“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,” the entrepreneur recounts.
The idea for Oratile Kids was born from Monamodi’s quest to find shoes for her toddler. Her aunt had told her about soft shoes for toddlers that were available when Monamodi was a child, insisting that Monamodi buy them for her own little one. She searched high and low but could only find one 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.”
She recalls that when she received a direct message on social media from the Clicks team, she thought it was a hoax. But the interest was real, and Oratile Kids became a Clicks supplier when the first standalone Clicks Baby store opened at Gateway Theatre of Shopping in KwaZulu-Natal last year. Oratile Kids products, and those from other local brands, can be identified with the 'locally sourced' logo they carry in store.
“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,” Sefatsa says.
Oratile Kids reports sales growth of 34% since it started selling through Clicks. “They have really held my hand through this. 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,” Monamodi says.
She adds, “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!”