THE MOTHER CITY
The Struzzu story begins in Cape Town. The Mother City, as it is colloquially known, was established after Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 as part of the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town's strategic position as the halfway point between Europe and Asia meant that prior to the opening of the Suez Canal, almost every ship involved in the spice trade docked at Cape Town to resupply.
Cape Town is the economic hub of the Western Cape province, South Africa's second main economic centre and Africa's third main economic hub city. In 2014, Cape Town was also named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph. The city was recently named as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa, with Capetonians pursuing business opportunities almost three times higher than the national average.
The CEO and founder, Juan Beukes, has always had an entrepreneurial mind. Over the years he started several businesses. Some were more successful than others, but he was never deterred by challenges or failure. He studied Fine Art after leaving school and incorporated his creative flair in all his business ventures.
Over the years he developed a keen interest in web design, web development and e-commerce. He initially dabbled in affiliate marketing, before deciding to focus on building his own online store.
Choosing what product(s) to sell proved to be quite difficult. After months of deliberating and careful consideration it became clear that he would focus on the export market, and that the ideal product would be uniquely South African. Ostrich leather ticked all the right boxes, and so Struzzu was born. The Company was registered at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, in 2016.
OUR FIRST STORE
Instead of catering to the demand for ostrich leather goods from the local tourist industry, we decided to reach the international market through e-commerce. Our first online store featured a variety of locally made ostrich leather products. These products, including handbags, wallets and belts were supplied by local manufacturers. Back then we did not manufacture any of our own products.
To offer a unique product or service is important for any business. This is of critical importance in the world of online shopping, where customers have access to a vast amount of options. To stand out of the crowd is never easy, and to create a product that is truly unique doesn’t happens rarely. We realized that our online store would have to offer a truly unique product of high quality to become successful.
Working with local manufactures to produce the unique product range that we envisioned proved to be extremely challenging. Most manufacturers that we approached were simply unable to produce the products we required. Eventually we found two companies that agreed to a sampling process. After several months and numerous product sampling attempts we came to the conclusion that outsourcing the manufacturing process was simply not a realistic option. The long lead-times and poor quality samples were unacceptable.
The question now was: would we succeed where others have failed?
OUR SUCCESS STORY
It is often easier to follow in someone’s footsteps than creating your own path. Trailblazers and pioneers are the ones who take risks, have self-belief and possess an unwavering determination to overcome obstacles and difficulties in order to reach their goal.
Our vision to create a product range that’s truly rare and unique has finally come to fruition. The Trailblazer Collection is the result of a lot of hard work, frustration, perseverance and passion. This achievement does not mark the end of the journey, it's just the beginning.