Nic Haralambous at his Nic Harry kiosk in Cape Town's swanky Waterfront. (picture supplied)
Nic Haralambous started wild/crazy/luxury sock company Nic Harry from his bedroom to prove a point – you can start a lucrative business in a short time with almost no money.
Haralambous had only R5000, yet he turned a small profit after a month.
He chose his product carefully so he could utilize the internet to access the whole world.
“I specifically wanted to get into e-commerce,” says Haralambous.
“I didn’t want to accept returns and I wanted a light product that could ship cheaply to anywhere in the world.”
Stand out from the (boring) crowd - no new wardrobe required!
Socks – daring, brightly pattered ones – was the answer for the fashion conscious serial entrepreneur (Nic Harry is his 11th business – he’s done it all; from student news to being in a band).
“Your socks are a way for you to stand out without getting a new wardrobe. I wear long pants that I roll up!”
Picture by Andiswa Mkosi.
Designed and made in beautiful, marketable Cape Town
To keep costs down Haralambous designs all the socks himself.
The socks are made in Cape Town from a bamboo fibre he imports from China.
“We produce in South Africa purely for business reasons,” says Haralambous.
“People want to buy a Cape Town sock! Cape Town, as a brand, is absolutely marketable!”
The human traffic at his outlet in Cape Town’s Waterfront – Africa’s most visited tourist attraction, he points out – proves his claim.
Tourist after tourist stops to, at least, look at the riotously patterned, brilliantly coloured socks proudly produced in the breathtakingly beautiful city they paid top dollar to visit.
R200 for a pair, yet they’re flying!
Nic Harry’s socks, at R200 a pair, even for a boring black one, don’t come cheap.
Haralambous, however, is quick to point out the value of the premium bamboo fibre.
“It’s very comfortable and soft, antibacterial and absorbent,” says the always- selling Haralambous.
Today, just over three years after that first profitable month, Nic Harry has three shops (including the online store) that sell more than a 100 000 pairs of socks in over 20 countries around the world.
Nic Harry shop assistant Clarence Mpofu. (Picture by Andiswa Mkosi)
The future looks patterned and brightly coloured
“I want to have 50 stores! And I want to do that in the next three to five years,” announces Haralambous.
“I admire Elon Musk, because he doesn’t care about money. He doesn’t say, ‘I want a billion dollars,’ he says, ‘I want to save the world!’
“I’m not changing the world, but I make people feel good.
“And I’m changing my world as well as the world of the people I employ.”
Nic Haralambous knows a thing or three about starting a small business with almost no money. He offers this advice…
Bruce Whitfield interviews Kirsten about his 30-year-long career and his new franchise concept, Keith Kirsten Garden Centre.
Meet the inspirational Luvuyo Rani, Social Entrepreneur of 2016. Learn about his fascinating business and the lives he’s changing.
The Red Army liberated Auschwitz - Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp – on this day, 72 years ago.
Valerie Pole took R1000 and turned it into an extremely profitable business (and then wrote a book about it).
She couldn't sew, and didn't have much money, yet Fernanda Morrow created a wildly successful fashion accessory business.
Bruce Whitfield interviews "Dr Eve" Wasserman about her attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc).
Got a spare R200 or R300 a month? Here’s how to make that money work hard and grow…
In 2001 Naspers invested $32 million in (then tiny) Tencent. Learn more about the wildly profitable Chinese behemoth...
What does the wealthy executive who once lived on streets, selling fruit, believe about money?
Warren Ingram discusses his new book in which he shares practical ways for ordinary people to achieve financial freedom.
Each week Bruce Whitfield interviews a famous person about her or his attitude to money. Enter the powerful Phuti Mahanyele...
Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?