Growing up in an area where failure was the norm and seeing talented people lose hope could harm a person, but Themba Makamo dreamt of creating something that would encourage people to go after their dreams.
His desire to inspire people through stories saw a journalist realise that he did not have control over the stories he could write. Makamo concluded that he needed to build something tangible that could carry out his vision.
This was the birth of Vaya Footwear, a South African sneaker brand that not only celebrates ambitious people but reminds them to keep working on their goals no matter what.
His desire to inspire others is translated into the name Vaya. Makamo says “It was simple, since the business is about inspiring people to go for the dreams, and it was born in the township, it only made sense to call it ‘Go,’ but in a township slang Vaya.”
Even though Vaya Footwear started operations in February 2021, Makamo believes that people are born with dreams. And Vaya was created to protect and nurture those dreams by being a daily reminder that you can achieve your goals. The brand has grown in strength through its transparency, appreciating feedback, and evolving with the needs of its customers. “Our business was established on social media and through great brand communication, we were able to achieve and grow a lot through social media marketing.”
The beauty of having a clear vision is transparent in the way the brand’s culture of ambition is encouraged internally. Employees are encouraged to nurture their personal goals and to achieve them. “We believe go-getters like everybody else go through hardships and challenges. And we exist to remind them to keep reaching regardless of any internal or external factors.” This explains why Makamo says he used to fear failure until he realised that God did not create him to be fearful. And it’s this entrepreneurial spirit that still sees him waking up at 3 am to write down an idea he just had and understanding that success is just about achieving one’s life goals.
Purpose driven business
Makamo is motivated by the desire to change lives. “I have a team that meets regularly to review business activities and come up with efficient ways to improve how we do things.”
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to believe in yourself, never give up, and be honest with yourself because self-introspection is important.
Vaya Footwear is putting its best foot forward. Their sneaker range is as colourful as our rainbow nation. And having opened their first store after only 9 months of being in business further proves they have a bright future ahead.