Honchos run the streetwear game

2015-04-05 14:30

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One of the key global trends in fashion at the moment is streetwear.

Over the years, we’ve seen numerous streetwear lines come and go. Arguably one of the most successful brands in South Africa has been Head Honcho, founded by former publishing man Nick Kaoma six years ago.

It was recently announced as one of the new brands that would be available on Spree.com for the autumn/winter season.

Kaoma explains: “Spree approached us about six months ago, wanting to retail our summer range, but it was too late. Spree has an ambitious plan to grow online retail and is currently very womenswear focused, so it came to Head Honcho [for men’s attire].”

All three current Head Honcho ranges – including the collaboration with rapper AKA that sold out a few weeks after its first release, the accessory line with collective Cashtime and the main Head Honcho range – will be made available on Spree.

Kaoma says the partnership is a long-term one in line with Head Honcho’s strategy.

“One of the reasons we’ve managed to stick around is that we don’t do gimmicky partnerships. We want retailers and partners who understand what we are doing,” he says.

I ask how big the streetwear market is, and Kaoma says: “It’s hard to pin down exactly, but it’s certainly a multimillion-rand market. Our client Sportscene has just opened their 200th store in the country and 99% of what they sell is considered streetwear. There is also Shesha and other independent stores, so the market here is quite big.”

Kaoma adds that Head Honcho’s market share is difficult to ascertain, but the company is in 25 of the existing Sportscene stores and holding its own against bigger international brands, such as Nike and Adidas.

“When someone walks into a Sportscene and he or she has R500, we are competing with Pharrell Williams’ latest collaboration with Adidas.”

In addition to strategic partnerships, one of the key drivers of Head Honcho’s success has been its lifestyle offering. Head Honcho is one of the main players in the entertainment space, and its parties, such as Stay Fresh Saturdays, draw large numbers.

“The Honcho lifestyle group was actually a necessary strategy. When we started, we had no marketing budget, and I used to fund our business with half my salary from my publishing job. So one of the ways we decided to market was to do one gig a month.

“Eventually, the events were a hit and people were coming whether or not they were rocking the gear,” Kaoma says.

.?Head Honcho is sold at Sportscene and Shesha stores nationwide. Visit headhoncho.co.za for a full list of stores

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