The journey of the David Tlale brand is 18 years in and we are going stronger. From multiple New York showcases and various global showcases across the African continent. As a South African brand that stands for luxury and sophistication, to servicing clientele of a certain caliber has always been about showcasing African luxury to the world. And importantly educating the world that African glamour is on par and sets the standard for global glamour. I have always been passionate about fashion even though I started off within the Accounting space at first. I decided to venture into fashion education and get the qualifications and skills required for me to become the absolute best in my field; Ensuring that I become the top scholar and going on to become Creative Director for House of Monatic. The business and passion of creating beautiful clothing began via my mother’s home to where we are today. Early 2011, for the Autumn/Winter Collection at Jo’burg Fashion Week, I presented my quintessential “Made In The City” Collection in celebration of the 92 years of Nelson Mandela’s life, I sent 92 models down Nelson Mandela Bridge used as the runway on what was deemed the longest ramp in the history of South African fashion. In 2014 March 22, I also launched “The Intern by David Tlale” at the Mercedes - Benz Fashion Week Jo'burg in collaboration with Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Government. Tracking back, In 2009 I was awarded Fashion Designer of the year at the Africa Fashion Awards in Johannesburg. From South Africa to the rest of the world the David Tlale brand isn't just a powerhouse with my latest nomination being for African Designer of The Year at the Glitz Africa Awards and showcasing the street - stopping Azania Collection in Times Square, New York. Instead, a trendsetter for the fashion ecosystem or space.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Some of the biggest hurdles have been ensuring consistent growth but we have always collaborated with amazing brands that convey the same messages as our ourselves. What we have to offer to the world is the uniqueness and our narrative stands out from the crowd. Becoming a leader hasn't been easy as the world wants consistency in creation, concept and all round narrative. If you want it enough, you will put in the work that is necessary for you to reap the results.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
The books that I am currently reading that I would definitely recommend to other entrepreneurs:
1. No Limits – John C. Limits
2. Standout – Marcus Buckingham
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Yes. At first my own mother didn’t believe in her son designing clothes. That did not deter me from my dream and with time she saw that this was what I wanted to do and also the success came with it. She gets to wear some of my beautiful garments.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I will always attribute my success to hard work but more especially God. My faith has made myself and brand David Tlale unshaken. Every time when its seemed impossible God has always provided us with insight.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I have made and learnt from my mistakes and I would not change anything about it. The lessons made us better and the mistakes made us stronger.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
The advice that I would give to upcoming entrepreneurs is that, the journey won't easy but believe in yourself and the offering that you provide. Then everything will fall into place.