“I have spent the last ten years building start-ups, failing, learning and succeeding.”
Words on marble by Nicholas Nic Haralambous, Mobile Specialist, Fashion Designer, Start-Up Consultant and Entrepreneur.
When Henry Ford said, ’Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, and this time, more wisely,’ he may have been referring to Nic Haralambous.
The South African graduate of Rhodes University has been named as one of the 200 young South Africans to take to lunch by the Mail&Guardian, featured on GQ’s list of top 30 men in media and was also a finalist in the Men’s Health Best Men Awards.
In 2010, Nicholas resigned his job at Vodacom in Johannesburg, convinced there was more he ought to be doing with his skills and entrepreneurial leanings. He co-founded Motribe, a Mobile Community Platform with Vincent Maher, also a former Vodacom employee which was subsequently named by Forbes as one of the top 20 start-ups in Africa in 2012.
In an interview with humanipo.com Nicholas disclosed their winning formula:
“I think the driving force behind Motribe was the team we employed as well as our willingness to hustle. Entrepreneurs in Africa know how to hustle to get things done. You do whatever it takes and we were good at that. We also secured some key relationships that generated some solid revenue. We had our problems. Cash flow is always a problem for a young business. But at the heart of it, we hired “A” people and this is a winning recipe.”
Success has many admirers, and soon after, Motribe entered into partnership with Mxit, a social networking platform which needed their expertise and savoir faire. The partnership transmuted into a profitable acquisition in 2012 and for Nicholas, it was time to apply his enterprise to other ventures; the employee suit was an unsuitable fit for him.
Nicholas decided to take advantage of the burgeoning e-commerce market in Africa and killed two birds with one stone by finding expression for his more fashionable side.
He founded a niche online site that sells a range of quirky colourful socks for men suitably dubbed NicSocks.
“I got tired of paying a fortune for imported socks and I knew we could do it cheaper and better locally, which is why I started the business. But I also set myself a goal. I wanted to see if I really had entrepreneurial chops, so I gave myself two months to build and launch an online business.”
The socks are locally sourced, designed and manufactured. They’re made of silky, durable bamboo and each design is limited to a few hundred.
According to entrepreneurmag.co.za Nicholas established his Start-up in six weeks. He spent R5 000 on designing, manufacturing and stocking the first batch of socks and sold 800 pairs in ten days at R99 a pair!
To quote Nicsocks.com:
“NicSocks are made from bamboo, designed in Cape Town and made in South Africa. We couldn’t be more proud of that fact.
At NicSocks we believe that socks are the foundations of style, so they are only made from the finest Bamboo fibres, all grown and refined right here in South Africa.
Manufactured in Cape Town, NicSocks are packaged by hand with much care before they are wrapped up and sent to you. When you receive a pair of NicSocks in the mail, you don’t just receive socks. You get the foundations of style. NicSocks designs are all limited-editions. We do limited runs of each design, and when they’re sold out, they’re sold out.”
Socks are the foundation of style? Who knew?
Made from Africa, in Africa, by Africans! That’s the part that has me believing!
Nicholas writes on business and assists brands, agencies and businesses with ecommerce and mobile strategies and training. He is also a TEDx Speaker and I daresay his story is far from finished!
What goals have you set for yourself? What brands are you set to create? What ideas are you set to revolutionize, forever?
Learn. Think. Act. Repeat.