Ntswaki Mcube aims to give a hand to helping women believe in themselves through BlacQ Eyeawear, a brand that says all women are queens.
BlacQ Eyewear is building the image of women through eyewear and clothing. The founder, Ntswaki Mncube, located in the large township of Kagiso wants females to be comfortable in who and what they are regardless of comments from others, and her way of doing empowering women is through what they can wear.
The brand for women, BlacQ Eyewear was founded in April 2015, the first six months were spent trying to get it on its feet and coming up with the name, also trying to understand how it will operate. However, in no time, she already had orders and currently the brand gets orders from other provinces.
“I knew I wanted a brand called black with a Q,” so she said. “I thought of myself as a queen,” she added. That is the reason she altered the K with the Q. She viewed herself as a queen because she believed that “if the world doesn’t like you as you are you should hold yourself so high that when you walk into a room they will feel uncomfortable,” she said - with her words accompanied by a long smile of woman pride and self-love.
Mncube wants dark skinned girls to view themselves as queens because societies are belittling them, building all bad memes about them. She wants people to notice how beautiful black is. “As much as you are making a joke about it [being black], people are taking it so seriously that they take an extent of bleaching themselves,” Mncube said. Therefore, she wants everyone to be happy in their skin colour.
This woman is a breadwinner at her home and prior to developing her business, dance was the main source of income, without dance there would be no money to help the family survive. “It’s like if I’m not on stage I’m not gonna make money,” said Mncube.
BlacQ’s clothing started selling with t-shirts at one of the pop-up sales market that was held in Kagiso, Marakeng. Mncube had t-shirts printed her brand name and took them to Marakeng. The aim was to sell sunglasses, not the t-shirts. However, the crowd gained interest in the t-shirts, although she tried explaining to them that they are workers uniform, “the next day I got inboxes ordering those t-shirts!”
she said with excitement. Because of the flood of Facebook inboxes, t-shirts started selling.
She is happy that after she started selling sunglasses some women around her location did so too, because of that, she believes that people are noticing the good in what she is doing and are trying to get a living too - which made one of her dreams come true, making women find a good living.
The businesswoman said she knew she loved bags but they were not what she wanted to deal with, “I had to look into something that I really love which is sunglasses!” Mncube excited. Her love for sunglasses had resided in her heart for a long time and people would want to know where she got the sunglasses she wears, because of external compliments she then knew sunglasses will make her business. Moreover, because she started the business with eyewear and not clothing, she feels the name should stick to BlacQ ‘Eyewear’.
Mncube magnified that BlacQ is a celebration of colour, “I have always been teased about my colour … obviously my race too,” she explained. Although she was made to feel uncomfortable in her own skin, she believed that she could still make it in the industry of entertainment since it has always been her dream, being teased about colour was nothing that could ever bring her down. “being in the industry of dance and entertainment - light skinned girls are treated differently from dark skinned girls and you do feel the pressure,” so she said.
She stated that she is very much inspired by Mafikizolo and not only because she has worked with one of its members but because they are being original, they make people recognise the African culture through their way of behaviour which includes their dress sense.
The mood changed when Mncube looked up and smiled while she was about to narrate the biggest dream of BlacQ, “The biggest dream of BlacQ Eyewear is to open a big boutique store,” she stated, and she followed to describe just how she wants it, it is a fantasy world where “you walk in, then there’s mirror-mirror, champagne and sunglasses well presented,” for a moment, minds were taken to the fantasy.
The well-motivated woman wants people to walk into the fantasy world of BlacQ. Mncube perceives this dream as a scary one and also claimed that if dreams do not scare the dreamer then the dreamer is not dreaming big enough. She does not plan on letting this dream go, and fiercely wants to make it true.
Future aims include working with optometrists to discuss and develop ways to improve the beauty of spectacles making them more comfortable. Mncube wants people experiencing eye problems to slay in their eyewear because they too want to get eyewear they can wear for the purpose of beauty not just to enhance their vision. She explained that she wants everyone to wear spectacles they want in spite of the situation they may find themselves in.
She does not have a background in business related studies but manages to build her business successfully and is very thankful to God because of that. According to Mncube, “If you want something you should work towards that,” those are the words she used to motivate herself and passes them to other young people that may think they failed in education or rather – their qualifications are meaningless. She wants to inspire young people to build what they want and not wait for someone to do it for them.
The smile never faded. Outside the house was a pink two roomed shack and she pointed at it saying that was the shelter that had to fit her and other six members of her family. She was bold, fierce and happy to say they managed to move out of it to the house they are in now, she wants youngsters to know that “it is not about your background,” but what one aims for. Women are growing in business, and they help others grow too. It is the story that lies behind BlacQ that she wants women to know so they too can make a good life out of what they do best, because everyone has a talent. In everything, she thanked God.
“If you want Something you should work towards it”