BY FLAVIA DAVIDS
A desire to create an affordable and easily accessible luxury brand for young people is what drove two Stellenbosch University (SU) students to start Cuban Fourth. Final-year BAcc student and Simonsberg Residence prim Simeon September, and Matie BAcc graduate Tirivashe Chimbetete (who has since moved back to Zimbabwe) started this online jewellery and accessories store in November 2020.
Just over a year later, the brand venture has garnered nearly 14 000 followers on Instagram (@cubanfourth) and a diverse variety of consumers both in and outside of the Stellenbosch area. Notable consumers of the brand include Love Island South Africa finalist Xavier Haupt and comedian Leython van Graan, who is also an SU student.
“I really enjoy wearing accessories and jewellery. I realised that there was never really a place I could go to that was renowned for making jewellery and accessories for young men, and that drove me to combine my passion for jewellery and business to create something of my own,” said September.
Beyond passion and dedication, the online business has aimed to prioritise community in all of its endeavours, including its marketing and its choice of ambassadors. Cuban Fourth’s choice of ambassadors ranges from high-end influencers, like Van Graan, to people who do not necessarily have a large social media following, yet have a form of influence in their friend groups.
“At the end of the day, if people around you don’t believe in what you’re selling or if they don’t see that you care about them and look after them as customers, they will go to the other business that will do that for them,” he said.
September has described his journey of venturing into the world of startup businesses as being “up and down” but has expressed gratitude for the lessons that Cuban Fourth has taught him thus far. “It has been a very good journey and one that I am taking a lot of lessons from. Even if it isn’t my jackpot one day, it has definitely been something that has propelled my entrepreneurship and that kind of thinking inside of me to start other ventures,” he said.
In Cuban Fourth’s short time, it has taught September the importance of purpose over profit. “There will be times where it feels like nothing is working, but you have to stay dedicated to the vision and focus on the impact you would like to make, so in more than a monetary sense. If your focus is only on the money, you will always fall short.”