Theo Baloyi is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bathu Shoes, an authentic South African sneaker brand.
In 2009, Baloyi relocated to Johannesburg to stay with his uncle in Alexandra while studying towards his BCom Accounting degree.
He had a goal to walk his journey and make it work, so he continued his studies and eventually graduated as an accountant.
As a qualified Accountant, he was presented with the opportunity of working at one of the top accounting and advisory firms in the world. Based in South Africa for 2 years, and later seconded to the Middle East for 3 years, it was during this period that the idea for his business came to him.
In his travels he noticed that there was something missing – an African Sneaker brand, portraying an authentic African story. So he got to work.
In 2015, after months of conceptualizing, feasibility studies and being rejected by 13 different factories, the Mesh Edition Sneaker was born.
Once in production, and having dealt with the rigorous 18 month processes of design, production, quality assurance and financing related to the Mesh Edition, he founded the business – Bathu, meaning shoes in South African Township language and launched 100 pairs of Mesh Edition to the people of Alexandra, Soweto, Midrand and Thembisa.
The launch went incredibly well and the first 100 pairs of Mesh Edition were sold out quickly. Then in 2016 Bathu released 400 pairs of Mesh Edition which created pandemonium. So big was the release, that the Bathu website crashed 4 hours after the announcement and customers were clambering over each other to get their hands on a pair.
In 2017, Bathu sealed it’s first corporate collaboration with an incubation hub in Johannesburg, South Africa, which led to the release of a further 1000 pairs of Mesh Edition sneakers. In that same year Bathu launched it’s first limited edition Mesh Edition Sneakers in White, which sold out in days.
Bathu then bought it’s first delivery vehicle and opened it’s first store in Newtown, Jozi in 2018. The Newtown store was quickly followed by a second store in the heart of Pretoria, which later relaunched in a bigger space, providing customers with increased capacity and an innovative shopping experience.
From there, demand grew and Bathu has since opened up additional stores across South Africa.