Thobo Kerekang and Donald Nnoto, a dynamic duo from Botswana, believe that ‘whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve’. They have proved this with their designer label KeNo Custom Suits.
Kerekang and Nnoto say image is everything and people are addressed according to how they look. The designers believe style should match ambition and for this reason they ensure their clients are dressed for success.
KeNo Custom Suits, a name derived from the entrepreneurs’ last names, started three years ago and its success has managed to surpass even their own expectations.
It started as a dream when Kerekang and Nnoto were childhood friends; it is now a reality and referred to as a promising label in the fashion industry.
They set up the business to address the shortcomings of other tailors, such as product quality, time management, service and delivery.
“Many times we were not satisfied with the kind of suits we used to find in shops, they somehow failed to make us stand out. So this drove us to take matters into our own hands,” he says.
KeNo custom designed suits are nothing like the ones sold in stores, says Nnoto.
“They are customized suits that totally bring a new twist to suave with stylish designs and materials. The trendy suits, whose stylish designs quickly enhance one’s image, are made from different materials,” he says.
The suits scream style while also personifying ambition. Their clothing has caught on in Botswana.
The duo’s success is even more remarkable since neither had much experience in fashion design. Kerekang and Nnoto yearn to be the best bespoke tailors in Africa.
“We wanted to change the way people look and appear because the respect one gets anywhere is based on their appearance. Another thing is that if you look good, you feel good, thus increased confidence,” says Kerekang.
Kerekang explains that style is an individual’s identity and thus differs from person to person.
“When a group of men stand together wearing suits, ours should be easily identifiable; the cut, fabric and design and we believe a good suit can brighten anyone’s mood and day,” he says.
They want to revolutionize the way people dress.
“Before you say anything to anyone, your appearance has to say it all. It can either say good things or bad things, thus people need to be cautious when choosing their clothes,” says Kerekang.
KeNo offers suits for all occasions, but, whether their designs are formal or casual, they must create a lasting impression.
“We embody the desires of the client through involving them as part of the suit-making process to deliver a product that is not only good in appearance, but is also a part of them. It is not just the suit we sell, we sell the experience,” says Nnoto.
Through perseverance, KeNo Custom Suits has continued to grow since its launch. But Kerekang and Nnoto are not going to wallow in their success; they aim to spread their brand to the rest of Africa.
KeNo Custom suits has connections across Africa and has recently partnered with businesses in Zambia.
“We are in the process of establishing more partnerships beyond our borders and growing the brand. Our plan is Africa, the world is next. We are here to create wealth but most importantly a legacy,” says Kerekang.
With demand high and many women feeling sidelined, the pair introduced a ladies line.
“We now cater for every individual that takes their appearance seriously and in the future we are going further than suits – shoes, shirts, watches even glasses,” says Kerekang.
The entrepreneurs’ determination is striking.
“We are inspired by many successful businessmen and women who have made it in life but come from humble beginnings,” they both say.
Soon, others could be inspired by them. – Written by Kgomotso Molelekeng