Shoe laundry steps into gap

HOME BUSINESS: Vuyani Mahlasela and his employee Phakamile Bange, from Mdantsane, busy at the shoe laundry Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
HOME BUSINESS: Vuyani Mahlasela and his employee Phakamile Bange, from Mdantsane, busy at the shoe laundry Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
The shoe doctor is open for business. After seeing an unusual gap in the market, unemployed Vuyani Mahlasela took the plunge and opened up his shoe laundry business in his hometown, Mdantsane, late last year.

Since December, Mahlasela, 26, has been trading as DaVee’s Mobile Shoe Clinic, after identifying the huge need for a shoe laundering service, especially a mobile one, in the sprawling township.

The Walter Sisulu University internal auditing graduate operates from his mom’s garage at their NU14 home while he waits for a job that is more in line with his studies.

“I decided on this venture after I realised how lazy people are to wash their shoes.

“Also some people are very busy because they work until late, and then on weekends they are busy with church and funerals. So that is why I thought opening up a shoe laundry business would be a very good idea,” he told the Dispatch yesterday.

He struggled to raise capital to start the venture as funders were not forthcoming.

But the proud father of DaVee’s Mobile Shoe Clinic refused to let his idea die, and decided to invest a “little money” he had saved out of a stokvel that he joined last year with his mother and her friends.

Phakamile Bange, 31, who is currently the only employee at the shoe clinic, is excited about his job, which he started in December.

Bange was unemployed before Mahlasela’s business venture opened.

“So far the business is going well and that pleases me, not to mention the joy of having a job.

“We try and send out CVs for job applications but we don’t get called.

“At least I am doing something. The idea Vuyani came up with is very helpful even for us,” he said.

His mother, Nomveliso Mahlasela, is also very happy with her son’s growing business idea.

However, she hopes her son one day finds “a proper job” and continues with the shoe laundry on a part-time basis.

“I am very happy with what he is doing because he does not ask for money to buy small things like airtime anymore.

“I don’t mind him using my garage as long as he keeps it clean,” she said.

Rainy days may come and go, but the business is not affected because they have, among their equipment, a shoe warmer that assists with drying the shoes, so that customers are guaranteed a 24-hour return regardless of the weather.

Mahlasela’s shoe clinic cleans, sprays and polishes all kinds of footwear.

They operate between 8am and 4pm. Collection and delivery services are offered at an additional price until 7.30pm.

The shoe doctor said there was a sharp spike in the business after a number of interviews with local and provincial radio stations.

Initially the only platform he had to market his business was social media.

“My plan is to expand and secure my Eastern Cape base with this business and invade various towns of the province in the name of DaVee’s Mobile Shoe Clinic as I refuse to focus on only one location,” he said. —