“The Sneakers are an Ode to ‘The Natives”

Sereetsi and The Natives mark eight years of the ‘Native lifestyle’ with trendy sneakers that are already a rave among fans of the folksy band

Sereetsi and The Natives have set in motion a strategy that will see a gradual rollout of a new line of merchandise for fans and supporters of the popular contemporary folk jazz act.

The band’s merchandise until now been limited to T-shirts. Says band leader, Seeletso Sereetsi: “This time around we will offer different products. We have already started with a line of trendy and funky sneakers that have raised a lot of interest among fans.”

“We had a small test run of pairs that were quickly snatched by ‘The Natives.’ We just wanted to check the appetite on the market and are convinced that it is what ‘The Natives’ want. We should be pushing that to market soonest.”

“The Natives” is the band’s group slang for folks, especially their fans who have proved themselves to be always agog for anything from their favourite folksy outfit, including the unaffected T-shirts.”

Huge demand
Sereetsi says they are already processing orders for the sneakers: “The demand is really encouraging. We couldn’t be more excited.”

But the T-shirts will remain a staple of the band and its legion of followers. “We have noted calls for ‘Native T-shirts’ and assure ‘The Natives’ that they will soon be donning new apparel,” says Sereetsi. “We are working round the clock to make sure that they are quality products. We’re not cutting corners.”


A badge of belonging
The band leader reckons the merchandise makes their fans feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.

“It easily becomes a badge of belonging to that special and rare thing of beauty,” he says. “It’s a badge worn with pride. It is a badge of cultural sophistication.”
Some artists and bands amass great following not only because of their craft but by means of merchandise that is beyond the competition.


Another income stream
As a source of revenue and a way to build and advertise brands, music merchandise has always been important to artists and bands. It is closely tied-in to an individual’s identity, with hoodies and T-shirts allowing fans to align themselves with a greater subculture and identifying one another as fans of the same icon.

Now more than ever, merchandise is an essential way for artists to make money, especially with the age of digital piracy. Music is becoming, for many independent artists, an automatic loss that’s ‘given away’ to promote gigs, tours, festivals and merchandise.
This is not lost on Sereetsi. “This is part of our growth strategy as we build up to a decade in the professional ranks of the music industry,” he says and aptly adds an ode to their fans.

“It’s been close to eight years in the industry for us and we are happy to have ‘Natives’ who have been with us since 2015. Merchandise is a way to celebrate the ‘Native’ lifestyle.”