Head Honcho Spurred Business Growth with Strategic Partnerships

Head Honcho Spurred Business Growth with Strategic Partnerships



Vital stats

  • Company: Head Honcho
  • Player: Nick Kaoma and Mzoxolo Gcwabe
  • Est: 2008
  • Contact: info@headhoncho.co.za
  • Visit: www.headhoncho.co.za

After launching Head Honcho at Cape Town sneaker, streetwear and graffiti supply store Shelflife, and thanks to clever collaborations with brands such as Miller and Play, and reciprocal relationships with brand ambassadors AKA and Lulo Café, Head Honcho became the first local brand to be stocked at high-end street style fashion boutique Shesha and Sportscene sneakerwear outlets all over the country.

It has become the voice of ambitious South African youths who aim to ‘live progressively,’ says head Honcho co-founder, Nick Kaoma.

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Brand collaboration is a strategy that Kaoma and Gcwabe rolled out after starting the business with no funding. While Kaoma was still working, he saved half his salary every month and used the cash to make T-shirts.

The two founders made a decision to grow their brand by hosting high-end experiential events and getting local music stars and DJs dressed in über cool Head Honcho gear to be their brand ambassadors. Today, income is generated equally by retail and events.


“Our partnerships with big brands are a key contributor to our bottom line,” he adds. “Companies like SA Breweries, Brandhouse and Distell sponsor our events, we sell the tickets, and we use these gatherings to display our apparel.

The brand has grown phenomenally as a result. It’s also distributed by several independent stores and two online retailers in Nigeria. The plan is to expand it further into South Africa and across the whole continent.”

Harnessing social media

In addition to using eventing to drive brand awareness, Head Honcho has an impressive social media presence, with more than 15 000 followers on Twitter and 20 000 on Facebook. It’s not hard to see why. The brand’s tweets are fun and engaging, targeting trendy and motivated young South Africans.

“People have an emotional experience when they interact with our brand,” Kaoma says. “For a brand to become amazing, you have to connect with your target market in ways that resonate with them, and that’s what we have done right. It’s not about clothing, it’s about inspiration — and we’re talking to a whole generation in a language they understand.”

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Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.