'I need R5m' - ‘Skinny Sbu socks’ founder on his business's challenges

Sibusiso Ngwenya says having to take the business, currently in its fifth year, to the next level contributed to what went wrong.

Sibusiso Ngwenya. Picture: @skinnysbu/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Sibusiso Ngwenya, the 27-year-old founder of popular menโ€™s sock brand Skinny Sbu Socks, has spoken publicly on having a successful business go bankrupt.

Ngwenya raised alarm bells about a month ago when he began tweeting of the challenges he is going through in his business and his psychological state as a result.

He said, at the time, that he had had to sell some of his personal belongings to cover some of his costs.

Ngwenya went silent for a while after that, reportedly not answering messages and calls from friends. He then resurfaced to publicly state that he had checked himself into a mental health facility.

He spoke to SABC News recently on the struggles entrepreneurs face when their businesses arenโ€™t doing well.

Ngwenya says having to take the business, currently in its fifth year, to the next level contributed to what went wrong.

โ€œI am dealing with 20 national storesโ€ฆ from my pocket and I have to feed that animal. The bigger the business grows, the more it demands of your money to speak to a national audience.

โ€œI have to make the socks myself, I have to design them, I have to distribute them, I have to market them and that is a very expensive exercise.

โ€œIโ€™m not selling a product people necessarily need."

Ngwenya says that what his business needs at the moment is money to sustain it.

โ€œYou know what small businesses need? We need money. We need the government to create an environment for us where we are able to easily access money.

Ngwenya says he has failed many times in business, having accumulated debt worth R800,000 at the age of 23 and currently needs millions to keep going.

"I am angry at everybody and I'm hungry and I want more and I can't hide it anymore... 2019, to keep the business up and be profitable, I need a cash injection of R5 million."

He says he would like to see his brand being available in big retail stores across South Africa.