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PROFILE: NQOBILE NKOSI

by Justin

The evolution of an engineer turned jewellery designer

Since winning the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the year 2016 Award, Nqobile Nkosi, owner of NQ Jewellery from Soweto, has gone from strength to strength.  He has embraced the opportunities presented to him, and has successfully fulfilled his role as ambassador as well as being part of the HCI Supplier Club, and continued to build his company at the same time.

Nkosi originally joined the respected ranks of jewellery designers through an interesting turn of events which led him to his professional destiny. While he had studied towards a national certificate in electrical engineering, due to a lack of finances, he was unable to complete the course. He heard about a two-year course in jewellery manufacturing and design at the Soweto Jewellery School and applied. After a month, NQ as he is known designed a wedding band.

“And that changed my life” he says. “I knew then that this is what I wanted to do. Drawing and making jewellery. I could do it!”

NQ’s future is on the up and up

The path to establishing his own jewellery design company hasn’t been smooth, but NQ’s future is truly on the up and up.

Nkosi registered his company in 2007, and struggled to source funding to buy equipment. He eventually resorted to selling cakes and biscuits until he had saved enough money to get started. Subsequently, his work ethic was recognised by Jerry Nkeli, the first black paraplegic individual to qualify as an attorney, the founder of Jerry Nkeli & Associates law firm, and a director in several businesses. He invested in Nkosi and is the chairman and his mentor.

NQ’s success as a jewellery designer has seen him travelling extensively, to the UK three times where he was granted internships, and to Hong Kong where he learned how to enhance his machinery and showcase his products. He has won numerous awards: Gauteng Business Leader Award, Jet Community Awards-Vuka Uzenzele, SAB Kickstart Award and Hope Fund by euro news, and he continues to receive rave reviews in many quarters.

Contemporary style inspired by the warmth and colour of South Africa

NQ’s custom-made jewellery reflects a contemporary style inspired by the warmth and colour of South Africa, while interpreting Eurocentric tones.  His jewellery is displayed in a range of outlets such as the Big 5 at OR Tambo International Airport, and the Westcliff Hotel amongst others.  

NQ Jewellery Design Services is Soweto’s first jewellery manufacturing business and employs five people.

As part of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur programme and the HCI Supplier Club, who provide valuable support in terms of mentorship and sustained interest, he is confident that he will continue to thrive and grow his market access.

“I have not only gained tremendous confidence through their investment in my personal development but have also prospered through the knowledge and business acumen that I have gained through being part of these valuable programmes,” says Nkosi.  

Nkosi is no normal jeweller. A visionary. Carving through the noise to the crux of the matter, he manages to extract a beauty and balance few are able to achieve. With years of experience on a global stage, he continues to learn, and continues to grow.

Nqobile Nkosi was the first Sowetan jeweller to showcase at the Spring Fair International in Birmingham, at that stage the UK’s biggest retail trade show. His thirst for experience means everything is a learning experience, with which he continues to evolve.

His style is its own, guided by the evolution of his creativity at any given point, and the relationship developed with the client and their needs.

Trends are not the point to Nqobile, evolution is. The evolution of the creative process, the evolution of the story. To him it is the creativity in the moment that matters most.

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