Registered local clothing labels and branding companies are complaining about the rising number of illegal traders who are stifling the growth of legitimate Batswana owned labels.
It┬á has┬á emerged┬á that┬á these┬á illegal traders┬á are┬á operating without registering with the┬á Registrar┬á of┬á Companies.
Godwin Koboyankwe, Managing Director of local clothing label, Achivas Wear, told this newspaper that the playing ground between legitimate traders and unregistered ones was not even. This is because the latter were cutting corners in selling their labels.
Koboyankwe said while registered labels like Achivas Wear operate under registered contract standards, which they are bound to comply by, the illegitimate traders are free to use any means to get their brands sold.
┬á“We┬á vowed┬á to┬á conform┬á to┬á high┬á quality┬á standards and┬á therefore┬á go┬á as┬á far┬á as┬á South┬á Africa┬á to┬á buy┬á high┬á quality┬á merchandise,” said Koboyankwe. “On┬á the┬á other┬á hand┬á unregistered┬á companies┬á which┬á are┬á not┬á legally┬á bound to any standards buy┬á low┬á quality┬á merchandise┬á at┬á nearer┬á places.”
He said as a result of enjoying these illegally obtained ‘economies of scale’, the unregistered traders are able to sell their labels at lower prices, thereby disrupting legitimate brands. These┬á traders┬á are┬á now said┬á to┬á be┬á winning┬á over┬á customers┬á of┬á registered┬á companies. ┬á┬á
Godson┬á Tshipietsile┬á of┬á Bee┬á Phly┬á Clothing┬á Labels┬á and┬á Branding┬á said┬á┬á these┬á companies┬á make┬á quick┬á returns┬á through┬á any┬á means┬á regardless┬á of┬á quality┬á standards, then quit the industry after they have made their cash.┬á ┬á“They never exist for a long time,” he said.
Ministry of Trade and Industry Public Relations Officer, Kitso Mosiiemang, said the ministry was unaware of this problem, but declined to deal with the query further without permission of the permanent secretary.
Koboyankwe said they would seek urgent government intervention to protect them from these traders.┬á “The┬á government┬á should┬á formulate┬á specific┬á and┬á firm┬á legislation┬á to┬á protect┬á legal┬á clothing┬á labels┬á and┬á┬á branding┬á companies┬á in┬á Botswana,”┬á he added.┬á
The┬á entrepreneur┬á said┬á some┬á legal┬á companies,┬á which┬á have┬á been┬á selling┬á quality┬á labels have now resorted to also start┬á buying┬á low┬á quality┬á clothing┬á to┬á cut┬á the┬á costs┬á and┬á sell┬á at┬á a┬á price┬á similar┬á to┬á that┬á of the illegal┬á traders.┬á “Professional┬á growth┬á of┬á the┬á industry┬á will ┬áremain┬á a┬á mirage┬á until┬á the┬á government┬á enforces ┬áspecific┬á rules,”┬á Koboyankwe added.
Asked┬á how┬á the┬á traders┬á get┬á the┬á unregistered┬á labels┬á printed┬á on┬á clothing┬á and┬á sell, Kudzai┬á Rutsate┬á of┬á Silver┬á Clouds┬á Holdings,┬á specialising┬á in┬á print┬á and┬á design┬á of┬á clothing┬á labels,┬á said┬á the┬á traders┬á pretend┬á they┬á are┬á printing┬á for┬á personal┬á use,┬á such┬á as┬á for parties┬á and┬á crews.┬á
In a bid to curb the problem, he has started restricting the orders for clients claiming that they are doing it for personal use to a minimum of 10 clothing items.