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Business Unusual podcast with Theo Baloyi, CEO of Bathu Shoes – a proudly South African success story stepping into Africa

In our podcast this week, Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media speaks to Theo Baloyi, Founder and CEO of Bathu Shoes – a truly South African business success story.

Fiona Wakelin

While living with his uncle in Alexandra, Theo completed a BCom Accounting degree and went on to work in South Africa for two years and then the Middle East. It was during his time in the Middle East that the 30-year-old accountant-turned entrepreneur saw a gap in the sneaker market. He noticed that on a global level there was something missing – an African sneaker brand portraying an authentically honest African story.  After months of researching and conceptualising, Bathu was born in 2015, launching 100 pairs of Mesh Edition sneakers to the residents of Alexandra, Soweto, Thembisa and Midrand. In 2016 after releasing another 400 pairs, the Bathu website crashed a mere four hours after the announcement of the release. To say the brand took off would be an understatement.

Key takeaways to listen for in this podcast include:

  1. From selling shoes out of the boot of his car to succeeding in 2020 when so many businesses were struggling to survive – what is Theo’s recipe for success?
  2. How to tell a proudly South African story.
  3. The importance of working capital, authenticity and patience.
  4. The benefits of winning an award.
  5. How to scale a business successfully.

More about Theo

While 2020 saw him winning the Top Young Achiever Award, 2019 was a huge year for Theo and saw him winning the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the South African Business Premier Awards, the Advance Media Most Influential Young South African in Business Award, the Sanlam & Partners Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award as well as landing a spot on the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30. 

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