Refilwe Senoko believes God has great plans for her.
The 33-year-old from Bloemanda kasi in Mangaung said after she was fired from work for not being “creative enough”, she saw it as an opportunity to pursue her dreams.
“I looked at the market and realised everyone was making caps and T-shirts and wanted to do something different.
“I thought about the sneaker industry and realised it was almost impossible to get into,’ said Refilwe.
She said she did her research and God just aligned her with the right people.
She said: “I found a mentor who made shoes. I also went to creative workshops as well as a craft school where I learned some techniques regarding sneakers. I used my hands to make them because I didn’t have a cutting machine.”
Refilwe said she opened her business called UNXpected in 2012.
“After matric I studied Tourism Management at Tshwane University of Technology and project management at Unisa.
“After finishing school I looked for a job but nothing came up, which was a blessing in disguise.
“I now have three permanent staff and nine students who do temporary work,” said Refiloe.
She thanked the Small Enterprise Development Agency for helping her to market material.
“We are busy with my website and we’ve received training in importing and exporting goods.
“This has created opportunities for us even internationally. My company was chosen to represent Mzansi at the China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair last year.”
She said she would also show her work at the Torino Fashion Week in Italy next month.
“My dream is to open my own factory and have my brand in every retail store. I want to create jobs for the youth. I also want to train people whom I will hire afterwards.”