Five years in the business, the making of Durban’s popular brand: Zart clothing
Zart Clothing has taken the streets of Durban and beyond by storm with the best merchandise and unique style which has deeply grounded sense of who the owner is, what he believes in and where he wants to be in the near future.
“I started my brand with headwear in which is something that I thought was easier to sell at the time, and also having to look at the capital that I had, it wasn’t easier to start making and selling something big.”
Mfundi Thabiso Msimang (24), owner and founder of Zart clothing who hails from KwaMashu Township in the north of Durban, says the idea of starting a business and creating a brand did not all come at once.
Msimang says before the whole idea of starting a business came into full circle, he was stuck in choosing between doing something that was not going to over-work him, although he is a hard worker, but at the same time he still had to think smart about choosing to do something that was going to make him a lot of money.
He has since extended the brand from headwear to t-shirts, track suits, bags and other items that can be worn by little kids as well.
Zart clothing is Durban’s most popular brand by far which has won many hearts with their unique trademark, and has been in business for 5 years now.
The naming of my brand is derived from the love I have for money and also the passion I have for art. Zart is a combination of ZAR (South African Rand) if you remove the T. However, if you also remove the Z – it then reads (Art) – So basically it is a combination of South African Rand and Art, and that’s how the name came about.
His brand is worn by known influencers, youtubers and artists such as Basetsana Sikhakhane, Skitsbysphe, Beast and Madanon amongst others.
Zart clothing business consists of four members, Smiso Msimang (operational manager), Cebo Dollar Sibiya, Sphesihle Ngcobo and Njabulo Maxova Mavundla.
Operational manager, Smiso, is also Msimang’s cousin whom he says he trusts when it comes to decision making and values his opinion a lot.
Msimang (the Zart guy) as most people prefer calling him – has since bought himself a VW Polo car which he calls a ‘Sexy beamer’, this has been the biggest achievement for him in which shows how much successful his business has grown to become.
The money, growth and success that Msimang is seeing in his business now, he says this is when he supposed to be establishing and creating his brand because of the means and resources. He says 2020 should be the year ‘2016’ when he started his business.
“I feel most people who starts businesses do not know the importance of having capital if you want to start up a business. There are many things that needs to be done in a business to make it grow, and none of those things can never be accomplished if you do not have start-up capital which can help to sustain your business.”
“When opening a business you ought to think about the marketing of the brand and business as a whole. Marketing your business is very crucial and does not come free – the influencers that you need to promote your business needs to be paid, and you also need to have merchandise to give to them for free so that they can promote your business, therefore you cannot honestly rely on the profits you make as it becomes difficult to get where you want to be – growth-wise.”
The challenges the business has faced and endured was having to sell the merchandise online and not being able to deliver it to customers due to lockdown regulations. Msimang aspires to have an online store like the likes of Superbalist.
“I was the only clothing brand selling during the lockdown, as much as I wasn’t able to deliver the merchandise but I made a lot of sales, and that has showed me the importance of having an online store like Superbalist.”
While ascribing his aptitude to simultaneously focusing on his business, being a businessman, family man and a visionary – the formidable young businessman has a great attitude coupled with the desire to succeed in life.
The business-minded driven young man is also involved in a non-profit organisation called Siyakhulisa where they provide Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) community at large with food parcels and clothes to those who are disadvantaged.
Msimang who is a father to a one-year boy and a seven-month daughter, Sbani Simba and Awande Msimang, says he had to leave Damelin College when he was still doing his final-year in public administration because of his bigger picture plan in business and making money.
Msimang lost his mother at a young age, though he says her teachings still guides him even today especially when it comes to treating others people with respect and not judging them for the way they are. The humble and well spoken young man says he get his motivation to do more, wake up in the morning and achieve better from his dad, Thobani Msimang, a successful businessman.
Msimang has created himself as an alter person (Inkosi Yasendle – iBhubesi) which has now been aligned with his clothing line, particularly the new lingo that people are fast falling for. He has become a brand as an individual.
“Growing up my cousin always told me that I need to dominate the streets of Durban and make Durban my jungle. So, I needed to be strong and powerful like a lion to get where I am today and that’s why I call myself Inkosi Yasendle.”
Fast growing Zart lingo which was started in 2017 has recently managed to get Msimang 11 K followers on Instagram after a trending video surfaced on social media where the first concept talks about ‘Ngidl’ngeBribe’.
Msimang tells us about how this lingo came about:
” We were just chilling in the office with the gang on 4th floor at 320 building, we were just playing around using the same word, so I would say ‘ Ngidl’ iRight, Ngidl’iRecord, Ngidl’iType’, the next day I came back and continued using the phrases and everyone else started following through that even my cousin went to post about it on Facebook and that created buzz. This was in 2017, and I remember even my sister calling and asking what was happening on Facebook because of the reception this lingo received at the time.”
“It nice planning something and see it grow so much and see people who are famous like artists and even influencers using the lingo even on their live videos with their fans on social things. This lingo has become a success on its own.”
“To most people it’s a funny lingo, they like it so much and they are always laughing. I have tried to flip it by giving people advices using the lingo. You get people even when I’m live on Instagram asking me to give them ‘i-Straight advice’ – I give advices mostly to girls those in particular who are staying at university residences who should not allow to be misled and mistreat by guys.”
Msimang is set to create a YouTube channel soon with his team called Bribe Gangular where they will be featuring artists, musicians and other youtubers communicating using the Zart lingo with each other. Some of the content and topics will be ‘i-Hawks mawudl’icheat’, ‘i-Golf 7 rev guys’, i-Res hungry guys and ‘i-Res small boys vs Blessers’.
Picture: Zart Clothing/Facebook