A young man by the name of Keletso Kgwebe who hails from Tswapong East in Lecheng has taken it upon himself to care for peoples shoes to carve a living. After completing his studies in 2002 he tried his luck at different businesses but later realised that his passion lay in washing and repairing shoes.
He named his shoe laundry business Deva Shoe Care and registered it in early 2012. “I love working with people, sharing business ideas and life issues,” says Kgwebe. His inspiration to get into the shoe laundry business was also due to the lack of jobs and also the need to help people who needed their shoes to be in good condition. “What I love most about what I do is cleaning and fixing shoes to the point that my customers become happy after a job well done,” he says.
On average he washes and repairs about ten pairs a day. Some days he gets a single customer bringing about seven pairs of shoes. The most popular shoes he works on are sneakers and Timberlands. “I clean shoes with a specific brush and a special chemical which removes dirt and stains,” He tells Arts & Society. He advices customers not to leave their shoes in the sun to dry as this will damage the shoes.
Deva Shoe Care like any other business has experienced challenges. Kgwebe states that some customers take time to collect their shoes once repaired, which in turn costs him money, storage space and time. Sometimes when business is slow, he struggles to generate money to stock materials needed for his business. His relocation of his business from the Main Mall (Gaborone) to New Stance has resulted in the loss of some clients.
“I relocated to Francistown for about two months after my sister’s tragic death, hence I could not continue with my business, and when I returned the place I was using had been occupied by someone else,”explains Kgwebe. He says one of the advantages about his line of business is that not many people are into the shoe laundry business so competition is relatively low. Kgwebe wants to expand his repertoire to making leather shoes. “I went to Pilane to learn how to make shoes and what is needed to make a complete product,” he says. He also believes he can make leather jackets. “My wish is to open a shop and a factory in the future.” Kgwebealso washes leather and suede jackets, sofas, mats and car seats.He hopes to one day be able to create employment through his business.