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Kicks Sportswear – making the business circle bigger

Meet the Absa Small Business Friday featured Small Business of the week – Kicks Sportswear.

Established near the start of 2021, Kicks Sportswear designs and produces proudly African, feel-good sportswear that offers a unique and competitive alternative to global sports brands. They design, innovate and create feel-good sportswear. Kicks Sportswear simply loves to produce great quality sportswear that their clients will love and enjoy. Whether they are a serious runner, a passionate sneakerhead, or both, a pair of Kicks is a must-have for anyone looking to flex on the track or outside of a fashion show.

Sammy Mhaule’s entrepreneurial journey started at fourteen when he sold ice-creams to help sustain him until he was able to finish school. He went on to study engineering. He got an apprenticeship from BMW and afterwards was offered a full-time job. His career there was however short-lived as he realised, he wasn’t passionate about this work. When he resigned, he attended a short course in marketing and business, which his parents weren’t initially happy about. But he persevered. He tried his hand at chickens, but the market was already flooded so he decided to go abroad and see what he could achieve there. In England, he honed his marketing, management, and sales skills. He tried his hand at selling perfume, shopping bags and property, with not much success, so he returned to South Africa. But Sammy was determined to succeed and went all-in, selling his house and car and investing it into his next venture, Kicks Sportswear.

As Kicks Sportswear was started during the lockdown period in the COVID-19 pandemic, people couldn’t come into an office to work. Without the overhead of an office, Sammy’s limited financial resources could be directed into product development and stock while working on building an online presence at almost no cost. Sammy learnt online and did most of the marketing and brand building by himself.  

Sammy describes himself as someone who is always willing to share his knowledge with other entrepreneurs. He likes to surround himself with like-minded individuals.

He is a contributor and mentor at Start Up School and the Township Entrepreneur Alliance (TEA) an organisation established to empower township entrepreneurs with knowledge and skills sharing. To date, it has directly impacted over 6500 entrepreneurs. As part of his willingness to be a solution to others, Kicks Sportswear has a CSI program that has partnered with Family Matters, the first Black female-owned fertility clinic in South Africa, which strives to put patients at ease and aims to empower patients by transferring knowledge. Kicks Sportswear has also partnered with Makhadzi in an R120 million sneaker mega deal – a perfect collaboration.

In the future, Kicks Sportswear hopes to set up 15 new retail stores and create 60 permanent jobs on the retail level and additional 15 permanent jobs on the warehouse level. Kicks Sportswear also wants to ensure the suppliers they use look after their workers and environment. 

Kicks Sportswear was crowned the National Startup Champion for 2022 at the South African Small Business Awards.

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