‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

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.

His secret?

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.”

--

Enter your email address in the form below to receive a newsletter containing the seven most-read articles of the week from Bruce Whitfield’s The Money Show every Friday morning in your inbox.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
How to overcome the fear of failure (and other tips from a serial entrepreneur)

How to overcome the fear of failure (and other tips from a serial entrepreneur)

Nic Haralambous knows a thing or three about starting a small business with almost no money. He offers this advice…

Meet Keith Kirsten, guru of gardening and world-renowned horticulturist

Meet Keith Kirsten, guru of gardening and world-renowned horticulturist

Bruce Whitfield interviews Kirsten about his 30-year-long career and his new franchise concept, Keith Kirsten Garden Centre.

How a single township internet café grew into a nationwide IT franchise business

How a single township internet café grew into a nationwide IT franchise business

Meet the inspirational Luvuyo Rani, Social Entrepreneur of 2016. Learn about his fascinating business and the lives he’s changing.

Auschwitz concentration camp liberated on this day (27 January) in 1945

Auschwitz concentration camp liberated on this day (27 January) in 1945

The Red Army liberated Auschwitz - Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp – on this day, 72 years ago.

How to turn R1000 into a thriving business

How to turn R1000 into a thriving business

Valerie Pole took R1000 and turned it into an extremely profitable business (and then wrote a book about it).

How to start a business with R20 (and no experience)

How to start a business with R20 (and no experience)

She couldn't sew, and didn't have much money, yet Fernanda Morrow created a wildly successful fashion accessory business.

Popular articles
10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

Vaal Dam about to reach 100% capacity

Vaal Dam about to reach 100% capacity

A few months ago the dam was only 27% full.

Confrontations between Somalis and locals, police fire rubber bullets

Confrontations between Somalis and locals, police fire rubber bullets

The #ForeignerMarch has turned violent. Police had to use stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

M&G reports that Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane declared an intergovernmental dispute against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Violence breaks out in Atteridgeville amid #XenoMarch

Violence breaks out in Atteridgeville amid #XenoMarch

Tensions are high in Atteridgeville as a group calling itself Mamelodi Concerned Residents prepares to march against immigrants.

Where is that corrupt bastard? - EFF MP to Brian Molefe

Where is that corrupt bastard? - EFF MP to Brian Molefe

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe was sworn in as a Member of Parliament replacing Abram Mudau this week.

Mashaba says violent Jozi@work protests in Joburg Council orchestrated by ANC

Mashaba says violent Jozi@work protests in Joburg Council orchestrated by ANC

Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba has condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms and says he will lay charges.