From having no shoes to owning a shoe brand, Sehoana turns poverty into a success story

Lekau Sehoana, entrepreneur and founder of Drip Footwear, shares his struggles leading to his entrepreneurship journey. In 2019, he started his footwear brand, which is taking the country by storm.

Sehoana was born in Limpopo. His parents divorced when he was two years old. He was raised by his single mother with whom he moved to Alexandra Township as she was seeking employment. Later on, they had to move to Ivory Park, where they settled in since 1994.

Sehoana said his mother had three children to look after, with him being the last born.

“We were very poor, a mother of three in a tiny shack, depending on family handouts and eating at friends’ houses. Clothes and shoes were the last thing on our minds.

“We only could think of food. Not being able to get new clothes meant I had to depend on people handing me shoes and clothes, and, sometimes, they were bigger and I had to learn how to sew and make them beautiful or wearable,” said Sehoana.

Sehoana added that in 2003, while doing Grade Eight, they were asked to come to school dressed casually, and as a poverty-stricken teenager, he had to make a plan to also try and fit in with other learners.

“I saw an old ripped Adidas sneaker. I took the ripped parts out and remained with the sole. I redesigned the sneaker using denim jeans and polyurethane. Those sneakers became a hit and people loved them to bits.

“So between 2003 and 2004, I was making sneakers with my hands and selling them. I managed to turn my pain into profit.

“I continued making them until late 2006 because in 2007 I was doing matric. Between 2007 and 2019, I studied civil engineering, worked at a construction company, did my research on professional shoe making and finally came up with this product.”

In July 2019, Sehoana launched Drip Footwear with 600 pairs which sold out within six weeks.

“We launched one-coloured shoes, which were pink. Now, we are on 1200 pairs of multi-coloured shoes.

“I am currently in talks on opening two shops in Pretoria and Joburg. We are moving into a new office and warehouse in Midrand between December and January, making official employment available.”

Sehoana added that his story does not begin with him not having shoes and ending with him having a shoe brand.

“It ends with me designing school shoes that will be given back to the community in public schools right now. “Each pair of sneakers bought will contribute into making school shoes, which we call Drip with Education,” said Sehoana.