Hayze Engolah is not a new name in the music industry. Most of us came to know of him during his, (now disbanded) homegrown Africa days. Despite having a name in the music circles, Hayze Engolah was not taken as a force to be reckoned with In the local fashion or entrepreneur world, until recently.
Hayze Engolah Rose to fame in 2014 while he was still in Homegrown Africa, a duo which comprised of Himself and Classick. After the group disbanded, everyone went his separate way, pursuing solo music careers. While pursuing his music career, Hayze Engolah was also busy putting together a clothing label, which is known as “KNQR”. In one of the interviews he had, he recalled how the idea came through. He said ” it felt like it was given to me by God, I discussed the idea with a friend. It ended with us deciding that we will call the brand “Conquer”. I went home, then after some hours I decided to call him saying actually we should spell it “KNQR”.
Ever since that day, KNQR was conceived to the world, a brain child of one of our own. Our own local clothing label from Malawi. With this clothing line, Hayze wants to inspire Malawians to “Conquer” different situations around them. Soon everyone fell in love with it. The clothing label grew from being good to better by any merchandise which it released. Instead of making branded t-shirts only, they started diversifying to KNQR back packs, hoodies, caps and others. Surely this was a sign that something big was happening. It did not take much time, Hayze Engolah opened a KNQR store at Mselema to house his clothing label idea.
Like this was not enough, Hayze Engolah’s KNQR signed a sponsorship deal with Thumbs Up Southern Region football Premier Division side Hangover FC. The deal penned to paper was that KNQR store will be merchandising the football club, a sponsorship deal that will run for a season.
KNQR merchandise are products which people are not buying out of sympathy because the founder is their friend, neighbor, famous musician, or a Malawian. No. Actually the products have the quality. They are made with the customer in mind. Whom am I selling these to? Hayze Engolah clearly knows his market and their preference. Himself being a young person, he knows what young Malawians want and he is giving us exactly that. He is giving us a brand we can relate to, at the same time being flashy, trendy and good looking. No wonder this year if you had any of the KNQR merchandise, you were taken as someone who is following fashion. We are tired of putting on fake Gucci’s, Versace’s, which are expensive as well. Hayze gave us the happiness of putting on something original, at an affordable price.
Despite all the success, It was not all sweet for the clothing brand as it faced allegations that it was a phony brand. All this was sparked by a Twitter post that questioned the authenticity of KNQR brand following people discovering that there is another brand with the same name from Australia. Hayze Engolah waved aside these accusations and he addressed his customers accordingly, assuring them that this is an independent idea. All that now is history and business is usual at KNQR store.
Hayze Engolah will look back at 2020 as the year his KNQR brand finally made a name on the local market. I am sure he is proud of what he has managed to achieve. This year was one we will all wish not to come back. The Covid 19 affected alot of businesses and our everyday routines but to manage to make “KNQR paliponse ngati nsalu yachipani” is something we will all wonder how he did it.