ShapeShifter

Big Blue is edgy, proudly African and unique. Meet co-owner James Robertson…

(Click here for more "ShapeShifter" articles such as this one.)

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviewed James Robertson, co-owner of funky/edgy – and totally unique – clothing retailer Big Blue.

James Robertson - in an attempt to escape corporate life - co-founded Big Blue as a popup flea market store in 1986.

Big Blue works predominantly with local designers and manufacturers.

Big Blue uses locally milled and recycled fabrics (and supports craft groups such as the Hillcrest Aids Project, Diepsloot Crafters and Topsi Foundation).

Consistently amongst Big Blue’s biggest sellers are t-shirts showing pride in being African.

Scroll down for quotes from the video and audio below.

We now have 22 stores.

James Robertson, Big Blue

Do what your customer wants.

James Robertson, Big Blue

You can’t study cash-flow. You’ve got to feel it!

James Robertson, Big Blue

Our first real shop was in Centurion.

James Robertson, Big Blue

Our provocative stuff came after we moved into real shopping centres. We had to carve out our niche.

James Robertson, Big Blue

Lately we’ve had to be very careful not to offend anybody. Religion, race - you've got to stay away from it.

James Robertson, Big Blue

South African icons can be divisive.

James Robertson, Big Blue

‘I are wearing a jean pant’ was a competition winner.

James Robertson, Big Blue

We’ve invested heavily in information systems that tell us very quickly if something is working or not.

James Robertson, Big Blue

We sell a lot of Borat mankinis!

James Robertson, Big Blue

All our garments, with one exception, are locally produced with local fabric.

James Robertson, Big Blue

All the brands we sell belong to us.

James Robertson, Big Blue

I would like to have a store that is piss-elegant. But the reality is people don’t spend R30 000 on a dress.

James Robertson, Big Blue

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