8 June 2023
From the Desk of Executive
Director, Nerisha Jairaj


As we continue our journey forward, raising awareness that the South African industry is still thriving post-covid, we encounter new opportunities and challenges that test our industry’s resilience once again.

As you all know, trade show funding for SAFLEC and its members has been absent since March 2020 until our first trade show in October 2022. However, we are delighted to announce that we are back in action and fully engaged in promoting our industry on the global stage.

Table of Content

Topic 1:

In June 2023, ten exhibitors from the footwear and leather goods sector showcased their products during the Fashion Footwear Market Week in New York. Through collaborative efforts with EFLC and Footwear Plus, pre-event marketing attracted extensive readership among USA retailers and the South African Embassy in New York. The event also featured a buyer’s wine tasting to draw buyers to our South African showrooms and a daily raffle with sponsored gifts by manufacturers, encouraging buyers to visit all the showrooms. These innovative approaches proved successful, resulting in a concluding LC of 20 million Rands for Footwear and sales of nearly a quarter of a million Rands in Leather goods.

Topic 2:

Our first exhibition in South Korea was met with great success. South Korea is known for innovative fashion and pop culture trends, and the demand for ethically designed South African products stood out. Ten South African exhibitors with niche ranges presented their offerings, and the learnings from the market will guide us in presenting better products in the future. The show concluded with sales of approximately R 200,000 on stands, and exhibitors reported potential sales of around R 2.4 million.

Topic 3:

Re-entering the EU duty-free market since covid posed initial uncertainties about how the EU market would respond to South African products. However, to our pleasant surprise, the EU market received South African manufacturers with positivity, resulting in positive contacts and sales. A contract signing for game skin and leather products worth Euro 160,000 was concluded.

Topic 4:

Local events aimed at attracting international attention have become a successful strategy employed by the dtic. At the Comrades Marathon Expo, the dtic sponsored the stands for three SAFLEC/EFLC member firms. The expo, attended by 22,000 people and 17,000 runners, provided excellent exposure to the public and international visitors. Members reported impressive sales and networking opportunities, engaging with international visitors from Brazil, Uganda, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.

Topic 5:

Collaborating with EFLC and SAFLEC, Bureau Veritas conducted a webinar training program focused on African countries party to the AfCFTA. The training educated the 20 participating companies on compliances required for country entry. Through the Verigates website, attendees gained access to vital information regarding rules, regulations, and tariffs specific to each country. This initiative aims to make the exporting process to African countries smoother, as Africa remains a priority market for South African exports.

Topic 6:

US Retail: distressing times for footwear retail
Jul 7, 2023, United States

In an environment of widespread destocking, footwear retail sales have been declining since the start of the year in the US, and despite good news such as a continuous moderation in price increases. The problem remains with the rising consumer price index for all categories, whose decreasing pace is not enough to generate an overall positive impact. Consumers are still attending to more pressing needs, and footwear is not on that list.

Topic 7:

Our social media platforms have been hitting record-breaking hits. Our recent campaign obtained over 14,800,000 impressions and over 540,000 engagements, boosted to followers in the rest of Africa, Europe, Middle East, and North America. We encourage you to take advantage of our efforts to promote you. Send us content to push your company and brands. Also like, follow, and forward our links to your contact lists. Let us build the following globally so that we can show the world our capability.

Instagram: @saflec_team
Youtube: SAFLEC 

Topic 8:

SAFLEC/EFLC AGM & Gala Dinner – 16th August 2023

As we move forward, we recognize the importance of re-learning and adapting to global needs, demands, and challenges while embracing new strategies to thrive in the post-covid era.

Best regards,
Nerisha Jairaj Executive Director, SAFLEC