Shilongo Leather Namibia - Buy local, grow local economy!
PUBLISHED 31 OCT 2018
Shilongo Leather Works was started in 1986 by Mr. and Mrs. Shilongo - a formidable husband and wife team. Mr. Shilongo discovered his talent for leather craft during the colonial time while he was working part-time after school at a small backyard upholstery small company. During his time there he learned how to work with leather through constant practice and playing with leather crafts.
At first, he produced small products such as wallets and key holders which was made on order for clients. He quickly saw the need for other leather products and with the help of his wife, he expanded his products. Working to produce the products fell into the capable hands of Mr. Shilongo, while his wife would sell the one-of-a-kind crafts at the market.
Karin with her daughter Annabelle and Mr. Shilongo [Photo by @ShilongoLeather]
The products started selling fast and with this more raw materials could be bought to produce even more products. Over the years the small enterprise grew into the proud Namibian company it is today.
The journey has been one marked by hard work, self-reliance and their faith. The family affair continues today with the children of the husband and wife superteam now also working here. Thomas (The general manager), Naftali (The production manager), Fina (The HR manager) and Jonas (The Warehouse manager) all continue to help grow the business with the work ethic their parents instilled in them.
MyPropertyNamibia: What is #Project100 all about? (Why did it start?)
Thomas: Initiated by Job Amupanda and Shilongo Leather, #Project1000 aims to boost consumer support for locally produced products. Our goal is to sell 1000 pairs of our veldskoene products to not only grow as a Namibian manufacturing company, which benefits local employment and pride in Namibian produced products but also opens up the minds of Namibians that veldskoene is a fashion statement and not just a farmer staple.
Dr. Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Global Health Leader & Ambassador working with the World Health Organization, supporting #Project1000 [Photo by Job Amupanda]
MyPropertyNamibia: Do you believe that black vellies by Shilongo Leather is more comfortable and more durable than commercialized school shoes?
Thomas: Yes, our black vellies are more comfortable and more durable! We have a proven track record since our inception in 1986. Customers have commended us on how comfortable our shoes are - they are light and durable! Each product comes with a lifetime warranty - doesn't that speak volumes about the quality and durability?
Since we are a local manufacturer we also believe we can offer a much affordable price on our black vellies for school shoes and once both private and government schools allow for black vellies to be included in their dress codes, we will be able to meet the demand.
We believe black vellies will give our Namibian nation schools countrywide a good look and feel, instilling a sense of national pride by wearing a Namibian made shoe.
We are hoping to become one of the suppliers in our school uniform industry providing nothing but the best quality shoes for all learners from kindergarten, grade 1 to 12.
This could also trigger exports to neighbouring countries.
MyPropertyNamibia: Do you think this will make a change in the local economy if people supported more local suppliers and manufacturers, like yourself. Instead of importing it from i.e. South Africa?
Thomas: Yes, this will have a significant positive impact on our economy because local businesses will grow and start to export to other countries which then turns the wheel around on us being the ones to import. It is clear that it is much more expensive to import than to buy local.
Importing also means you are feeding other countries with your resources (money) instead of injecting your own country and letting it circulate in your country! It is impossible to have zero imports but where you can produce local take that step!