A founding member of the Mall of Thembisa Kasi CoLAB is now a tenant in her own right.
Originally opened in November 2020, the CoLAB is a space for local design entrepreneurs to gain access to market while collaborating with their peers.
Through the power of local skills development and upliftment in retail spaces, local township brands were given the opportunity to trade from the Mall of Thembisa rent-free for a period of 12 months. The ultimate goal being to become fully-fledged independent tenants.
Clothing and accessory brand Pozie has both achieved and exceeded this goal.
Since 2020, Pozie has matured into an independent retail option, able to sustain its own store and was awarded a 12-month subsidized lease at the mall at TRIS in October 2023. TRIS, the township retail investment summit, is an annual thought leadership event that believes in the township space and the future of its entrepreneurs.
Pozie was born as a result of its founding member Yvette Raphael’s drive to create a legacy for her children. The brands success in the CoLAB and Yvette’s obvious passion ensured she was able to take this next step in her retail journey.
From its roots as a mom and daughter team making and selling face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic, the brand has now dressed world-famous activists, stars on the Canadian red carpet, government officials and customers across the globe.
“We have monitored Yvette’s financial growth over the past 3 years and it is evident that her continued success demanded that she take her business to the next level. Now, with her own store, in the most prominent central part of the fashion run at the mall, she has the platform to fly as high as her dedication and dreams take her,” says CEO of Exemplar, Jason McCormick. “Her spot in the CoLAB will be awarded to a new up-and-coming local design entrepreneur.”
Renowned for its use of Ankara (traditional African print) material, Pozie has become a full-service clothing brand - from the design process all the way through to manufacturing with a team of local seamstresses creating casual wear, formal attire, kids clothing and accessories.
The growth of the brand in such a short period, despite the challenges of a pandemic and the July 2021 riots, is a testament to its market relevance and appeal.
“At the start of this adventure, it was me, my mom and my daughter making and selling everything, now we are proud to have ten employees including salespeople and seamstresses. It is incredible to be a part of creating employment opportunities and playing a role in improving the lives of others,” says Yvette, “and we are only just beginning.”
“It is an honor and an inspiration to have been a part of Pozie’s journey,” says Jason. “We knew from the moment we met Yvette that she had something special but her success has exceeded our expectations. We believe this is just the start of the Pozie journey in our portfolio and look forward to playing a continued part in its growth as both a tenant and a brand.”
“A retail space of my own is proof that anything is possible,” says Yvette. “Pozie is the manifestation of positive thinking, hard work and passion. Alongside my own journey, I am passionate about creating a platform for other female entrepreneurs and plan to #ReferHER to uplift and upskill the next generation of female retail potential”.