Specialising in fashionable and trendy genuine leather goods, Minx Leather has captured the hearts of a diverse audience in South Africa and have their sights set to go global. Let’s delve into the inspiring story of Xanthe Havenga, the visionary owner behind Minx Leather, and discover how this business came to life.
The inception of Minx Leather was triggered by a personal incident that struck a chord with Xanthe Havenga. A smash and grab led to the theft of her beloved vintage satchel laptop bag. Determined to find a replacement, Xanthe embarked on a quest that eventually transformed into a business opportunity. Encouraged by a friend, she explored international sourcing, leading her to take a bold leap of faith by placing a significant order of R71k. The arrival of the stock not only met her expectations but ignited a passion for the quality and uniqueness of the products.
Minx Leather began its journey by selling products at weekend markets, recognizing the need for a clear strategy to thrive in a competitive market. As the business gained momentum, it outgrew the garage at home, culminating in the acquisition of its own property in March 2023. However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and load shedding prompted a strategic shift towards collaborating with local artisans for the production of their designs.
To overcome challenges, Minx Leather formed partnerships with local artisans in Khayelitsha, contributing to the community and creating a unique range of products. The company now proudly manufactures 50% of its goods locally, while the remaining 50% is sourced from India. This blend of international and local production not only ensures a diverse product range but also establishes a strong bond with the local community.
Beyond its business success, Minx Leather is committed to ethical practices. By sourcing raw materials without harming animals and upcycling materials from the food industry, the company ensures an environmentally responsible approach. This dedication to sustainability aligns with Minx Leather’s belief in making a positive impact not only in the business world but also within the community it serves.
As Minx Leather is run by three ladies who believe that having a strong professional network with other women business owners helps them to share perspectives, learn from each other and understand their market better – as a huge part of Minx Leather’s market is women.
When asked what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Xanthe answered that there are four factors that play a pivotal role and they are resilience, persistence, commitment to goals and that one also has fun. Xanthe further believes that the delicate touch they have sets them apart in the market. Every Minx product is beautifully wrapped in tissue paper, personalised with a thank you card and placed in a cotton bag. This attention to detail gives the product a more luxurious feel.
One challenge they face is the volatility of the leather price. They are also influenced by the rand/dollar exchange which has caused their imports to increase in cost. With these increases in costs, they had to increase the price of their bags. To help remain relevant, they have included a locally sourced leather cream with the sale of each bag and this gift has helped them keep their edge in the leather market.
Minx Leather gives back to the community through different initiatives. In South Africa, they are busy with a cancer drive called the Margie Cancer Drive and started a skills development drive in India called B.BOLD B.KIND B.YOU for the women who work on making the metal tags for the bags.
In the future, Minx Leather hopes to go global. They want to be on Amazon and have retail outlets overseas. They also hope to become a household name in South Africa for leather goods. With this growth, they hope to have a manufacturing warehouse and a large distribution centre which will help create job opportunities for South African leather artisans.
Minx Leather was chosen to receive a Top 10 Small Business Award and Xanthe Havenga, was crowned the National Woman in Business Champion for 2023 at the 2023 South African Small Business Awards.