By: Tebogo Mokwena
Ike Lekgoro is not afraid of making mistakes as a businessman, and the fact that he tried many businesses before finding his stride as a craftsman, is a testament to this. Lekgoro said that errors have given him a chance to learn more about his craft. Before Lekgoro established Come Again Holdings which trades as Tlotlego Legendcraft and handcrafts genuine leather goods, he ran many businesses. He used to have a brass band business, a gym, a boerewors roll business, an internet cafe, and even did graphic designing.
When each business failed, he did not take long to dust himself off. Lekgoro, whose business is based in Polokwane, told Vutivi News that he officially registered it in 2016, but started making shoes, clothes, belts, and bags from leather earlier. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs so I have always been surrounded by entrepreneurship,” he said. “I had a baby whose name was Tlotlego, and my child, unfortunately, died in 2015. I decided to build a legacy in remembrance of my baby and started making clothing from leather.”
Lekgoro also said that he was inspired to challenge myths that fellow Africans have about craftsmanship. “My products are handmade, and I chose to do this because we as African people do not believe that quality shoes can be handcrafted,” he pointed out. “It, therefore, brings me a lot of happiness and fulfillment when customers get their shoes and they realise that it can actually be done.” Lekgoro and his team of three employees sourced their leather from Polokwane, Johannesburg, and Tshwane.
He said that sourcing leather and other materials were not the challenge, it was rather convincing people that handcrafted shoes were worth the investment. “Our shoes get compared to other brands that are more reputable, and I feel like this comparison is redundant because we handcraft our shoes, and pour a lot of love and time into ensuring that the shoes come out very good,” he said. “This is where my love of making mistakes comes from. It is through the process of trial and error that I not only know about my craft but also about my products and how to improve them regularly.”
Lekgoro told Vutivi News that he loved what he did and he considered his overseas visits as progress. He has attended an exhibition in the Ivory Coast, and this year is set to attend another exhibition in Dubai. “I get to rub shoulders with great designers and learn a lot from them, and this will go a long way in establishing shops for my products across the country, something that is a dream of mine,” he told Vutivi News.