Two years ago, having saved up a small sum from their thriving car-wash enterprise, Kanye siblings Bonny and Tshephang Otlogetswe decided to swap soap for style.
The brothers founded ‘True Story’, a youth-centered fashion label that celebrates the ‘hustling spirit’ – a trait the two men hold close to their hearts.
“The brand was established in 2018 due to this pandemic of unemployment which forced us to be innovative and come up with something which could sustain us,” explained Bonny, who at 33 has three years on his younger brother.
Moreover, he says the brand was inspired by the duo’s desire to ‘write their own story’.
“The merchandise which you will find within our collection are sweaters, masks, track pants, t-shirts, beanies, and many others,” said Bonny, adding the dream is to grow the brand into a household name.
While starting a business can be a bit tricky, the brothers provided their own seed capital to kick-start the enterprise.
“For us to create this brand, we have a car wash which we used proceeds from it to finance this project. We didn’t ask for help from anybody – this is the hustle that I am speaking about!” Bonny revealed proudly.
Continuing on how the business was conceived, Bonny says he and Tshephang regard themselves as true hustlers; hence the brand True Story was born.
“After running a car wash for some time, I suggested to him that we should show people that we live a true story and he suggested that forming a fashion label in line with that will be better,” explained the young entrepreneur, describing True Story as a prophetic label.
Although they had the money to launch the business, Bonny admits that the early days were tough with the day-to-day running of True Story, and the cost of the equipment required proving pricey.
“At first we engaged other people to print for us, but as for now, we are doing everything for ourselves,” he said.
Currently, the brand is not available in stores, with the brothers relying on door-to-door sales and pre-orders to survive.
Just shy of their second birthday, Bonny revealed that business was really picking up when the outbreak of the Covid-19 disrupted progress.
“The restrictions have badly affected us because we couldn’t reach our clients on time, but before that things were better,” he conceded, grimly adding the company is slowly finding its feet again post lockdown.
As for the future, the brothers are focused on improving the brand’s local profile, including building up their workforce (which currently stands at just the two siblings). Eventually, they plan to add a foreign chapter to their story and take the brand across borders.
In recent years, the country has seen the emergence of numerous homegrown fashion labels. While some have gone on to cement their place, others have disappeared into oblivion; True Story are determined to avoid such a fate.
“We truly believe this brand will grow in leaps and bounds and will not vanish because we are committed and we will sweat for it,” Bonny concluded.