Tshepo Nkakala has a secret weapon: faith. His belief in his own ability to learn and grow has seen him build his very own printing business, despite a lack of employment opportunities around him. Now, with the Democratic Alliance as one of his biggest clients, he aims to invest in taking his business to the next level.
We were fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Mr Nkakala. Here’s the 411:
Q: Why the printing business? Was it a good opportunity at the time or is there a passion in your heart for this industry in particular?
A: I had just completed my practicals at Thabong Sewage Plant (Free-State), and then the thought hit me. Officially, I had just then qualified as a Class 2 Process Controller for the operation of the water works. Even though I achieved the qualification, it was still difficult to secure a job at the municipality, so I decided to follow my artistic passion instead.
I noticed a demand in the printing market because many people were beginning their own businesses. Clothing lines were springing up too and that’s the point I wanted to enter into: to help make their brands and companies recognisable. Inevitably, I began my own clothing label: UN-TOUCHED15.
Q: What are some of the challenges you faced, personally, in starting up this business?
A: It is difficult to start a printing business, truth be spoken. Equipment is very expensive! Getting the money to register the business was a bit challenging but I managed to get through this critical phase. I was fired up, and nothing really stopped me from going after what I wanted.
With the sacrifices that my sister (Sannah Thobejane) and my friend (Lefa Nhlapo) made to keep the business floating, I worked hard and started small. In the early stages, I decided to start a printing business as a broker because I didn’t have all the resources. We still have to outsource some of the services.
Q: What motivates you every day?
A: Learning new things! It’s important for me to improve my skills and abilities. Interacting with interesting people and sharing information with positive people helps a lot, too, because it can provide you with the information you need; everything you do helps you achieve your goals.
Q: What products/services are unique to your printing company?
A: At UN-TOUCHED we are driven to provide every customer with the right solutions. We don’t just stop at printing – we propose holistic solutions to guide our customers. This includes facilitating the selection of prints and combining colours, patterns, textiles and more.
Q: Where is your business based, and who forms your client base (businesses, individuals, professionals etc)?
A: UN-TOUCHED 15 is a home-based business: that’s my zone; that’s where I create all the magic. Most of my clients are individuals but I also cater for a few businesses. Recently I met with my first huge client the Democratic Alliance (DA). I believe this client will be my breakthrough in terms of buying the necessary equipment my company needs so it can grow.
Q: What Good News message do you have for our readers?
A: The message that I have for the The Good News Company readers: have faith and believe that things will work out. In the end, you’ll be ‘Un-Touched”