Inspiring entrepreneurship: The Sole Survivors Institute
By Lindelwa Masuku
From preserving heritage to empowering the youth, Sole Survivors Institute, the educational arm of WALK FRESH sneaker care service, is making a positive impact in Soweto, South Africa by teaching valuable business skills and passing on traditional shoe-care techniques. Join us as we delve into their inspiring story.
“Walking a mile in someone's shoes" is a saying that perfectly captures the essence of what it means to understand someone's experiences and struggles.
For the founders of WALK FRESH, a boutique sneaker cleaning and shoe-care service based in Soweto, South Africa, this saying holds a special significance.
They understand the struggles of growing up in the townships and the importance of preserving their heritage and culture through their craft of cleaning sneakers.
Starting a business is never easy, and entrepreneurs face a multitude of challenges, from securing funding to building a brand and establishing a customer base.
However, for the founders of WALK FRESH, their passion for preserving their heritage and culture, and creating a brighter, more inspired community, was what drove them to start their business and overcome any obstacles that came their way.
WALK FRESH is not just a sneaker cleaning and shoe-care service, but a hub filled with possibilities for young people in their community.
Through their business, the founders are able to pass down the skills and techniques handed down by their grandfathers, fathers, and uncles, and provide a space for young people to build and grow together.
They have even launched an institute, SOLE SURVIVORS, dedicated to teaching young people in the townships how to clean sneakers and run sustainable sneaker cleaning businesses.
The founders of WALK FRESH understand that their craft is not just a means of making a living, but a way to narrate their culture and tradition to the world.
"For those of us who grew up in the township, our craft is our medium to narrate our culture and tradition to the world. Eachday we are presented with an opportunity to preserve and to hold on to our Grandfathers heritage of polishing shoes on Sunday afternoons for example. This gives us a sense of belonging and ownership.” - Lethabo Mokoena (Founder)
Their passion to create a brighter, more inspired community informs their business model and brand strategy, and their dedication to preserving their heritage is what sets them apart from other sneaker cleaning services.
WALK FRESH is an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs and a shining example of what can be achieved when you have a passion and a purpose.
By walking a mile in their shoes, we can learn about the importance of preserving heritage and culture, and the power of using your craft as a medium to narrate your story to the world.
Whether you're a young person in the townships or an entrepreneur anywhere in the world, WALK FRESH's story is one that will inspire and motivate you to pursue your passions and make a positive impact in your community.