VUT fulfils entrepreneur’s dreams through shoe making

VUT fulfils entrepreneur’s dreams through shoe making

Shoe and leather entrepreneur: Mr Pepe Simon Olifant

Moeketsi Montshitsi

More and more local entrepreneurs want to join the shoe industry and learn the relevant skills. Mr Pepe Simon Olifant is a 45-year-old shoe and leather entrepreneur residing in the Vaal region, and he makes shoes, bags and sneakers for a living. He has sold about 50 bags since he started his business two months ago, and he has two bag designs.

From 1996 to 1999 he studied Marketing Management at Vaal University of Technology (VUT). And he further went to study at VEGA, the brand leadership school, for a year and acquired a Creative Process certificate and a three-year diploma in Brand Communication.

He started as an arbitrageur 15 years ago, buying and selling shoes and clothes for a profit. On 15 November 2018 he saw a VUT stand with shoes and leather products at the Emerald SMME Exhibition and Conference. He was fed up with being the middle man and decided to join the Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship (CoFE) at the VUT Southern Gauteng Science Park.

He later went to the Science Park and pitched his plan to the head of CoFE, Mr Jaco la Grange, about selling around Durban and Johannesburg. He said he was willing to take part and also gain skills in the industry. He did not receive a stipend like other students on the learnership programme and in only six months he had acquired the skills he needed.

Mr Olifant spent 28 days, from 9 September to 2 October 2019 in Fujian Province, China, learning about sneaker designs and patterns of boots for women. He was sponsored by the South African and Chinese governments.

He is currently building his Tink Pepe Brand and already has orders and a few machines to do his work. He needs more experience and exposure to put his brand on the map, as well as staff he can work with. He is still pursuing other business plans wishes to get assistance from public and private organisations that fund entrepreneurs and small businesses.

If you can assist, please contact Pepe on 060 802 1432/072 746 070 or by E-mail:

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Human Resource Department

Human Resource Department