Tsonga: Adrian Maree

Tsonga: Adrian Maree

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Tackling competition from mass producers in India and China is almost impossible unless your brand offers something special. Locally-manufactured shoe brand Tsonga knows this better than most.

The brand’s business-through-community-investment model and unique African-ness helped to set it apart when the market was being swamped with imports.  “Our niche is the Tsonga story – it forms the heart of our brand. We believe that the world is ready for brands that mean something on a human level,” says founder and business owner Adrian Maree.

Tsonga has also learnt that being a niche brand built on meaning doesn’t preclude you from running a volumes-based business. The newly launched Tslops range appeals to the more price-conscious consumer. Tslops are made by grassroots container-based manufacturers, most of whom are women in rural or under-resourced areas. “It’s a business that depends on large volumes in order to be successful, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise your brand or your quality,” says Maree.

Vital stats

Player: Adrian Maree

Company: Tsonga

Launched: 1999

Contact:+27 (0)33 387 9200;tsonga.com

Juliet Pitman
Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.