KBG’S NYALI WEAR GOES GLOBAL
The saying, “charity begins at home” has been an inspiration for Gospel rapper cum businessman Kelvin Before Gumbi (KBG) in his quest for global dominance with Nyali Wear.
Back in 2015, KBG did a song “I am from Malawi” which had him wear one of the first I am from Malawi sweatshirts in the music video. Later at Ufulu Festival 2015, a person approached KBG and said: “I want that sweatshirt when you are done with your performance.”
“When people saw the sweatshirt they wanted it and that became my first sell leading to the rest of the story. I pushed for this because it represents me being Malawian and honestly a lot of people have been proud of this idea and have bought it as a sign of their identity. I am talking both in Malawi and outside” he recalls.
According to KBG, “I am from Malawi” is the backstory for the newly established “I am from Africa” under Nyali Wear Brand.
“Firstly, I have always loved my identity as a Malawian and it always pricks me when people say that Malawi is no place to stay which I think it’s a lie. There is more to this country, we are beautiful and rich. It’s just that we have been slow in realizing it. There is gold here despite the fact that it is hard to succeed or make strides,” KBG comments on I am Malawi tag.
He adds: “We had to start from Malawi and then Africa and then beyond. I always want to be a step ahead so what you see today is not final, it is a step to something else that is coming. In the meantime, we have t-shirts and other printables in this I am from Africa brand but we will be revealing one by one.”
But, why Nyali Wear?
“I named it Nyali Wear because I wanted it to reflect back to Nyali Muzik which is the main idea from which all of these other ideas are born from. The inspiration came from scripture, Matthew 5:14 which says: “We are the light of the world, so as the light we supposed to shine”, hence Nyali Wear is here to say shine while you wear it,” KBG explains.
KBG realized he could make business from selling branded T-Shirts. He recalls: ” Whenever I was performing on stage, there was always someone who wanted to buy my Nyali Muzik branded shirt after seeing me wearing it. This kept happening show after show.”
KBG reveals that he never robbed a bank or accessed a loan from any financial institution. All he had was his family and friends who supported him when he made the first branded Nyali Wear T-Shits. It was friends like Liwu and the whole Nyali Muzik squad who motivated him to pursue this business venture. Something that was designed to be worn on stage turned out to be a big business for KBG as most people loved the product .
He says: “It is still a great feeling till now. I am still learning a lot but I am glad we are still progressing.”
Quizzed on the brand’s uniqueness, KBG responds: “It is unique because it is attached to the Urban culture. Our country has a lot of youths and our brand is targeting those ones.
“Also, it is unique because we have God as the center of our business. We want what we produce as Nyali Muzik to be excellent and to point to God hence Nyali. In the next Five years, expect the unexpected, let me just say we are exploring ways on how to make this brand global.”
Commenting on competition, KBG added: “It is true that there have been a lot of brands of T-Shirts coming out on the market. . But, most brands come out because they think it will also work out for them seeing that Nyali Wear is selling. They forget that we have other things that we do apart from merchandise. For instance , there is the music side of things that makes our merchandise very special.
“The fact that we can sell our merchandise at various concerts really sets us apart. Honestly I do not worry because we already have a fan base from way back that we sell to. These other brands can only become a competition to worry about if they manage to steal our fan base which can only happen over the years.”
He further stressed that Nyali Wear exists because of the music, saying without music there couldn’t have been Nyali Wear brand.
“There is a great relationship between the two. Recently, we have been dressing artists in photoshoots like suffix and music videos like liwu in “Broken Jenes”. So the music helps push the brand that way,” KBG clarifies.
He, however beamoned lack of ready markets saying, there are too many challenges in Malawi.
“Firstly, its hard exporting the products since we have no legit channels of shipping our products outside of the country because we are getting mad love and support.
“Mostly, Malawians in and out of Malawi are the ones who buy, it’s just now that we have foreigners interested in buying as well and that is a joy to me. Most of our products are universal, anyone can wear them. Our focus is the Urban person. We do more upper clothes like long tops, t-shirts, bomber jackets and other accessories like bags etc.”
He further recalls: “First weeks and months my focus was not on sales but the passion and the happy feeling of seeing people buy these things off me. So that happy feeling when someone buys is what kept me going. So I could say the sales were slow but reasonably made me happy. Business is always about ups and downs, so yeah I have had moments I thought I should quit but just that one person coming to buy kept me moving.”
KBG’s passion is limitless as he sees challenges as a big motivation for Nyali Wear growth.
“My dream is to see a lot of foreigners who come to Malawi buy Nyali Wear as a souvenir and proof that they we’re here. So far, it’s happening and it encourages me that the brand is good enough that even foreigners are acknowledging. I want to have everyone in the Urban scene thinking Nyali Wear when they want to shine out here be it in a music video, photoshoot or just in the streets.
“I am pushing towards having a medium to allow us export our merchandize without hustles and partnering with online shops so that everyone in the world can order and purchase our stuff. Right now it’s baby steps but I know it will happen eventually.”
As a family man, the Christian rapper hailed family support in achieving his dream.
“My wife has seen everything grow to where it is now and for her to let me fill the house with zigamba, the sewing machines and stuff is supportive enough. She has always been very supportive and given me space to explore my dreams. I am forever grateful and looking forward to grow the brand.”
KBG continues to say :
“My son has this I am from Malawi T-shirt and some Chitenje clothes made for him and I think they look awesome on him because all the time we post one of his pictures in these clothes people ask if we can make for their kids as well. That is a good feeling to have others wanting something that your son is wearing,” he boasts.
KBG further described his mother as “biggest supporter”, saying she’s been at the core of Nyali Wear.
“When I needed extra cash my mum always came through to lend me. But most importantly, she’s the one who gave me the business hustle. My mum does a lot of business from kugulitsa malambe to whatever so I learnt a lot from her. Actually, my dad has some Nyali Wear branded t-shirts. Mostly, the encouragement comes from the fact that they are always there to support me and push me when I need a push,” KBG says.
A born again Christian, KBG prays for help to reach out to many people across the world with this Nyali Wear Brand and also win souls for Jehovah’s kingdom.
“God should give us more money and must help us showcase him in our art by being excellent. Mostly I would want him to keep us humble as we are making strides,” he prays.