Bathu sneaker brand founder opens a warehouse in Centurion

Entrepreneur, founder, and chief executive officer of sneaker brand Bathu Shoes, Theo Baloyi, is a reflection of true black excellence. Over a year ago, Baloyi, from Alexandra, acquired land in Centurion and built a warehouse.

At the opening of the warehouse this week, Baloyi said his business started from one brand. It will now be a group company that is going to be a home for many other brands.

“This journey started from a small room in Alexandra township. It culminated in a 11,000 square metre facility. All of this would not have been possible without innovation, agility, and resilience, which are our values,” said Baloyi.

70% retail, group company that will house other brands

Bathu Group is made up of 70% retail, which is where the fundamentals for the business are. Twenty percent is dedicated to financial services, and 10% to licensing. For Baloyi, this will grant him an opportunity to employ more people. In this way he will be contributing to issues of national importance and upskilling the country’s youth.

“We want to build a retail group that supports an actual brand that has a similar story and journey that we have. We want a retail group that people can resonate with and speak to the potential that lies in Africa. The potential that incorporates the diversity of the continent into value systems,” he said.

True African brand

“We are building a business that can be competitive but also homegrown. I started the business to bring the exposure back home. At the time, I had a collection of sneakers. But what was missing was a true authentic African brand that resonated with me.”

He described the Bathu story as more than just a story of sneakers, but a story of owning one’s destiny. Staying true to who you are, persevering, following your dreams, and doing something you are passionate about.

“It’s a story of walking your journey. We are more than just a sneaker business. [We are]  a beacon of hope that each person has valid and attainable dreams. This regardless of background and unfavorable personal circumstances.”

In 2023 he made a move back to his first project of selling fragrances. He launched the third store of his newest business venture, Avenue Exchange. The brand is a fragrance and cosmetics brand.

Passion project

The 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner said he always refers to his journey as a passion project. The shoe designer started by selling fragrances in the streets of Alexandra township. He did this while studying for his accounting degree.

Baloyi then pursued Bathu, before he could return to selling fragrances. The fragrance business was subsequently shut down. But the desire to share the experience of a cosmetic boutique based on his exchanges in the streets of Alexandra did not die.


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