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Rashid Thobega Stewart describes himself as a straight-up hustler. A born-and-bred Joburger, Rashid’s entrepreneurial confidence has shaped his business, Landlords Footwear, not because he believes that his business is perfect, but rather because he has a ‘take the risk, go for gold and give everything you do your all’ mentality.

 

It’s an attitude that both start-ups and more mature businesses need to survive challenges, and it’s one that Rashid has in spades. In fact, he believes so strongly in South African entrepreneurs blazing their own trails and never giving up that it’s become a cornerstone of his brand.

 

Here are three key lessons Rashid has learnt – and which he hopes to share with his fellow hustlers:

  1. Sell a culture, not a product

 

In Rashid’s case, Landlords Footwear is a sneaker brand, and while Rashid’s sneaker designs are stunning, the idea behind his brand is much bigger than the product itself.

 

The name Landlords comes from the idea that we all need to own our own space. “Be a landlord,” says Rashid. “Whether you’re in an office or behind a camera – wherever you are – perform to the best of your abilities and create value in that space. Start from the bottom, be proud, and add a brick every day.”

 

That’s the culture Rashid supports. When brands are not built around a product but an ideal instead, it is much easier to grow new revenue streams and product lines as long as everything come back to that central brand value.

 

  1. The greatest gift we can offer each other is inspiration

 

This comes in many forms. It’s Rashid inspiring and motivating other entrepreneurs to make it happen. It’s collaborating with shoe manufacturers who can bring Rashid’s vision to life. It’s working closely with customers to give them the best experience available – especially when they are not used to shopping online.

 

Rashid has a simple philosophy: We are all selling faith and hope, no matter what business we are in. This is a marathon, not a sprint. But if you keep your eye on the prize, you will become a gold medalist.

 

  1. Leverage the tools that are at your disposal

 

Starting a business today is more accessible than it’s ever been. Not only could Rashid envision a sneaker brand and then work with outsourced manufacturers to make it a reality, but there are go to market channels that simply didn’t exist before, such as Facebook marketplace and Instagram. These cost-effective digital channels allow start-ups to not only reach audiences but sell directly to them as well. It’s a game-changer, but it does require entrepreneurs to be constantly on the lookout for tools that can assist them. Keep learning – the landscape changes every day and with it, new opportunities present themselves.

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About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Chief Marketing Officer, Sasfin Holdings Limited