Arriving at the Scotch60 workshop, in Rest In Peace, Kwa-Thema, you are most likely to be met with a group of talkative guys listening to some smooth jams while hard at work.
Known for its graphic, printing and multimedia work, the Scotch60 workshop keeps its doors open through the admirable bond it has built with the community.
Multimedia visual artist and founder of Scotch60, Moses Steven Short (Scotch), started his career as a photographer in Grade 6. He started by having photography exhibitions, and for income he used to sell pictures and printed products. “Usually, I used to print people’s pictures until people started asking me why don’t I have my own brand and then I started producing t-shirts with my own logo, Scotch60,” Scotch says.
As his business grew he wanted to produce work that was more relevant, which led to the birth of the Gladiator range.
“The Gladiator range is still Scotch60 but written in Roman. The significance of the Roman syllables came from a movie called Gladiator, where the guy survives as a gladiator and at the end earns his freedom.
“We started looking at our modern day society and our modern day struggles as the youth, where 90% of us have a hustle and everyday we wake up for something. Even if you are unemployed and sitting in the corner selling ama-skopas, you end up doing something for your hustle. So we can say we are modern day gladiators in the concrete jungle,” explains Scotch.
The Gladiator range evolved first from being a new way to write Scotch60, to eventually making clothing branded with the title ‘League of Legends’ (L.O.L). In order to avoid the misrepresentation of the existing acronym for ‘Laughing out Loud’ (lol), the group stuck to using the Roman language they had adopted.
“As the League of Legends, one of the guys that inspire us is Julius Malema. I don’t do politics but he started a party as a youth, under 36, he became president of his own political party. Whether he gets to be president of the country or not, he started something legendary that needs celebrating,” states Scotch.
With that in mind, the young entrepreneur realised that there are a lot of young people doing legendary things who only get celebrated once they pass on.
He had an exhibition and his pictures went for R10 000 each, but he did not manage to sell anything. Scotch believes that if he had died during the time when his pictures were still at the gallery, the price would have escalated, proving yet again that we should celebrate and support young people while they are still alive. “Let’s be called living legends,” he emphasises.
The Scotch60 brand has multiple salespeople based all over the country. Since the brand was started when the team was very young, they have developed relationships with friends that supported the business from its inception. These ‘gladiators,’ so to speak, have become walking, talking marketers and salespersons wherever they go.
Scotch considers them official members of his team and therefore gives them back a certain percentage from whatever client they bring in. This is the recipe that has sustained the business thus far. Scotch invites anyone and everyone from the community to come “sizo phusha i-spaan” (work).
One of the many people who have benefitted from Scotch’s way of work is Thato Molefe, who started interning at the workshop almost a year ago. “I used to come here as a client, and then with my love of media I interned for Scotch for six months learning how to do printing on t-shirts and other stuff. After the six months, I asked for a job and he agreed,” Thato says.
Working at Scotch60 has given Thato the opportunity to be himself. From the word go you can tell he is a shy person, he is grateful that the workshop does not force him to be loud and talkative.
“My ventures are also intertwined with the brand. I’d love to start my own filming and production company, but these things take time. Being at Scotch60 is going to be a lifetime thing. I believe in this brand,” Thato expresses.
When I arrived at the workshop, I found one of the brand’s models helping with some of the minor work the printers could not get to immediately. Luthando Khehlana had become more than just a model for the brand – much like everyone else who gets in touch with Scotch60. Luthando passed the workshop on her way to school with her sister one day – Scotch saw them and recruited them as models for the brand.
“Working here has been an enjoyable experience. These are people that love to talk so I enjoy being around them and helping them anyway I can,” Luthando says.
Everyone can look forward to a winter collection from Scotch60, which includes sweaters, sweatpants and boat shoes, which are still in production since the team has recently started teaching itself how to print on leather. There are big surprises coming soon from the company.
As much as so many people have benefitted from learning from Scotch, he is a self-taught professional who uses YouTube as his main tool for learning. Growing up dyslectic, Scotch has relied on himself to reach his full potential.
Scotch60 is proof that nothing is impossible, no matter what limitations the world may convince you that you have.
The Scotch60 team teaches, preaches and lives community – something we can all learn from.