By Dikeledi Molobela
Pics by Seipati Langa
The creator of Future Socks, one of SA’s most aspirant brand of socks, Thabo Motsoane says not only does he want his clients to look good while wearing his brand, he also wants an African story told. Ignited Woman caught up with him to chat about his aspirations as a Johannesburg Fashion Week designer.
Ignited Woman: Please tell us about Thabo Motsoane, who are you and your background?
Thabo Motsoane: I grew up in Kwa-Thema (in City of Ekurhuleni). I attended Springs Boys’ High School and then went to Wits University where I was pursuing a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, but left it in the middle to pursue business. I am currently looking to study something in business, either B Comm. strategic management or economics and certainly have a pharmaceutical company.
Ignited Woman: Being the founder of Future Socks, please tell us how did the business come about and what is the inspiration behind it?
Thabo Motsoane: It was honestly a dream. I woke up from a deep dream in December 2015, I wrote it down and everything you see stemmed from that dream. The rest is just me adding my personality and all the things that have influenced me in my youth, such as Africa, education, streetwear and the culture around Braamfontein in Jo’burg where I have spent most of my time after high school.
Ignited Woman: Where does your love for entrepreneurship stem from?
Thabo Motsoane: It is deeper than that. For me, it is an opportunity to be an inspiration to someone from a similar background as me. It is a mindset of excellence which I wish to instill in South Africa and Africa’s future generations. We are born great as Africans and I want to show off what Africans can do. We are not born to just be great in our community schools or in the townships, we can dominate the world, even when no one knows or believes in us.
Ignited Woman: Have you always had a passion for socks?
Thabo Motsoane: Am I allowed to say it’s deeper than passion? I always used to be jealous whenever someone had better socks than me. I used to love all the big American and Swedish brands and I used to use a lot of the money my parents gave me while I was in university to buy some of the best socks out there. At some point I even used my Instagram as a sock blog.
Ignited Woman: The socks business is becoming quite popular, so what sets your brand apart?
Thabo Motsoane: The socks we create at Future Socks are not just funky or colourful socks with polka dots and squares. They are iconic! Future Socks designs socks with historical African stories and teaches the world about these beautiful African stories through socks. Some of our socks are named Limpopo, Koena, Ayanda, and we even have one called Azania.
Ignited Woman: Can you tell us how you feel about Future Socks being invited to showcase the product at the SA Fashion Week 2019?
Thabo Motsoane: It is quite an honour. It puts us in the same league as South Africa’s best brands. We do not just see ourselves doing our local fashion week. Future Socks has to dominate everywhere.
Ignited Woman: What are the challenges that you encounter as an entrepreneur and someone who works in corporate, h ow do you merge the two?
Thabo Motsoane: For me, I see it as a responsibility to show other aspiring entrepreneurs that business is not all rosy. There are structural and historical issues in South Africa that need to be addressed before entrepreneurs can thrive in our country. Technology has made it simpler to communicate and access new customers but the reality is that customers want a high quality product. They want you to operate at the same level as the larger retailers. My job is what still sustains the business. I cannot complain about access to funding and long hours. It’s all part of the job, but one day it will be worth all the hard work.
Ignited Woman: What are your hopes for the brand going forward?
Thabo Motsoane: Future Socks will be Africa’s most influential brand. It will be accessible and it will have an organisational culture that can compete against the likes of Google.
Ignited Woman: Where can people find your socks if they are looking to buy?
Thabo Motsoane: At the moment you can find us at The Box Shop in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, Neighbourgoods Market in, Braamfontein, Brownsense Market in Midrand and online at firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp: 067 054 1485, instagram: @future_socks and Facebook: Future Socks.