Argento Lands Deal With Mr Price Sport via KZNCTC Accelerator

Who is Argento?

Argento Trading is a 100% black-owned, women-led Cut-Make-Trim (CMT) production facility based in Isithebe, KwaZulu-Natal. At the helm of Argento is the passionate and tenacious co-founder, Joudalle Govender alongside her husband TK Govender (founder and Operational Director), who are breaking boundaries in the local clothing and textile sector.

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Journey through the Accelerator

In November 2021, Argento’s value proposition caught the attention of a panel of leading retailers: Mr Price Sport, Pepkor Specialty, TFG and Woolworths.

Joudalle pitched on behalf of KwaZulu Uniforms, one of the SME finalists in the KwaZulu-Natal Small Business Accelerator. At the time, she was under the mentorship and training of Mr Abdool Wahab Bux, owner of KwaZulu Uniforms, due to a growing working relationship between the two SMEs. After realizing that the lead firms’ needs were leaning towards fashion than personal protective wear and equipment (KwaZulu Uniforms’ specialization), Joudalle pivoted their strategy to pitch Argento’s capabilities instead.

Argento have since unlocked a commercial opportunity with Mr Price Sport to supply men’s and kids’ polyester knit golf shirts for sponsorship opportunities. Upon delivery of the first test orders, the opportunity to supply Mr Price Sport has grown exponentially. Argento has introduced two new production lines to supply Mr Price Sport, and Mr Price Sport is pursuing a supplier development project to support Argento toward scaling. This includes the addition of two new lines to supply a product that was previously imported.

Over the last three months, Argento’s team has grown from 34 to 65 full time employees, are anticipating further growth over the next six months, and have recently joined the National Bargaining Council. This is in addition to successfully securing R5 million from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) through entrepreneurial development funding.

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What lies ahead for Argento Trading?

Considering their rapid growth over a short period of time, Argento is expanding their current building from 600m2 to approximately 1,000m2 in the first phase of their projected two-year expansion plan. The SME is also in the process of applying for their importers code to import fabric. However, Joudalle speaks of the importance of taking a step back to identify the skills, developmental and operational gaps that need to be filled to grow their business to scale and reflects on the support they’ve received so far. “Mr Price Sport have been incredible – they have held our hand through the whole process.” – Joudalle Govender, co-founder of Argento Trading.

Robyn-Leigh Van Laren