The KwaZulu-Natal Field Trip : Import & Export

Yes! Threads is proudly rooted in South Africa and a strong supporter of all things ‘Made in South Africa’. To showcase some of the best practices the country has to offer, #ThreadsbySB has partnered with South African Tourism to organize 3 Field trips as part of the Accelerator program. During these trips, all participants from the 4 campuses come together and take a #shotleft to find inspiration across the different provinces. Besides exploring Arts & Culture and the local fashion industry, they’ll undertake real-life industry activities and discover some of the best practices from the country. After the recent Western Cape field trip focused on eCommerce and Sustainability, this time the entrepreneurs were off to KwaZulu- Natal.

Once again, our entrepreneurs were in for a special treat! Staying in one of the most stylish, forward thinking global leaders of hospitality, the Hilton Durban. After a tasty lunch at The Big Easy Winebar and Grill situated at the hotel, it was time to start the first activity of the trip: The Personal Development Workshop and who better to host the discussion than Personal Power, Branding Expert and #ThreadsbySB Judge Timothy Maurice? From unpacking the neuroscience behind consumer behavior to understanding the importance of personal branding. As expected, the insights simply kept flowing. Enabling every participant to efficiently build their own personal brands. Although your fashion businesses might outsource management talent, it’s still important to acknowledge why and how your personality can influence your leadership, management, and even negotiation skills. That’s why #ThreadsbySB co-founder Tania Habimana hosted a session discovering our entrepreneurs’ various personality types.

Day 2 of the field trip focused on Arts, Culture & the KZN Fashion Industry. The entrepreneurs first stopped at the institution driving innovative fashion and design, the KZN Fashion Council! Enabling us to have a closer look at how they support and uplift s the KZN design and fashion sector. Nomqhele Ndlovu Programme Manager and Designer Liaison at the KZN Fashion Council then gave us a tour of Durban’s creative eco-system in the Station Drive Precinct. The last two years have seen the area completely transform. With the opening of quirky coffee shops, bars, breweries, design studios, eclectic clothing shops, stores selling hand-made leather crafts, and a Sunday morning market, it’s no wonder that it has become one of Durban’s hot spots.The entrepreneurs discovered communities such as Open Plan Studio and The Makers Space. From 3D-Printing, tech ateliers to shared photo booths. These co-creation spaces are actively lowering the barriers to entry for people to express their creativity in a physical way.

It was then time to find some visual inspiration. That’s why we visited one of the largest collections of traditional arts, crafts in South Africa at The Phansi Museum.

The highlight of the visit was the collection of life-size dolls showing ceremonial wear from different regions and cultures across Africa as well as exceptional examples of beadwork dating back to the 19th century.
What made the visit even more special is that the museum is housed in Roberts’ House, which was built in 1898 and was home to Esther Roberts, one of South Africa’s first female anthropologists.

Whether you’re creating your own pattern or not, we believe fabrics can visually boost your creativity. Consequently, we had to visit some of Durban best fabric stores including Lala’s Bulk Fabrics and Minty’s Fabrics. A trip to Durban would not be complete without a sundowner at the iconic Moyo uShaka Pier. Cocktail in hand, the entrepreneurs got to enjoy the pink skies and share experiences as Day 2 of the field trip was coming to an end.

As you know, our entrepreneurs have unpacked the main pillars of the Business of Fashion. From customer development, distribution strategies, manufacturing & supply, digital marketing to law. Enabling their businesses to be ready for international markets. That’s why our last day was entirely dedicated to Import/Export. It’s no surprise the masterclass was hosted by Dube Trade Port, leaders in Import/Export logistics innovation. Taryn Muller, Dube Trade Port Head of Marketing, revealed how the company keeps moving businesses forward. From its infrastructure, connecting up to 700+ international destinations and more. Ricardo Isaac, Terminal Manager, then gave the entrepreneurs an exclusive tour of Dube Trade Cargo Terminal. From freight forwarders, automatic handling equipment to the various storage facilities, the logistics behind efficient import/export infrastructures were officially unpacked. Kubendran Pillay, Emirates Cargo Manager then joined the session to share insights on Emirates airlines, air logistics and airfreighting. When it comes to unpacking the Export cycle from a trading business perspective, we couldn’t think of anyone else than Trade & investment KZN Promotions officer Christina Pillay & Export Development Manager Francois Bietrix!

That’s it for our KwaZulu- Natal Field Trip! Stay tuned to uncover more insights with The Business of Fashion Accelerator Program Threads Stitched By Standard Bank.

Threads Team

We believe in change. We believe in leaving a lasting impact. That's why threads mission is to empower the next of South African fashion entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools, resources, and networks to run a sustainable business operation and thrive internationally.