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“Entrepreneur Meets Green: Wihan Joubert of Drip Markets Revolutionizes Fashion with Sustainable Styles”

Entrepreneur of the Month: Drip Markets

By Cebelihle Mthethwa.

In today’s rapidly changing world, the pursuit of sustainability has become a crucial aspect of numerous industries. Stellenbosch-born youth entrepreneur Wihan Joubert has emerged as a trailblazer in this movement, focusing his efforts on the fashion industry. In 2020, Joubert founded Drip Markets, a ground-breaking marketplace that aims to revolutionise how students engage with fashion by providing a platform to sell their preloved clothes. With an unwavering commitment to sustainability, Drip Markets empowers young people to embrace a more conscious approach to fashion while also addressing the industry’s environmental impact.

According to the young entrepreneur, Drip Markets is a mobile application that people can download. The app’s main purpose is to serve as a marketplace for second-hand clothes. Similar to the Instagram app, sellers can create an account and list their clothes on the app, just as they would photos. On the other hand, customers can view the items they want, and by utilising the payment gateway features, they become one step closer to reaching their next fashion statement.

“I got the Idea for the app when I was studying abroad in the UK. Young people would sell their clothes online, and this quickly became a culture that I adopted too. However, when I moved back to South Africa, I realised that there weren’t as many options to sell my preloved clothes, and that’s when I saw an opportunity to start Drip Markets,” he said.

The final-year Stellenbosch student launched his business (with co-founder Bernard Combrink) in 2021, as a web application; however, this wasn’t up to the standard that he wanted, which forced him to go back to the drawing board. He realised that he had to add more team members to make Drip Markets a success. And through strategic collaboration with other passionate individuals, a team of four members officially launched the mobile app at the end of February 2023. Since then, the team has doubled in size and is looking at expanding even more. “Building a team of passionate and driven people is the key to any successful business, and we have a really cool team” adds Wihan.

Wihan described his entrepreneurial journey as one that is filled with learning curves, with a consistent theme of ‘perseverance’. “Balancing school, work, and social life has been challenging, but it has taught me invaluable lessons about perseverance. There were times when it seemed overwhelming, but through the support of amazing people around me I have been able move forward. I believe that success comes to those who can navigate the challenges and keep pushing forward. It’s about finding the right balance, staying focused on my goals, and constantly adapting. Through it all, I’ve learned that determination and perseverance are the keys to turning dreams into reality,” added Wihan.

Drip Markets primarily caters to the youth, but Wihan Joubert emphasises that the platform warmly welcomes individuals of all age groups. According to Wihan, the focus on the youth is rooted in the fact that the Drip Markets team consists of passionate Gen Z and millennial entrepreneurs who deeply understand current trends. Their collective expertise enables them to curate a platform that resonates with the younger generation. By fostering a community-driven approach, Drip Markets aspires to be a platform designed not only for the youth but also shaped by their needs and preferences.

The core mission of Drip Markets revolves around three significant aspects: Sustainability, enabling entrepreneurship, and South African Fashion. Wihan Joubert and his team are deeply committed to promoting a sustainable fashion ecosystem through their platform. By facilitating the buying and selling of second-hand clothes, the team actively contributes to the circular economy concept. Every sale made on the platform displaces 293 litres of water pollution, 34 KWH of Energy demand, and 7.9 KG of Co2 Emissions. This remarkable achievement underscores Drip Markets’ dedication to reducing the fashion industry’s environmental impact.

In addition to its sustainability mission, Drip Markets also aims to empower South Africans through entrepreneurship. By providing a platform where sellers can showcase and sell their preloved items, Drip Markets creates opportunities for individuals to generate their own income. This entrepreneurial aspect of the platform aligns with Wihan Joubert’s vision of building a South African based platform which empowers other South Africans to start their own businesses and fostering economic independence among the community. By enabling individuals to monetise their unused clothing, Drip Markets supports sustainable consumption and promotes a sense of agency and financial empowerment. The South African based business is revolutionising the fashion industry through these dual purposes by combining sustainability, economic empowerment, and fashionability into one cohesive platform.

Technology has also played a pivotal role in accelerating the growth and reach of Wihan’s business. With its app-based platform, Drip Markets benefits from the absence of geographic limitations, enabling it to effectively advertise and expand its business throughout the country. This digital infrastructure has allowed the platform to connect with a diverse range of sellers and buyers, creating a vibrant marketplace for preloved clothes. Moreover, the seamless integration of secure payment gateways within the app has revolutionised how customers transact. By providing a convenient and hassle-free payment experience, Drip Markets ensures that customers can effortlessly purchase their desired items, further enhancing the overall user experience. Technology’s effective utilisation has propelled Drip Markets to new heights, enabling them to transform the fashion industry while providing a seamless and convenient platform for their users.

Advising other alike youth entrepreneurs, Wihan emphasises the importance of consuming as much information as possible from available resources such as books and podcasts. “There are people from all over the world that have walked this road before, so learning from their mistakes and successes is big tool in an entrepreneur’s toolbox. Through entrepreneurship, South Africa and its youth has the potential to change the country for the better and can provide so many employment opportunities for others. Fostering an environment where entrepreneurship thrives is important factor in ensuring economic growth.” adds Wihan.