A positive from lockdown for young entrepreneur

 “I want to bring back the arts industry in the Eastern Cape”

By NTU News Reporter

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” So says young designer Linch Soci for whom the coronavirus pandemic disruption has in some ways ended up changing his life for the better. 

Soci was one of hundreds of thousands of South Africans to lose their jobs during lockdown. The restaurant he worked for was forced to close and the staff had to be let go with final pay and UIF.

Losing his job freed him to follow his true love of creating and designing. 

Soci used some of his unemployment grant money to set up his business, Where ART Thou, swapping his waiters apron for fabrics of a different kind – furnishing, clothing and jewellery. 

25-year-old Hlakanipho Mtalaliso Soci, aka Linch was born and raised in Queenstown(now Komani), and currently lives in Amalinda, East London.  

From a young age he was the artistic one among his four siblings. “It was amazing how I could watch someone practice a certain art form and I would attempt it and impress whoever I’ve been observing,” he said. “It started from watching my late mother sitting in front of the sewing machine and then later on when she went to work I’d try do what she did and she’d be impressed until she decided to give me her old machine.” 

Soci worked at East London restaurant Country Bumpkin for just over a year, starting out as a runner and quickly progressing to waiter before the Covid-19 pandemic enforced lockdown which led to its closure. “That forced me to be more creative on how to survive during these times, so I continued with my side passions as now my main way of making a living,” he said.

His former boss, Caitlin Feraz at the Country Bumpkin, was impressed. “Linch was a popular, hard-working employee who could go far in the industry,” she said. 

“My time in the restaurant industry was cut short. I still have an interest on going back because of my passion in crafts and the art of cooking. My only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to study all I wanted to know about the industry,” said Soci.

He is currently working from home making beaded and recycled jewellery and accessories, designing and making clothing, and upscaling, repairing and customising second hand clothes that he finds in charity shops.  Recently he has tapped into interior decorating. He also does company branding, event hosting and is a live performer in the music and poetry fields.

His fledgling business of Where ART Thou is moving towards success slowly but surely. In five years Soci wants to have outlets in East London, Port Elizabeth, Komani and Bisho, selling his handcrafts and bringing back the arts industry in the Eastern Cape. 

Within ten years he wants to open his own small arts school for the underprivileged. 

For Soci, with his bubbly personality, artistic spirit and positive attitude, being his own boss is very fulfilling. “I manage my own time. I make the final decision concerning the integrity of what I’m trying to build. I am currently making a life out of my passions,” he said. 

“My advice to those as passionate and driven as I am would be to keep their eyes fixed on the ball.”

See more of Linch Soci on FB under Buddah Linch Soci.

Whatsapp 0670615904 / 0672862022

Email Mr.soci09@gmail.com.

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