Tshepo Mohlala has been producing custom-made jeans for the past dozen years. Three years ago, he established his own business, Tshepo Jeanmaker, in Lorentzville, on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg CBD.
With an R8,000 loan, he was able to launch his business, which has attracted a lot of attention on Facebook and Twitter - important marketing channels for him.
His social media pages bring a lot of business, as more and more people ask him to make custom-made jeans for them.
However, a recent Twitter request took an unexpected turn for Mohlala.
A prospective client asked how much his jeans cost.
"I told the user that a pair costs R950 and that is when all hell broke loose."
People lambasted Mohlala for "overpricing" his jeans.
What R950, he must be smoking so shit, that's why most people don't succeed in business,he must be reasonable, if u can get a good quality Jean at markhams for 500 or 600 why would u wanna pay 950, pricing n comparing is important in business— thabisojk (@JeffreykSandals) September 1, 2018
Niyadlala nina Tshepo once quoted me R1500-R1800 for a denim jacket ?????????? yaphela kanjalo iConversation— Señor GENERAL (@General_Shezi) September 3, 2018
He doesn't take the Twitter backlash seriously and says that there's a thin line between inspiration and envy.
"Like any other business you have to look at your cost of production and market segmentation." Those who agree with Mohlala have come to his defence.
Celebrity photographer Austin Malema and businessman Sibusiso Mahone also supported him.
"The fashion industry is highly competitive and international brands make it hard for the local industry to thrive," says Mohlala. Textile prices are also expensive, which push up prices. "The economy hasn't been stable in years. I think South Africans should start buying local."
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