Monday, April 15, 2013

Source Africa Trade Show: Africa is rising

Africa is the world’s next sourcing destination, was the message of the recent Source Africa trade show and seminars in Cape Town.

Among the more than 150 exhibitors were several country and South African industry stands that promoted the manufacturing capabilities of their industries to the more than 1 000 registered visitors, including top international retailers.

Peter Sunderland of Fram/Wayne and Miles O'Brien of Jordan & Co at SAFLEC
Peter Sunderland of Fram/Wayne and Miles O'Brien of Jordan & Co were part of the SAFLEC exhibit

During business seminars organised by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the benefits and challenges of manufacturing in Africa were discussed, and some solutions offered.

There is growing testament that South Africa is a future destination as a market and there is a growing interest in doing business in this part of the world, said Steve Lamar, executive vice-president of AAFA, whose members account for 75% of the apparel sold in the US. 

Steve Lamar of AAFA, Joshua Setipa of Lesotho National Development Corporation, Mark Cairns of Maersk and Philip Krawitz of Cape Union Mart
Steve Lamar of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), Joshua Setipa of the Lesotho National Development Corporation, Mark Cairns of Maersk and Philip Krawitz of Cape Union Mart during a AAFA business seminar.
The Chinese domestic market is growing so fast — at 7% per annum — that Chinese factories will eventually only have the capacity to manufacture for their own market, predicted Philip Krawitz.

Apparel manufacturers of South Africa (AMSA)
The Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa stand was popular
“According to an IMF report 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Sub-Saharan Africa — after Asia, Africa is the fastest growing region. Our time IS coming!” Lionel October, DG of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) told delegates. After years of reporting job losses, the South African apparel industry for the first time reported a growth of 12 000 jobs. 

Dylan and Travis Ludlow
Albertina Bay, Dylan and Travis Ludlow introduced the Albertina Bay softwear for retailers, including the latest footcount technology
Apparel and textile are identified as priority sectors in the recent Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Industrial Policy Action Plan, with several incentives to grow the sector further.

And South African companies have the ability to make the most advanced technical textiles required — including for the sport and outdoor markets, said Tony Wardle, COO of Gelvenor Textiles, whose KwaZulu Natal factory have ISO 14001 certification for ethical and sustainable manufacturing.

Hans Lourens Rudolf Chemicals factory
Hans Lourens (middle, facing) explain the benefits of the finishes supplied by his Rudolf Chemicals factory for technical textiles
Since 2009 African apparel imports into the US has grown 550% to $270-bn in 2011 — creating 300 000 jobs in African factories, said Erica Barks-Ruggles, Consul General of the US in Cape Town. African imports into the US has grown from $2.1-bn to $4.5-bn due to AGOA, and major retailers like Gap, Levis and Walmart are already importing textiles from Africa, she said.

The speakers did, however, acknowledge that there are many challenges for international manufacturers sourcing from Africa — for example, the long distances to the European and American markets, the time to market, in many instances outdated equipment and lack of training of workers to use the latest equipment, and the problem of getting foreign currency out of some countries. That is why trade agreements like AGOA with the US are still vitally important for African countries.

Adrian Rouhy and Vinesh Valjee of Solar Sportswear
Adrian Touhy and Vinesh Valjee of Solar Sportswear manufacturer.
While several factors that hinder fast turnaround times can only be changed by government legislation, there are many things that are in manufacturers’ power to control, said Philip Krawitz, Cape Union Mart executive chairman.

International brands can also be assured that African manufacturers are under international scrutiny to ensure ethical and sustainable workplace practices, representatives from several international agencies explained. Partner Africa promotes good work practices across Africa, Better Work is active in factories in Lesotho, while Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production does unannounced inspections to ensure compliance.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

The shirtless wait is over, latest Springbok "Bok" jersey unveiled on the ultimate #Bokday

Canterbury GM Du Toit Botes, Arnold de Villiers, Springbok Jean de Villiers,
Phillip Emslie and Kobus Potgieter of Sportsmans Warehouse
Despite cold weather Springbok rugby players, SARU officials, Canterbury staff and members of the press gathered at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town on the 11th of April to witness the unveiling of the new official Springboks jersey - one day ahead of the Ultimate Bok Day (12 April 2013), when the jersey was unveiled to all Springbok supporters. The theme of the night was: heritage, honour and passion – these are the ideals the new Bok jersey represents.

“Sport provides hope in our country, especially rugby,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU. He believes that they have managed to produce a jersey that will give the Springboks an edge – the brightness of heritage and the best of their future coming together in a great product.

