Andile Cele founder of DOPEStore
Starting DOPEstore in 2009 I wanted to create a space where the youth could express themselves creatively; a shopping space where I could feel comfortable in and hopefully create the same space for like-minded people.
Back when the sneaker culture was really raw and young, I wanted to champion that sub-culture, and I want to believe that is what I’ve done over the years. The DOPE brand has evolved over the years to what it is now; a lifestyle space, where we share our creative ideas with the world.
Starting with a physical store as opposed to starting with an online store has always been my plan. I needed a product that I could use to influence other young people with – hence DOPEstore; it has always been an influential brand; from the type of sneakers we were selling, the staff that worked there, to the events, and the people that wore our clothes. The one common thread about all these elements has always been the influence or influential individuals which are in involved with the brand.
There are so many highlights; from working with all the brands we’ve been lucky to work with over the years, plus the advertising campaigns that we’ve been involved with; most from a cultural point and not clothing or fashion. This has just been a blessing, and has showed us that we are on the right direction as a brand. But the biggest highlight has been showing our collections at various fashion weeks because that’s the future of the brand, where we create and influence directly, that for me is the next level; taking over on a global level.
I recently collaborated with The J&B Hive. It was a great platform, and I wish more young people can see this as something beyond the financial assistance which they use to make their ideas a reality. The Hive have has created an ecosystem for entrepreneurs to connect all these people and help them sustain their businesses. To me that is something BIG, simply because the opportunities are endless. The POP-UP store we did together is on the level I want to do all my projects from now on. The support I was given by the J&B Hive Johannesburg team for that project shows me where I need to be if I want to maximise my brand and execute my ideas on a high/global level.
I will forever be in support of the Hive because I feel that I need to set an example to the people that will collaborate with the Hive in the future and I will forever be an example of how you can maximise the resources given to you by The Hive.