Conversation with Martinho José Cossa, Founder / CEO at Xizoro, a capulana garment brand (African print), based in Maputo, Mozambique.
For those who do not know you, tell us in a few words: who is Martinho and what is Xizoro?
Martinho José Cossa is a financial management student, speaker, creative designer and fashion designer of the brand Xizoro, I’m 25 years old . I dedicate my time in motivating and inspiring young and budding entrepreneurs to leave the comfort zone and explore new horizons. Xirozo is a clothing brand that comes on the market to redefine and re-evaluate African fabric, creating highly innovative designs adapted to international trends, the goal of the brand is not only to create a Mozambican identity, but African, given that the capulana or African fabric is not exclusive to Mozambique.
What problem are you solving in Africa, in your country or in your community?
The main problem is the acceptance of professions that are not accepted as standard in a country that is already formatted to follow a logical protocol. I am part of the privileged who have the courage to follow entrepreneurship without fear of being looked at or excluded by the society where I am inserted. Therefore, I seek through the brand to contribute to the African cultural identity.
Do you think this is the right time for your startup to solve the problem?
I think there is no right moment, there are actions that make moments and opportunities appear. African identity should not have time to be valued and now more than ever, it is time for Africans to inspire the West and tell their own stories to the world.
Does your solution fit the market?
Fortunately it fits, my startup is inserted in the field of fashion and it is of necessity of everyone to have a good piece of clothing for day to day and even for events. And because we focus more on African material, which is “our” material, it is even easier to accept people because it is already well-known material , loved and valued by the African majority, as an African symbol and identity.
Tell us more about the team behind Xizoro
I believe there might be better people than us, but they do not make as much effort than we do, the problem can not be solved only by us, we can even be the pioneers, but there must be collaboration of the privileged to awaken this side in other people or in the generations to come. Xirozo has a team of fashion enthusiasts dedicated to bringing Africa across borders, but we value collaboration with other star-builders and entrepreneurs to add value to our product and services.
What makes your different in the market?
The interaction with potential buyers, each customer has a story to tell behind each piece of clothing, and we care about turning that story into a garment
How do you measure your success?
I do not measure success because I still do not know where I am, but I know where I’m going, that is, I’m not worried about success, but about work and quality. Success is just the beginning of a new challenge, every customer is a stage of success.
How innovative is your startup / business? (technological / social innovation)
Social innovation is what the startup is. Bring African identity across borders using the power of the internet and social networks.
What is the social impact it creates?
Positive, because people started accepting African print in a natural way, mainly young people, and thus increase self-esteem and encourage the love of local products and reduce the dependence of other countries on the import of clothing.
How are you expanding the startup / business?
In terms of expansion techniques it would be complicated to explain, but in short, information technology has the power to make us reach where we do not even know , we must use this tool for the benefit of our startup and scale to the world.
What advice do you have for budding startups and emerging designers?
“Dream big and fight for twice the height of your dream”
Magoanine A, Ave, Sebastião Mabote, Q:B c.103B, Maputo