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The drip footwear brand: managing a successful start-up launch and rapid expansion during Covid-19 pandemic

Steven Zwane (Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria , Johannesburg, South Africa)
Motshedisi Sina Mathibe (Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria , Johannesburg, South Africa)
Anastacia Mamabolo (Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria , Johannesburg, South Africa)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 12 January 2022

Abstract

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to: describe the entrepreneurial traits required for successful business venturing; evaluate the entrepreneurial risks associated with a rapid business expansion in the early start-up phase of an entrepreneurial venture, especially in crisis; select and defend appropriate management systems that will contribute to the sustainability of a business post the crisis and rapid expansion; and evaluate the online social media optimisation strategies.

Case overview/synopsis

In July 2019, Lekau Sehoana launched branded sneakers called Drip. It took Lekau six weeks to sell the first 600 pairs of shoes from his car boot, not having applied any robust marketing strategies. During the interactions with customers, it became clear that there was a demand for a new South African sneakers brand. In December of the same year, he manufactured and within a few days, sold 1,200 sneakers. This rapid achievement was enough confirmation for Lekau that there was a need for locally manufactured and branded shoes. Based on this success, Lekau started to consider the launch of his own business. However, during the process of the formal launch, the world was suddenly experiencing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the planning stage regarding the mode of operation and the full business launch, in March 2020, South Africa was placed into the Covid-19 Alert Level 5 lockdown, complicating the decision-making process even further. Despite the extremely severe lockdown regulations that lasted more than a year, in May 2021, Lekau had already managed to open 11 stores in reputable malls and sold hundred thousands of his sneakers. This instant success, putting pressure on the manufacturing ability, distribution and costing structure, led to Lekau becoming concerned about having grown and still growing too fast too soon during a pandemic. His concern was what would happen when the country would move back to normal, without the constraints caused by the lockdown, would he be able to sustain the growth and how would he achieve this, and how would he be able to manage the fast-growing venture?

Complexity academic level

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, General Management and Marketing courses at the Postgraduate Diploma and Masters level.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CCS 3: Entrepreneurship.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognisable information to protect confidentiality.

Citation

Zwane, S., Mathibe, M.S. and Mamabolo, A. (2022), "The drip footwear brand: managing a successful start-up launch and rapid expansion during Covid-19 pandemic", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 12 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/EEMCS-06-2021-0196

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited Bingley, United Kingdom

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