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Behind the Selfie Profile South Africa

#BehindtheSelfie with... Zak Venter, brand and marketing executive at Bounty Brands Apparel

This week, we go behind the selfie with Zak Venter, brand and marketing executive at Bounty Brands Apparel.
Venter captions this: “Still learning how to take a selfie…”
Venter captions this: “Still learning how to take a selfie…”

1. Where do you live, work and play?

I’m very fortunate to have Cape Town for all three of the above.

2. What’s your claim to fame?

I’m most definitely not famous, but managed to get a bit of a name in the branded retail world for founding the local menswear brand S.P.C.C (Sergeant Pepper Clothing Company) back in 2012.

I was also part of the team that launched Cristiano Ronaldo’s Global Denim collection in 2017. In between that, I worked on a mixed bag of local and international brand and retail projects.

Bounty Brands Apparel is the license and distribution partner for brands like Vans, Diesel, Levi’s, Superdry, Jeep and Hurley.

3. Describe your career so far.

It has been a manic, extremely thrilling journey of discovering, and in some cases defining, the recipe for how brands and the ecosystems around them come to life! I feel privileged in my career to have been exposed to the full spectrum of entrepreneurial, corporate and brand digital agency life, both locally as well as internationally.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

All types of design, well-crafted batch brew coffee, mountain adventures with the wife, sustainable healthy food options, surfing, and trail running.

5. What do you love about your industry?

The ever-changing, fast-paced nature of it. It is constantly changing and evolving, it has a good blend of creative direction, design output, above- and below-the-line marketing, as well as the hustle and chase that retail provides.

It really is contagious, and something that energises me personally.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

Well, it changes daily, but the big items would consist of working with the brand and marketing managers and their teams on brand strategy, brand and product assortment direction, marketing strategy and digital execution, essentially making sure we are driving and communicating to our customers along the full omnichannel journey, ensuring a favourable overall brand experience at every touchpoint.

7. What are the tools of your trade?

I believe brands and teams get built from the inside out, so for me it’s vital to establish a clear vision of what we are building, the will power to be uncompromised in that pursuit, as well as building a high-performance team who trust each other and can get the job done.

The culture, made up of leaders on a clear and exciting mission together, is what drives the external performance of any brand or business, and spending time and energy crafting that from the inside-out is the tool of the trade.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

I believe brands that are pioneering and leading the way in terms of sustainability and transparency are doing a wonderful thing for the retail industry. They are shining a light on the process behind the product, the hearts and hands that innovate, and bringing to life the impact that certain unsustainable ways of manufacturing are having on the planet.
If more brands can work that into their reason for existence, it will definitely shift the entire retail landscape in a positive manner.

9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

The forced and, in many cases, broken retail cycle – launching pure winter products in summer and having your first winter inputs drop in the height of summer to try maximise sales earlier and earlier. Non-seasonal brands with an all-year, sustainable product development and roll-out strategy are definitely the way forward to correcting this.

10. What are you working on right now?

It’s crazy season at the moment. Currently, I'm signing off the Vans seasonal buy, lining up the Vans and Superdry e-commerce launch plan for early next year, working with the Jeep team on their Summer 2020 marketing campaign and product execution, signing off on the new Diesel D4D retail store launches and how to effectively integrate a sustainable, fully functional, omnichannel solution that drives performance online as well as for bricks-and-mortar stores collectively.

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

“Less but better”, “focusing on efficiency-driven decision making”, “cutting out the non-essential” and “aligning the teams on having fewer, more strategic pursuits to lift the needle in terms of impact”.

There is just so much noise in terms of oversupply of product and content that everyone is experiencing digital and choice fatigue. This will need to be corrected in the market, to start offering the SA consumer a ‘real choice’. Instead of being consumed with trying to figure out what the masses want, I keep reminding myself to start thinking about what the people who care want. They are two different things.
The masses aren't listening because they are option-rich and time-poor. The people who actually care are going to choose to listen, and endorse and advocate for you.
Start small, do things well, and go slow in order to eventually go big.

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

Whilst meditating in the mornings. The irritating thing is I’m trying to quieten down my mind, so it usually comes at an inconvenient time.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

I’m actually the quiet guy at the parties, even more quiet when I have a few drinks, so no tricks.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

This is such a hot topic at the moment. To be honest, I’m guarding myself against too much screen time and digital fatigue, so at the moment I’m trying to leave the phone alone as much as possible, and allow for some headspace and clarity.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

Loads of screengrabs of quotes and passages I’ve read. I love reading, so I try to keep those moments with me, as far as possible. Oh, and lots of sunset mountain views. I can’t seem to stay off the beautiful Cape Town mountains at the moment!

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Work hard, stay inspired, spend time developing and investing into your character and leadership ability, as well as your specific craft.

I believe we are in desperate need of leaders, leaders who aren’t afraid to take charge and take the industry into a particular direction, so spend time sharpening the axe, your time will come and when it does you’ll be ready for all that it brings.

Simple as that. Follow Venter on Twitter and Instagram; and Bounty Brands Apparel’s local brand accounts on Instagram for the latest updates: Vans SA, Diesel SA, Levi’s SA, Superdry, Jeep Apparel SA and Hurley.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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