- How did Mvari come about?
Having discovered South Africa in 1996, I fell in love with this country contrasted by its savannahs, landscapes, Ndebeles and its ostrich leather. I have this immense sense of gratitude towards South Africa where I studied and found my freedom at the age of 17. I always wanted to contribute my way of being “proudly South African” by creating a worldwide niche brand.
Although I have Turkish roots, having South Africa and France as my home too, I wanted to reconnect the fascinating past of these two countries, making this noble material [ostrich leather], re-finding its place in the heart of fashion. So Mvari was born.
- How did the idea evolve into a viable business?
While I was reflecting on my interests and passions, I looked into macaroons and teas up until the day a friend brought it to my attention that I was a collector of ostrich leather goods. Realising that there is no other brand in the world which specialises and focuses uniquely on ostrich leather, I wanted to be the one to do so. I immediately started to put a business plan together. After six weeks, I was convinced that I was on the right path.
- Who is the business targeted at?
Mvari is a manifestation of a free-spirited, authentic and strong individual who looks for sophistication with a twist. The brand is targeted at luxury consumers here in South Africa and around the world; those who appreciate something unique, contemporary and refined. We’re speaking to customers who have a sustainable, ethical and conscious approach to fashion.
Do you make the accessories yourself?
Not yet. Craftsmanship is part of our DNA, therefore we place it at the forefront and we work with one of the oldest manufacturing houses. They are also the manufacturing house for exclusive European luxury brands. Our vision for the brand is to work with the Department of Trade and Industry and bring our manufacturing to South Africa.
What makes your items unique?
- We are the first ostrich leather brand in the world.
- We have given a re-birth to ostrich leather. The goal is to put ostrich leather and feather back in the heart of fashion.
- What are some of the challenges and highlights of the business?
Our biggest highlight thus far is getting interest in the brand from overseas investors. We have also had amazing customer feedback.
Due to the business being a self-funded brand, working with very limited financial resources, it is very challenging to get every aspect of the branding right from the start. Advertising and marketing are also a challenge due to the costs involved.
- What valuable lessons have you learnt since becoming an entrepreneur?
2. Without losing sight of the vision, focusing on the process and not primarily on the end result; and
3. Sharing the idea with people – it is incredible where and how far that takes you in your path.