When Chase Sithole was faced with the daunting reality of unemployment, he decided to start a laundry business rather than sit and wait for a job. His bet paid off as he has worked with international sports teams and even the Springboks!
This unique journey started when Sithole had just returned to South Africa from China, where he was teaching English, and had to grapple with the job crisis that affects a startling 66.5% of the youth.
The Pietermaritzburg native has an honours degree in drama and performance studies from the University of KwaZulu, but had to put his teaching career on hold to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.
Sithole, who describes himself as very domesticated, saw an opportunity to make a living and took his chance and ran with it. “I have always been fascinated by laundry. I bought the machines, put them in one place, and then started doing laundry and it just grew from there,” he said.
He bought a laundromat in Umhlanga and taught himself how to run it with the money he had saved from his overseas work and the help of his generous family. However, he experienced growing pains at the inception of the business.
“I was not very clued up about the business, so I did have some setbacks in terms of how to manage the finances, stock taking, making sure that the clients’ clothes were not damaged, and more. I eventually got the hang of it.”
Sithole added that one of the many lessons he had to learn was also how to be more responsible in managing his finances. He now has three employees who work for him.
He even landed the Springboks gig by reaching out to the team and informing them that whenever they are in Durban, they can swing by to get a fresh wash on their clothing.
“I had to prove myself, and I showed them that I had also worked with international teams, handled the workload, and did a good job. It actually ended up happening successfully.”
According to Sithole, a lot of successful ventures start with introspection. He encouraged those who want to start a business to first look at what interests them and the things they have a passion for and which they could do for a long time.
“Doing what you love will make it easier in business and you will put more effort into making it a success. We owe it to ourselves as young people to get out there and think on the spots, go with what our gut tells us in creating opportunities for ourselves and others,” said Sithole.