CHIPINGE - A clothing manufacturer in Chipinge town has managed to remain afloat despite an influx of second-hand clothes that find their way into the district through neighbouring Mozambique.
Ladlink Investments trading as S&H Uniform Centre, which is one of the leading manufacturers of sportswear and uniforms in the region, is implementing innovative ways to survive.
The company says it has managed to survive the harsh economic conditions that have seen many other businesses in the sector closing by thinking outside of the box.
Ladlink Investments managing director, Samson Mashaka told Ministry of Industry provincial officials Cloudiuos Makwindi and Donnybrook that the business switched to uniform-making which has no competition from second-hand clothing dealers.
“We used to manufacture all lines of clothing and we operated a clothing shop in town but due to stiff competition from second-hand clothing, we switched sides and began to focus only on school uniforms,” said Mashaka.
He said he was glad that the business was able to continue equipping itself regardless of the various periods of economic turmoil especially during the hyper-inflation of year 2008.
“When most clothing manufacturers were closing their operations, we took the opportunity to buy their machines and equip our factory. It required a lot of capital but we sacrificed the little we had to buy the machinery,” Mashaka said.
The factory started with two humble sewing machines but it now boasts more that 20 units that include more advanced sewing machines as well as embroidery and fabric printing equipment.
“We employ ten permanent workers who have fashion and fabrics qualifications. We also hire casual labour if demand is high,” said Mashaka.
He bemoaned the high rate of duty that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) levies on machinery imports.
“In order to attract more players in the garment-manufacturing industry, I urge government to revise duty on garment-making machinery. The 40 percent duty that is currently being charged is prohibitive to the growth of this industry,” Mashaka said.
Picture: Samson Mashaka (left) leads Makwindi and Sanhanga during a tour of his factory.