S1 E11 Imbo Creations – Proudly Sowetan

Imbo Creations
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Imbo Creations – Timeless, bespoke leather pieces

Imbo Creations was started in 1975 as a means for Mbali’s mom to earn a bit of extra income, but also to keep her love for creating beautiful, timeless pieces for friends and family. However, it was only when Mbali, decided to quit the corporate life and join Imbo full time that is became an official company, in April 2016. They have a vision of making proudly Sowetan items to be sold across the globe, building networks across the African continent and empowering fellow Sowetans along the way.

The textile industry in South Africa began to die in the early 2000s as cheaper products flooded the country, but what organisations such as Imbo want to do, is rejuvenate the industry, by appealing to those who want high quality products made in South Africa.


Imbo baby shoes Imbo clutch

Show Notes:

Look out for insights into the following:

1. Imbo’s backstory:
Mbali takes us through her Mother’s journey and the eventual creation of Imbo Creations.

2. The benefits of a business accelerator:
Imbo Creations has been fortunate enough to be enrolled in the JCCI export accelerator, and they have learnt so much in the few months that they have been there.

3. South Africa’s textile industry:
South Africa had a successful textile industry up until 10 – 15 years ago, when the Chinese textiles entered and out-priced incumbents, but it looks like it is making a come-back.

4. Mbali’s journey:
Mbali is an extensive CV, with experience in the legal world to recruitment, operations and consulting.

5.The leather process:
Imbo uses leather that they get from Tannerys in South Africa, including snake and cow skin, amongst others.

6. Managing the dynamics of working with your mother / daughter
Imbo creations is a family business, but it Mbali didn’t always work there. So they have had to adjust their relationship.

7. Branding your company
Imbo’s name and brand is intricately linked to their purpose.
8. The isolation of entrepreneurship
Mbali has found it to be isolating, but within that isolation she has found herself.

9. JCCI Business Incubation
Imbo has been included in an export business incubator at the JCCI and it has really helped them to focus, given them support and created an important network with other entrepreneurs.

Significant quotes:

“I could go on about this, and that for me is the biggest reason why I decided actually I’m going to do this full time.”
“I don’t have to pay school fees on stuff they’ve already experienced.”

Links Mentioned:

Imbo Creations Facebook
Imbo Creations Instagram
JCCI export incubator

About the author, Charlotte

Charlotte, or Charlie as she likes her friends to call her, is what you would call a multipotentialite or a jack of all trades if you must. She been an auditor, an English teacher, a consultant, an executive assistant and product manager. She loves to read, watch shows, learn, tries to exercise, eats a lot, travels and tries out new things.

Entrepreneurship excites her not only because of its capability to bring joy (read freedom) to entrepreneurs, but also because it can vastly improve a country or continent for the better.


  1. Nomfundo Khabela Komba on November 28, 2016 at 13:50

    Stunning interview. Mbali’s passion is palpable. Onwards and upwards

    • Charlotte Luzuka on December 5, 2016 at 11:21

      It is palpable Nomfundo. I cannot wait to see where she and Imbo Creations go 🙂

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