Solidarity Rally Triggers T-Shirt Market Boom


T-shirts were sold between 135 Br to 500 Br depending on the quality of the garment




Seifu Assefa, 53, a minibus taxi owner, was one of the residents in the capital keen to march in a rally organised to support the recently appointed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).

The rally held yesterday was orchestrated by a committee of seven members with the primary aim of supporting the reform agenda of the three months old Admisntration of the new Prime Minister.

On the afternoon of June 22, 2018, a day before the rally, Seifu was at Mesqel Square to buy a T-shirt that he would wear while marching in the rally.

“I will take part in the rally because I have hopes for the new Ethiopia,” he said, “Abiy will change the country for the better.”

He dealt with a vendor who was selling a white linen T-shirt with a print photo of the Prime Minister with a captions ‘Peace, Love, Hope’. Seifu paid 200 Br for the T-shirt of hie chose.

Seifu not only purchased a T-shirt but various stickers, banners and decorations for his car. He invested an additional 650 Br to decorate his car for the day.

This was a windfall business for the young man who was selling the materials for Seifu. Since Wednesday, the main roads of the capital have been flooded with T-Shirts and decorations. Many young men and women were selling these items on the streets all over the city.

The event has opened a big business opportunity for T-shirt importers, printers, distributors and retailers. And not to forget the vendors just like the one who sold the T-Shirt to Seifu.

One of the individuals who has benefited from this business is Teshager Tassew, a journalist by profession but also engaged with promotion and advertising works. On the day the organising committee gave a press conference to announce the rally, Teshager was there to report on it.

“Suddenly, I contemplated that I would benefit if I can manage to print and sell some T-shirts with the Prime Minister’s picture,” Teshager said.

After leaving the press conference, he just made three sample design and bought 200 T-shirts from Adey Abeba Yarn Factory. He then went to a printing company to print the design on the T-shirts.

On the designs, he selected three mottoes and popular quotes excerpted from the Premier’s speeches. He also used the popular pictures of the Prime Minister on the T-shirts, spending a total of 115 Br. on each T-shirt.

Within hours of his post, all of the shirts sold-out, according to Teshager, who sold them from 200 Br to 300 Br.

“I posted the T-shirts on my Facebook account to advertise them,” he told Fortune.

Within hours of his post, all of the shirts sold-out, according to Teshager.

“The first round of shirts sold-out within my neighbourhood,” he said, “running out of shirts for the orders I received from social media.”

Then he ordered additional 5,000 T-shirts. Since then he has sold a total of 80,000 T-shirts. The printing company that printed Teshager’s T-shirts was working with a staff of 10, but it has doubled its labour force not to miss this rare business opportunity.

“We have been working for four consecutive days and nights,” Teshager said.

His marketing strategy had started on social media, but his reach grew as multiple distributors from Merkato started calling him to order T-Shirts. He also supplied the T-Shirts to vendors.

Though Teshager sold his products via social media and orders through phone calls, some other retailers were selling the T-shirts with automobiles, pickups, and mini-busses travelling all over the capital.

such were  was the two young friends who were selling T-Shirts with an Isuzu around Mesqel Square. They came from Kality to sell thousands of  T-shirts for 200 Br each.

“Interestingly, the people who are passing by this road are buying out T-shirts,” one of the salespeople told Fortune.

On casual days, these T-Shirts are sold for a maximum of 80 Br. Considering the printing companies’ production and distribution cost the seasonal market has brought a sweet deal to all those in the market chain; printers, distributors, and even street vendors.

Asegid Shibabaw, a street vendor, has been selling a second-hand T-Shirts decorated with the quotes of the Premier. He bought them from Merkato, commonly named as Taiwan-Tera. He purchased the T-Shirts, which he was selling for 130 Br, and  for 95 Br.

“Only in half day, I sold 30 T-shirts,” he told Fortune.

In some parts of the city, the price of a single T-Shirt has reached 500 Br. However, these higher prices seem insignificant for some determined supporters of the new Prime Minister.

“If I have too, I would have bought the T-shirt for 500 Br,” said Seifu, who spend below half of that to buy his T-shirt from a street vendor at Mesqel Square.

hundreds and thousands of people attended the rally held yesterday. Almost all of the attendees were wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the Prime Minister and his famous quotes.

The organising committee has announced that additional rallies are scheduled to take place in the surrounding areas of the capital, which could open additional business opportunities for individuals like Teshager.

“I have already received an order for 5,000 T-shirts from Jimma,” Teshager told Fortune.



By BEHAILU AYELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Jun 24,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 948]


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