BY Nkosazana Ngawdla
Washing your sneakers can be quite a daunting task, especially if you’re a sneakerhead with lots of pairs – and don’t us started on trying to get a stain off suede material, a nightmare!
That’s why when local entrepreneur, Lethabo Mokoena started his sneaker-cleaning business in 2015, he knew he would be successful; because let’s face it, everyone loves a good pair of fresh, clean sneakers.
Lethabo started his business at his home in Daveyton, a township in Benoni, Gauteng, with just R700 as capital and he named it Walk Fresh. “I had to drive from Daveyton to Braamfontein to get access to some of the key resources & knowledge that molded me to be the entrepreneur I am today,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Walk Fresh is a boutique sneaker cleaning and shoe-care service providing the best sneaker cleaning, suede/nubuck refurbishing, and maintenance for all footwear brands, makes, and materials,” the brand website reads.
Eight years later, Walk Fresh has four branches across South Africa with the prospects of even more growth.
“We find our freedom in what we do. We get the chance to define ourselves and be part of a family. Some of the processes and techniques we use are not found in textbooks or on the Internet. They are original; these are skills handed down by those before us. This is a legacy from our grandfathers, fathers, uncles and now us. The skill of utilizing a toothbrush for polishing shoes to using tissue paper for drying sneakers are those we have inherited,” the website continues.
Because Lethabo is passionate about transferring skills for the betterment of others, he launched Sole Survivors: an institute dedicated to teaching youngsters in townships how to clean sneakers and run sustainable sneaker-cleaning businesses.
Now that’s inspiring!