WORDS: CHRISTINE DOUGLAS IMAGES: SUPPLIED
Soweto-born jewellery designer and manufacturer Nqobile Nkosi has opened a new NQ Jewellery factory at the Rand Refinery Estate in Germiston, representing successful business growth from a humble start in his first 3m X 3m “factory” built of tin in Soweto in 2007.
In 2009, NQ Jewellery won a community award that enabled Nkosi to build a four-room facility in Soweto, which was the company’s home until the move to Rand Refinery.
NQ Jewellery’s new 200m2 premises employs eight people, as well as interns from universities and FET colleges. The company designs and produces custom-made, high-end jewellery that retails at various outlets around the country, including Bryanston Organic Market, Tourvest retail outlets at airports, and at Shishangeni Lodge on Kruger National Park’s border.
According to Nkosi, opportunities opened for his business when he was crowned Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016. “Through the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur platform, we launched our first corporate division, designing, manufacturing and supplying high-quality items such as key rings, cuff links, jacket pins and trophies. This led to our incorporation into the Rand Refinery Supplier Development programme.”
Nkosi also gives credit for his business success to his partner, Jerry Nkeli, the first black paraplegic person to qualify as an attorney and the founder of Jerry Nkeli & Associates law firm, who invested in NQ Jewellery and is chairman of the company.
NQ Jewellery maintains a strong local focus, using only local raw material, which include silver, gold, platinum, coloured gemstones and diamonds, and employing local artisans and designers. Nkosi notes that this is significant as up to 80% of jewellery sold in South Africa is imported.
“These past few years have been an educational journey that’s enabled me to understand the two different worlds of art and business, and how they can work together. It will always be an important lesson in my life – and one I will continue to learn,” concludes Nkosi.
In your hood: Germiston
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