“Team work makes the dream work.”
Morgan Beukes is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer and one of three co-founders of Liberal Apparel, also known as LBRL Men. He was raised in Windhoek, where he attended primary school at Emma Hoogenhout, and was part of the renowned dream team that went a whole season unbeaten. Morgan was also awarded ‘Sportsman of the Year’ for four (4) years in a row. He matriculated high school at Jan Mohr Secondary School and went on to graduate with an Honors degree in Computer Science from UNAM in 2017.
Morgan has been lecturing computer-based modules at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) since. He also does I.T Consulting and he is currently working on pioneering web-based projects.
Speaking on this current business venture and passion project, Morgan says that, “My biggest achievement would be founding Liberal Apparel, for sure.”
Tell us more about Liberal Men / LBRL Apparel, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).
“Liberal Men is a high-end men’s clothing line that provides quality through trends. As for how we came upon the name, I was mulling over the idea of starting the business four years ago when I came across an insightful post on Instagram. The poll queried approximately 160K users about which country they rated as the most liberal country as a travel destination. 67% of the votes were Namibia. The patriot in me couldn’t be any prouder.
Having got the name “Liberal” I realized that we needed a logo. Our classic logo is signified by two letter ‘L’s as mirror images of each other at a 180 degree angle. The idea behind that is, two of us can be looking at the same thing from different angles/perspectives and form two different opinions of the same thing. As Liberals, we respect other people’s opinions despite them differing from our own. That allows us to respect one another and live harmoniously, a common trait of Namibian citizens. The slogan “unity through diversity” was the icing on top of the cake which was provided by Christopher Freygang, one of our co-founders.
We launched the business on December 23rd, 2019. We realized that there was a disparaging gap between the price we as men paid for clothing items and the quality provided. We all know well how men’s clothing is relatively more expensive than that of women. We saw this as an opportunity to breach the market and satisfy an existing customer need for affordable and quality clothing; the accessories further complement our street style.
We are a team of 3; namely Castro Nangula, Christopher Freygang and I. Each of us bring unique qualities that create a synergy that’s a catalyst for nothing but influence and success; this combination of qualities has also seen us maneuver in an adaptable manner without taking any losses.”
What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
“Seeing that this was my first business venture, I have to say the pressure to make a success out of the risk I decided to take was the initial challenge. Botched shipments were experienced in the beginning, in obtaining samples of our products before market distribution as is part of our business practice. It was up to the team and I to be motivated and creative in making good on our investment, not knowing how the market was going to respond to our products.
Fortunately enough for us, we launched three months prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19; considering that we are an e-commerce business, we had already made people accustomed to shopping online. Remaining consistent and fresh was a minor challenge in that regard.”
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
“My advice would be to remain true to your brand identity and the underlying passion cannot be emphasized enough.”
Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?
“Yes, we do, cliché if I may say; team work makes the dream work.”
What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?
“Two words, consistency & teamwork.”
One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in startups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?
“We are always customer focused, the hand that feeds you should be appreciated. In maintaining consistency, we keep to our word on service delivery, the quality of our products speak for themselves. In cases when we do inconvenience our clients, for example in the rare occurrence of overdue deliveries, we remunerate our customers with tailored coupons and/or discounts.”
How do you see charity and nonprofit work overlapping with your business?
“That is definitely something we are looking to do in the future.”
What role does your startup play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“We are focused on growth and adding value to our customers by providing them with premium products at an affordable price.”
What recommendations would you make towards the advancement of startups, and/or the improvement of their operating conditions? * i.e. support of startups, funding schemes, workshops, policy changes etc.
“My advice would be to have an online presence and a platform to sell products or advertise services. As I.T Consultants, Castro and I are offering development of websites to start-ups and professionals seeking to have better engagement with their clients for discount price at the moment.
A crowd funding platform for Sub-Saharan Africa would be beneficial in my opinion as well. We can advocate for the public to support local business but in our experience, if entrepreneurs are not providing quality products/services then it defeats the purpose of value addition, again in my opinion.”
In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID- 19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?
“Having an online presence is essential to the survival of any business venture in the new economic ecosystem we function in.”
WhatsApp Business number coming soon.
Facebook: Liberal Apparel
Instagram: @lbrlmen | @morganbeukes | @cfreygang
Castro’s Facebook (Dinosaur): Castro Nangula