Sneaker shack - Why Lolo Ndlovu trusted his gut – and why it worked

When Lolo Ndlovu launched The Sneaker Shack in 2016, he knew he was going against conventional data and wisdom. On paper, a business built on cleaning and refurbishing sneakers just didn’t seem feasible. Who would pay to get their shoes professionally cleaned?

As it turns out, quite a lot of people. Today, The Sneaker Shack has nine retail branches in Joburg and Cape Town, and a bustling collect and deliver unit that will pick your shoes up and deliver them back to your door 48 hours later.

If that wasn’t enough of a clue that this business is flying, all the photos of Lolo and Richard Branson together certainly will, highlighting Lolo’s connection the Branson Center in South Africa.

So, what makes this business special?

We’ve spoken often of the entrepreneurial ‘gut’, but there’s much more to it than that. Entrepreneurs are often successful because they pay attention to the world around them. They are always connecting the dots, which often makes them appear almost prophetic when a big idea that seemed like it didn’t fit suddenly took off.

Netflix, Airbnb and Uber are just three of the biggest examples of this in action at a massive scale (and Amazon, of course), but the reality is that all successful start-ups are built on what ‘could’ be based on current and potential future trends. These are the businesses that really strike gold when markets start to shift and their foundations have already been laid.

In Lolo’s case, we have firmly entered the circular economy, which is largely based on recycling, re-using and refurbishing. Why buy new shoes when the shoes you love can look like new? That’s what The Sneaker Shack does and customers love it!

Not to mention the fact that we’ve all seen a slightly tight economy (to put it mildly) and consumers are holding on to their hard-earned cash.

We love Lolo’s story – he’s a firm believer in not waiting to have all the answers but getting out there and testing his ideas and learning as he goes – and he has a great start up to show for it!

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About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Sasfin Holdings Limited, Chief Marketing Officer

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