Twin brothers Bonang and Duduetsang Kau started their clothing brand Re-L8 because they wanted to express how people relate to each other. The twins also wanted their brand to represent the spirit of Ubuntu and of living out one’s passion. Bonang Kau said that they began their trade while they were still in high school, and their style and creativity made them popular with their peers.
Kau said that they started by printing T-shirts, and their designs were very popular. “People started asking us to print more T-shirts because the demand was becoming high,” he said. “We then added caps to our catalogue, and as the years went on we started adding more items of clothing, like jackets, pants, shorts, and tracksuits.”
The brand was officially registered in 2016 and is based in Rustenburg in the North West. Their designs represent the creativity of the age in their uniqueness and colourful nature. They even have a clutch-bag jacket, which doubles as a jacket and a clutch bag. Kau explained that they make their clothes from scratch, even though when they started they used to buy clothing and print on them.
“I feel very proud that we have come as far as even employing five other people in our business,” he said. “As children, we always wanted to be entrepreneurs because we grew up watching people who made it, and we thought that we could change our families and our circumstances,” Kau said that they used to operate a shop in Rustenburg, but it was forced to close because of the lockdown period.
They will, however, be launching their new shop in Rustenburg this month. There were some key lessons that he learned during that period. “We learned that nothing is permanent, whether good or bad,” he said. “We also learned to harness the power of online marketing, as people still wanted our clothing and we made provisions for them to order online through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“One of our biggest challenges is access to finance, as we do not have all the equipment we need in order to expand our operation and grow our business,” he also said. Kau said that the progress the business made over the years is overwhelming and is a testament to its motto and its vision, which is to become successful by relentlessly pursuing one’s passion.
“When I look back and take stock of the progress, it is both overwhelming and amazing at the same time, because it means that the future is looking very promising, and it is something we are looking forward to,” he said. “We have created jobs, and we want to create more jobs so that we are able to change not only our situation but others too.”
In the next five years, Kau said, they will be building a warehouse that will be a one-stop-shop for all of their clothing items.” We want to compete with international brands that are in the country,” he said. “We believe that only South African brands are capable of capturing the uniqueness of being South African, and that’s what we aim to do.”