The jersey signifies a “Heritage” that dates back as far as 1981, a year that saw the Springbok team wear their first of green and gold colours. The Springbok colours would still be able to unite a nation a hundred years later, said Du Toit Botes of Canterbury SA, who explained what the shirt means to them as a company and the pride he feels being a part of the launch of the first Springbok jersey since 2011. 

Rugby veterans Pierre Ribbens (left) and Deon Oosthuizen (second left) with Du Toit Botes (second right) schools equipment buyers Bennie Botes (right) and one of the organisers (middle) pose with the Bokkie mascot 
The new jersey “Honours” the green and gold colours worn by the players before and those currently worn by the country’s national rugby team. The “Passion” displayed by the commitment from celebrities and ordinary supporters to go topless until they receive their shirts, was astounding to Botes - the last six weeks covered a nationwide movement of people pledging to go topless, leading up to the ‘Ultimate BokDay’ on 12 April 2013.

Botes being interviewed by local press

In their efforts to produce a high quality jersey, Botes says that not a single stone was left unturned in terms of materials - Canterbury has created a seamless jersey from a blend of fabrics. The shirt features a body-mapping fit with a Loop 21.1 neckline. 

The jersey has a watermark of a Springbok on the chest (on the heart); this is in an effort to decrease counterfeit jerseys being sold as originals. 

“As our new banknotes carry a watermark, so our supporters will carry the Springbok embossing on their chests. Previously, the embossing was only found on the back neck of the Springboks’ Test jersey. For the first time ever, the supporters will carry the mark on their chests,” says Botes.

“The embossing will also be a clear indication of authentic jerseys and our unified fight against crime. Pledge your support to the Springboks and buy original.”

Bryan Habana, Jeannie D and Janez Vermeiren from Top Billing and Jean De Villiers
 having a closer look at the watermark on the new Springbok jersey

After official speeches, the Castle Guard was out in uniform, welcoming players like Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Eben Etzebeth and many more.

The castle guard
“Representing South Africa is a dream. Playing with guys you look up to is definitely something special,” said Lwazi Mvovo.

Travel and Top Billing presenters Janez Vermeiren, Jeannie D,  Siv Ngesi (actor and comedian) and Jean de Villiers (Springbok captain) were modeling the new Springbok jerseys. They believe that the new jersey will one day have a legacy that is great.

Comedian Siv Ngesi (right), ETV presenter Lukhanyo Nkalatha and Bokkie Mascot (left) were quite eager to pose for a picture

Silence, followed by celebratory music, filled the square as the much anticipated official Springbok jersey was unveiled.

The Bok jersey design was unveiled to the crowd

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Two Oceans Expo venue a success

Exhibitors and visitors were very happy with the new venue and electronic registration process for the 2013 Two Oceans Marathon Expo, which took place 27-29 March. The pre-race expo was this year hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the first time.

Every year the largest running-related expo in the Western Cape serves as both the official registration point for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and an opportunity for last minute shopping for the thousands of runners who entered the marathon. 

With over 45 000 visitors attending the expo, it is a popular exhibition area for retailers and suppliers alike with exhibitors offering fitness assessments, expo-only specials on their products, etc.

Race technical sponsor, adidas, made the most of their prime position at the entrance to the exhibition area to show case their latest technology, Boost, proudly on display with their eye catching yellow (associated with the Boost launch). They also had their #myjourney commitment wall where people could write messages.
The Athlete's Foot
Cape Union Mart

Sportsmans Warehouse

The Sweat Shop
Apart from last-minute shopping from retailers like Sportsmans Warehouse, Athletes Foot, Sweat Shop, Drifters Extreme Sport and Cape Union Mart, representatives from 27 footwear and clothing brands explained new technologies and showed their latest running styles. Among the top running shoe brands showcasing new ranges were Asics, Brooks, Inov-8, Mizuno, New Balance, Puma, Saucony, Vibram FiveFingers, Vivobarefoot, and many more. Running-related gear like Buff from Adventure Inc, Polar heart rate monitors, Thule racks, ranges from four eyewear companies and 13 sports nutrition brands, catered for all the needs of the runners and their supporters.
Buff and Osprey, distributed by Adventure Inc

Asics, distributed by Jordan & Co

Brooks, distributed by SBR Agencies

New Balance


Inov8, distributed by Rebel Elite Fitness

Saucony, distributed by Omni Sport

Skins and Mizuno, distributed by Super-Brands

Vibram FiveFingers, distributed by Branded Footwear & Clothing Co

Vivobarefoot, distributed by Native Sport

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