Sling bags by Legendary Leathers.
SIMTHANDILE Mdutyana, 24, of Protea South in Soweto always knew he had an “entrepreneurial eye”.

In fact, he showed great promise while still in school when he started selling chickens in 2011. He would buy them live, have them slaughtered and delivered to customers.

However, when he got to matric the following year, he had to focus more on his studies, which also meant attending extra classes on Saturday.

Mdutyana says after he matriculated in 2012, he took a gap year before volunteering at Global Jewellery Academy, a non-government organisation.

There he tutored physically disabled people in basic accounting skills and business management.

Simthandile Mdutyana, founder of Legendary Leathers.

Back to his entrepreneurial designs, he knew he wanted to do something, he just wasn’t sure about what that was until he recalled how genuine leather belts were something that was valued and appreciated among those around him. In fact, his own leather belt was a great source of pride.”

Spurred on by this, he realised it was something he could turn into a business - and so the idea for Legendary Leathers was born. This was three years ago.

He offers, “The quality is genuine. People used to stop and ask me where I bought my belt. And I saw that many people loved genuinely strong things and Legendary Leathers gives them the quality they want.”

Bag by Legendary Leathers.

He continues, “We manufacture and sell leather products ranging from bags to shoes. If you want a bag, you give us a design and then we make it for you.”

While the brand is growing steadily, Mdutyana has ambitions to expand into making suits and perfumes, too.

His aim is to eventually take the brand outside the country and have branches in other African countries.

He adds, “Growing up in Soweto, I always wanted to have my own business one day. Now I do.”

Gladiator sandal by Legendary Leathers.

In the meantime, he’s a final year student for Logistics at the University of Johannesburg.

And as much as he wants to spread his brand, he is also passionate about giving back to the community.

In fact, Mdutyana still oversees a youth programme he started in matric.

Bag by Legendary Leathers.

He explains, “It is a community project of people with different talents. It started with seven people and now has 40 members. The purpose of the programme is to show and motivate young people about their potential in life.”

He adds, “I want to go back into communities, where there are people with skills, and bring their ideas to life.”

Mdutyana doesn’t have his store yet, but is running the business from his home. If you’d like to place an order, e-mail him at [email protected]