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Bangane of Juluka Sneaker Care

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Bangane of Juluka Sneaker Care

Bangane of Juluka Sneaker Care

We charge $4 to clean/laundry one pair of sneaker.

I had the opportunity to talk to Mmeli Jack Ncube who popularly goes by Bangane. Bangane was born and bred in the City of Kings. He is a miner (Mining Engineering Artisan) by profession with with a keen interest in street culture. Bangane has grown to believe he’s an entrepreneur because of the vast things he does including being the co-founder of the well known street brand Juluka.

Juluka Co is a community of sneaker loving creatives. To understand Juluka Sneaker Co, you first need to know where the name originated from. If you’re a student of popular culture, you know that what was called ‘cool’ in the 90’s, ‘swag’ in the 2000’s and even ‘sauce’ for that one summer in 2016, is now termed ‘drip’. Bangane and friends simply decided to localise the context of drip, and named their brand after the loose translation for drip in Zulu that being Juluka. The ‘Co’ part is for community, because Juluka is all about community above everything else.

When did you start Juluka? 

We started Juluka in 2018, around the time street culture enthusiasts were obsessed with the word ‘DRIP’ referring to rocking a clean outfit, then thina we thought of it in our language hence the name Juluka.

Do you work alone or do you have a team?

We work as a team.

Tell me about your experience with cleaning sneakers. How did you get started?

In 2022 after a visit to South Africa, as a lover of sneaker culture I got inspired by brands that did sneaker laundry. I then thought it’d be cool for our brand to have sneaker laundry as our introductory start up business. So the team and I took to social media to promote the start up and we got support from people on social media, and the customers started to trickle in. Before I went to South Africa a friend of mine based in Harare (co-owner of a brand called Guided Youth) advised me to do research about sneaker care. When I got to SA I had an idea about what I wanted to do but it was a matter of acquiring knowledge on how to do it and what materials were needed.

When it comes to cleaning sneakers, is it a one size fits all procedure? 

There are various types of sneakers and they are made of different materials. That means it’s not a one size fits all situation when it comes to dealing with different types of materials. Although there are standard procedures like dirt removal on the sole which is done on every type of sneaker. I think with time I can safely say I’ve gained experience with cleaning different materials and from doing research and constantly putting myself out there in terms of keeping in the loop about the trends in the shoe cleaning industry.

What are your favourite cleaning products and tools? Why?

I have to say my favourite cleaning product would be the Juluka Quickie which is a solution we have for sneakers. The Quickie coupled with a simple brittle brush do the best job to get your shoes clean.

Have you ever encountered any challenging stains or materials? How did you handle them?

Yes, we have encountered challenges. With experience and as we’ve honed the craft of cleaning sneakers it’s not as much as when we were still starting out. There’s a time where we took the wrong approach when we were sorting out a work wear canvas sneaker and it got permanently stained. In turn we ended up compensating the client by buying them a new pair. Not only was it the right thing to do but we like to preserve client relations.

Do you have any experience with restoring sneakers? (e.g., repainting, resoling)

Yes, we offer restoration services with sneakers. Most of the times it’s colour restoration, where we restore the original colour when a sneaker is fading.

Can you explain the difference between cleaning and restoring sneakers?

There is a huge difference between cleaning and restoring of sneakers. Cleaning is the general laundry and upkeep of a sneaker to maintain it’s life and make sure it’s prim and proper whereas restoration is when it has lost it’s superb state and you try to revitalise that.

What are some common mistakes people make when cleaning their sneakers?

People often make the mistake of using heavy detergents like powdered soap and hard brushes when cleaning sneakers. Contrary to popular belief those are bad for sneakers.

How do you stay up-to-date on the latest sneaker trends and cleaning techniques?

We are very lucky that we’re operating in the era of social media where all this information is available online and there is AI where your searches feed into your algorithm. So we get more knowledge on the internet as well as consultation with established brands.

What are your rates for sneaker cleaning?

We charge $4 to clean one pair of sneakers.

Do you offer any discounts or packages?

Yeah, we’ve had them since the business was established. If you bring more than 3 pairs the price of cleaning one pair is discounted to $3 plus you get a free pair of socks.

What is your turnaround time for cleaning sneakers?

24 hours but 28 hours for 3 pairs or more.

Do you offer insurance for your services?

Not yet, but when a client is not happy with the service we always offer to redo the pair for free.

What are your future goals for your sneaker cleaning business?

To continue providing our services in the city and to grow and branch out to other cities.

Fun Fact: Juluka has introduced merchandise. You can also join the community by purchasing a classic Juluka.Co box t-shirt for $25.

If you want your sneakers cleaned, be sure to visit Juluka Sneaker Co. You can find them between 8th and 9th Avenue, right next to Booties Pharmacy. You can also find them on social media as: Juluka Co.

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I'm Noni Zulu, editor of iNgudukazi Magazine and I'm proud to say that. This is a magazine that looks to empower the youth. We hope to entertain, inspire and motivate our subscribers and to help make a difference.

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