Batswana find opportunity in second hand clothes

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More venture into the business of mining bales


FRANCISTOWN: While countries like Rwanda and Kenya have taken strong measures against and banned the sale of second hand imported clothes, the penetration of second hand clothes commonly known as bales in Botswana market still provides a way out economic hardships and unemployment for many Batswana .
The women dominated business made its presence in Botswana’s informal retail sector almost a decade ago and a common fistcue in most towns across the country. Batswana who ventures into this business normally import these second hand clothes from Zambia, Italy, and the United Kingdom (UK), trading in packages of different weights.
For Monei Ookeditse Tsenang, founder and the Managing Director of PROF Supplies and Investment (PTY) LTD started his business after developing interest on Facebook. Tsenang was selling cars from UK while studying for a bachelor’s degeree . One day his container of cars had lots of space and out of curiosity he posted on Facebook soliciting orders from Batswana to fill the space with bales. “Surprisingly so many Batswana placed orders and that was the starting point of my business. When I came back after my studies I continued with the business of supplying bales. Initially I was focusing on orders only but upon realisation that the bales are in demand I started cash and carry. As we speak the business is doing fine and I can encourage more Batswana to venture into it to fight unemployment,” said Tsenang.
Due to the demand Tsenang is in the process of expanding to other parts of the country. Soon he will be opening another branch in Francistown and Maun to supply the region. “In Gaborone I have employed five youth and will soon argument my staff when I open other branch. And in order to fight unemployment I only employ youth,” maintained Tsenang.
Tsenang’s cargo ranges from 10 kg to 55kg. A mini bale of 10kg costs P1350.00. 30kg is P1600. 45kg costs 2400.00 while 50kg and 55kg costs P2700 and 2900 respectively. The bales are shipped according to the customer’s request. “If a customer needs bales that only contain men’s trousers we will definitely do that,” he said.
Lack of employment and economic hardship are what motivated Catherine Mafoko to venture into the world of bales. The accounting graduate struggled to find employment for more than 10 years after the completion of her studies. She developed her interest for the business following the intensified second hand clothes adverts that circulate on social media. “I initially bought a P2500 package weighing 45kg, It contained different clothes for men and ladies. The selling price for these clothes ranged from P30 to P200. When the first bale finished I bought the second to also sell and the rest is history. This business is my source of finance and unlike before I can do more because of this trade. I even managed to buy a car with the profits which has helped me grow,” Mafoko said.