my thoughts when I started exploring the idea of starting Hamethop. It was and still is important to me to create products that are influenced by these four aspects. The Ndebele use of geometry and balance of color on their walls was inspirational. This was a reference that sat with me for a very long time. Once I completed my first bag I felt a sense of relief. That’s when I knew that this is one of the things I want to do for the rest of my life.
African fashion, influence and culture is certainly on the rise – but it isn’t rising fast enough. What changes do you believe are necessary in order for our own heritage and fashion influences to truly have their breakthrough?
Globalization, Technology and Brand are key aspects to consider when looking at the rise of the African aesthetic in fashion and design. When talking about Globalization, brands are always looking for ideas that will have a presence worldwide. African culture, influence and fashion happen to be unexplored, or rather quite fresh/unique – that in itself is a breakthrough that allows creators to develop their own signature style. Technology allows anyone to tap into the visual landscape of the past and present, thus any brand can develop ideas using African influences.
What is critical in the context of the business of African fashion in Africa is local consumer confidence, government support for crafters/artisans, textile and leather industries.
I am highly influence by my environment; I deeply relate to Africa, I think that’s why my design ethos is influenced by this region. Maybe it’s also because I believe that the African craftsmanship is unique and has a lot to offer to the world.
Take us though the design process you go through when producing a Hamethop creation?
It’s very random, but in most cases I have a dream/vision and I sit with it for a while until it bursts out of me! Sometimes I have multiple ideas at the same time, however I find methods of streamlining them to enable me to execute one idea at a time.
Once I am clear on the visual, I sit with our master crafters and they help me realize the idea. It is during this process that I am in awe of the skills that we have on our continent.
Almost any entrepreneur will tell you that funding is one of their biggest concerns. Could you share how you went about building the capital for the launch of Hamethop?
As entrepreneurs, our businesses are mostly self-funded. Yes, funding does become a challenge when we want to scale and become a global player. But, as any other entrepreneur knows, I keep it moving and focus on what is in front of me.
As an entrepreneur and creative/designer, what do you believe are the traits and characteristics most required to succeed in business?
I think it depends on the nature of your business and aspirations. What I have learned in my business is that the back-end is as important as the front. Processes, logistics, partnerships and good financial management are critical for any business. Being in the creative industry and having a creative flair is a benefit; but one certainly also needs to learn important skills such as applying or interpreting analytics, using their intuition or combining both.
Where may prospective customers purchase your beautiful designs?
Stable in Cape Town, African Design Emporium or contact us via social media
As an entrepreneur and creative, what are some of your biggest challenges and how have you been able to overcome them?
The biggest challenge thus far was finding the right skills to get our quality of production right; this took us months of trial and error. We had a committed crafter that understood our vision and together we were open to learning and getting it right.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Trust God, Trust your vision. Keep going.
Morning or night? Night
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order? Joan Dutiot, one of our master weavers who passed on recently. We would chat over her delicious lemonade.
South Africa is… Beautiful!
Worst money mistake… too many to just mention just One.
Best investment… My dreams…