As the pangs of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to sting on the arts industry, some players are using their brands to diversify their money-making avenues to survive.
Producer AKA On The Board, real name Alinafe Kalizang’oma, is the latest to spread his wings. The Lilongwe-based producer has begun his life as an entrepreneur after opening a men’s clothes shop in Lilongwe called AKA On The Clothes.
The shop is located in Area 47, Sector 5 the direction from Cherub towards Chitukuko around the corner that leads to African Bible College. They are stocking sneakers, jeans, T-shirts, sunglasses, caps, belts, wrist watches, tops, chains and other dressing accessories.
AKA said: “I am specialising in selling men’s wear, placing particular interest on the modern urban trendy fashion.
“I am stocking everything to do with men’s clothing. You can come in the shop and you can come out dressed from head to toe.”
Due to the scope of its stock, the shop has emerged as a favourite for a number prominent figures who have been spotted in the shop. Names such as rapper Gwamba, comedian Tannah Mr Broken English and female artist Temwa are among those spotted in the shop.
In an interview, AKA said the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has squeezed the players in the industry too hard, therefore, it is important to find other means to sustain oneself financially.
He said the suspension of live performances has meant a decrease on artist’s incomes.
“It is so important for artists to find other means to survive since our industry has not yet reached a stage where one can entirely depend on it for survival. There is money in music, but it is not for everyone. You need to work on proper investments to get to that level,” he said.
AKA ,however, said running the shop will not interfere with his career as a producer. He said with proper time management he will always find time to meet his artistic demands.
The 30-year-old said: “Personally I have always been fascinated by fashion and dressing trends. As someone who is in the show-business, I feel duty-bound to always present myself well at every moment and occasion. This is also in a way setting the pace so that others can follow.”
Comedian Tannah hailed the newly-opened shop for its quality: “The customer service delivery is out of this world and the quality of the stuff is equally good. We hope they will maintain the standards with time.”