JOHANNESBURG – An innovative businessman is on a mission to unite South Africa through his invention that he wants to take across Africa and to the world.
Luvuyo Ndiki, 28, is the founder and chief executive of lifestyle brand Red Cup Village, which he established in Cape Town in 2014.
The company uses 3D printing technology to manufacture a unique drinking cup using a polylactide filament, which is a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources such as sugarcane and cornstarch.
The signature red cups are very popular in hip-hop culture.
Ndiki says the idea to start the business struck him while he was still a student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where he graduated with a communication degree and a national diploma in 3D Industrial Technology and product design course.
He says Red Cup Village was inspired by a story his grandmother told him about a woman in the 13th century.
“This African lady united two rival village tribes by inviting them to a gathering where she made them drink from the same wooden cup. Without realising it, the two kings started sharing the same cup, which made them share their cultures, visions, beliefs and created unity in the village, says Ndiki.
Ndiki says his brand story has always been about bringing people from different cultures together and creating social cohesion.
“It’s not just a cup, but a lifestyle. We are building a global lifestyle brand through innovative concepts and premium products.”
Ndiki says his company is the first to re-introduce the renowned red cups into the African market in 2014 when it used to brand cups with stickers.
This was before the company started looking towards creating a sustainable product for the environment and stimulate green economic growth in the country by producing local products from recycled plastics pallets.
He says the company now has three registered design patents with pending international trademarks.
Ndiki says Red Cup Village is a fully fledged creative agency offering individuals and brands with consumer experience for their product design, branding, event management, activation campaigns and digital engagement.
He says the agency aims to empower young people to a lifestyle of unity, friendship and discovery.
“Red Cup Village wants to change how our South African racial history has divided this beautiful country and make it the hub of innovative people and diverse cultures. We want to make everyone drink from the same cup as one nation,” says Ndiki.
“We want to be on the forefront of bringing people together in this new South Africa by putting their racial differences aside.”
He wants to turn his company into a global brand.
“We want to expand our tentacles into Africa because Africa is booming. We feel that there is so many untapped markets in Africa,” he says.
“We want to take over Africa first and then expand to the rest of the world because we don’t see ourselves as a small brand.”
He admits that it has not been an easy road.
“When we launched in 2014 we sold over 800 cups, which were imported from China. We put our stickers on them.”
In 2016 more than 6000 cups were sold.
“That’s when we started to see that we were growing as a business and wanted to come up with new ideas.”
Ndiki says more than 4000 outlets across the country, including nightclubs, restaurants and even festivals, stock their famous red cups.
- BUSINESS REPORT