Meet an ex-banker who left his well-paying but monotonous and unfulfilling job to start his own clothing line, ekse.
For many entrepreneurs and creatives, a desire to make a change in the society, or in one’s life starts from an idea that can’t stop recurring until it is actualized.
For one man in Botswana, what started as a small business, barely six years ago, has now become a big dream that has developed to sell its products to three other nations in Africa.
Paul Okaile worked at Stanbic Bank and according to Onneile Setlalekgosi, who wrote on the entrepreneur, his job paid well but was monotonous and unfulfilling.
So in 2010, the entrepreneur left his job carrying with him imagination, a burning desire to succeed and determination to follow his dream, taking a risk in the unknown world of entrepreneurship.
Today, the spirited entrepreneur is the proud founder of the popular ‘ekse’, a clothing brand locally know for both quality and comfort.
From the initial business which started out by selling t-shirts only, ekse has since expanded to include wooden-framed sunglasses, shoes, bottled water, bangles and clothes ranging from jeans to sweaters – and of course, t-shirts.
The ambitious Okaile, based in Gaborone plans to expand his merchandise further. “Very soon I will be introducing ‘ekse’ ladies’ handbags and watches because people have shown a massive interest in the label,” he told The voice.
Already his success story is being experienced by people not only in Botswana but also in neighboring Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, where his brand also sells.
Okaile picked the name from a Chinese colleague he worked with at the bank.
When he mentioned the unusual name to a graphic designer friend, he advised him that it would make a good logo for a clothing name. And thus, it became the name for his business. In South Africa, the word ‘ek se’ is an expression used to seek agreement, or emphasis (literally meaning I say).
Inspired by his advice and a great desire to fulfill his youthful dream, Okaile subsequently started his own business.
According to the ekse creator, his ambition is to expand his business not only to have a chain of stores but also create employment.
“My intention is to own a chain of stores, selling my brand, and employ as many youths as possible.”
Without owning a store, Okaile is limited to supplying local shops in Gaborone to sell his products.
Like many entrepreneurs especially those trying to gain ground, ekse is not without its own set of challenges. Okaile says his main challenge is the competition from well-established brands, both internationally and locally.
But this does not make him miss his step on his journey to success with his business. He is determined to nurture his dream to fruition not only in his country but also spreading out to other nations in future.
An entrepreneurial spirit cannot be shut down; it comes to play at any time in life. When the bug bites the affected go out to fulfill their dreams which most often than not have an impact on the entrepreneurs and the community through the creation of employment opportunities.
Image credit: The Voice
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