Former diplomat, life coach and bespoke leather couturier, Mongezi Zithutha, creates incredible items with his bare hands to bring quality, class and elegance to his customers. This high-end designer somehow still manages to remain humble and grounded despite having travelled and lived such a unique life so far.
After years of working as a diplomat in the International Relations department, Mongezi Zithutha, also known as Mongs’, has always loved leather goods such as belts, shoes, bags etc. travelling and working closely with other diplomats, he noticed how good quality leather goods were appreciated and being that they had tailored suits and outfits, leather items polished the look. This was where his journey to creating incredibly crafted, hand-made bespoke leather bags took centre stage.
Using a machine to make the bag will not make the bag as strong as it should be. Having no choice but to use a single thread, it’s not hard to see why he prefers to do it by hand. IT’S ALL ABOUT QUALITY.
Even though the bags are made by hand, Mongs’ plans to keep it as exclusive as possible by creating 2 bags a week and using the rest of his time coaching. Did I mention this former diplomat turn designer is also a life coach. At such a young age, the experience and wisdom he has, makes him favourable as a life coach. Inspiring people to follow their heart by following his heart is testament to how he walks his talk.
Mongs designs and creates his bags in his studio dubbed, ‘The JOHN -Z- STUDIO’, which he named in honour of his late grandfather John Zithutha, his first childhood hero.
While working, he started learning how to create leather bags in his spare time. Mongs fell in love with the process of designing and creating a bag with his bare hands instead of using a machine.
Hand laced bags are more durable and last a lot longer than those made by machine. Using only a single tool, making the holes by hand deters the leather from any damage and tearing that might occur during manufacturing. Then using 2 needles he saddle-stitches the bag using thread with bees wax. This keeps the bag intact for longer.
Even though it takes 1 ½ days to complete just 1 bag, it is worth it to get the quality and durability anyone will love and appreciate.
It’s been a gruelling journey from the start, he had many grand ideas of what he wanted and how to bring it all together, however once he began, he had to then scale down quite a lot and just focus on making the duffle bags. Mong’s Ztuta has been working on perfecting his craft and developing different patterns to gauge what works for him and what doesn’t.
Mongs jokes about still being traumatised about having to carry a laptop everyday as being the biggest reason he quit his job, that’s why laptop bags aren’t his favourite to make.
Currently he enjoys creating duffle bags most. Making smaller bags such as women’s handbags takes twice as long with all the intricate details and many compartments, that’s why he prefers to create bigger bags. This allows him to create bags that men can use too.
Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
“Just be patient.”
Patience doesn’t mean don’t start. Start but be patient with the process. Don’t think it will be easy and it will be an overnight success. Don’t try read everything on entrepreneurship because it will only confuse you. Just take a leap of faith and see what happens. Learn from your mistakes.
If you would like to know more about JOHN-Z Studio, contact them via:
JOHN-Z Studio unit C16
Phone: 072 293 3362
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