Given Matlou is one gifted lady from Alexander who crafts handmade products. We had the opportunity to hear from her about KONO AUTHENTIC and its journey.
Tell us about KONO AUTHENTIC?
Kono Authentic is a South African brand that designs and
manufactures, in house, a wide range of bags, belts, wallets, phone and
tablet cases, and other accessories. We, mainly, specialise in genuine leather, but we do
use other fabrics like canvas, denim, felt, etc.
Kono Authentic was established in 2013 by Given and Simon Monaise as a
result of our love for good quality leather goods, and our passion for
Our name was derived from a Setswana word: Kono Kono, meaning, “the expert”.
Give us a glimpse of your journey to entrepreneurship?
In 2012, while I was still employed full-time, I went and did a course in
leather crafting. As I continued working, my patner and I started saving money
to buy the tools, material and equipment required to start, and we saved some
more to keep us going after we resigned to start this venture.
It’s been a challenging and an overwhelming journey, but enlightening nonetheless. Agencies like The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and Proudly SA have been helpful. Recently, the DTI has come on board to assist as well.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the simplicity and quality of old school (vintage)
leather feel. The stuff that would be passed on from generation to
generation; that never goes out of style.
Where do you see your brand in the future?
In future, I see Kono Authentic as a preffered manufaturer of
premium leather goods in South Africa and the world over – like Frank
Clegg and Mulberry. I also see us having a training school in this
What advice would you give aspiring designers?
Find out what it is that you are passionate about. Start educating
yourself about it by reading, doing a course or getting info on google, and
just start doing it. Never stop learning; read and attend serminars. There are
agencies out there geared at helping entrepreneurs for free. Get out there
and make your mark.