My Republik brand under the Leap Holdings umbrella was officially launched last week Friday proving that it is bigger than an idea, it is a way of life. The My Republik journey started in 2010, when Leap Holding realised that it was only through locally manufacturing products, that they could generate economic development to propel Namibia forward.
My Republik Managing Director Aily Angula at the launch said, “I kept hearing that South African retailers do not want to stock Namibian products and my thought was “Oh okay that’s interesting”,the very South African retailers that are renting space. Why then do we not also lease space and provide our own retail shelf space.”
Although the journey started in 2010, the first My Republik outlet opened its doors in October 2014 at the Grove Mall. The store recently recorded a hit N$1 million in sales of which Angula attributes the store’s success to her hard working team.
“As a brand we could not be here today without the efforts of the team. There are days, I will not even use past tense because this happens to this day that as a team we fight, with our tears to make sure that we do the right thing for our citizens and on most days we laugh and experience great joy seeing all come together,” she said.
As much as the retail store is about clothes, it is also an an avenue for creating sustainable jobs as well an inspiration for other Namibians in the manufacturing field. Through their dedication to this dream, 39 permanent jobs have been created and there are plans to increase the number to 100 before the end of the year with the opening of bigger production facility in Witvlei, a town with an unemployment rate of 90%. Also at the launch Prime Minister Hon. Saara Kuukongelwa- Amadhila encouraged the owners of My Republik to continue to work hard and commended their efforts.
“As a non manufacturing country until the birth of My Republik, this was somehow a cause for concern for many adults especially those of us for investment and the impact on our balance of payment because we were concerned that they are just spending on imports. Now that the consumers of fashion products are daring into produce them, I will say to those fashion lovers, go on young ones. This is because their consumption will this time drive local demand, which will promote local production and local jobs. It will also increase the hunger for innovation and entrepreneurship amongst the young Namibians and spare competition amongst them”.
“We continue through our trade policy for access to international markets for locally produced good. I will be happy to travel to America and find clothes from My Republik. It should not only be American and Chinese products here, we should also be out there. We will also use our industrial policy to ensure that you have the space that you need to grow because we know that you have the desire to grow yourself.
You started already by yourself so when you look for government to support using industrial policy to ensure that you have the space that you need to grow because we know that you have the desire to grow yourself. You started already by yourself so when you look for government to continue to support using industrial policy the doors will open without you pushing very hard,” she added.
“We are excited about the future of the brand, we are excited about the future of Namibia’s manufacturing industry. We have a hectic programme for the next 36 months that will see us have the following store roll out; five My Republik stores in Namibia, six in Botswana and four in Zambia. Retailing in West and East Africa, through great partnerships and launching of two new clothing brands,” said Angula.