Contact Information
Project sponsor name and title:                     Alistair Barnes
Main contact phone number:                         +27 (0) 82 444 9271
Main contact email:                              
Preferred meeting location:                           Ballo, 66 Wale St, Cape Town

Company Information
Company name:                                            Ballo
Company sector/ industry:                             Sunglasses and fashion
Year of establishment:                                   2012
Company website:                               
Number of employees:                                  8

Brief company overview:
Ballo is a sunglasses and fashion wear brand who strive to be a catalyst for positive change in the eyewear and fashion industry. Their sunglasses, made entirely by hand in South Africa, are made through sustainable materials and production methods, promoting environmental and community initiatives, and aiming for zero waste. Since their inception in 2013, their mission has centred on reducing their environmental footprint, achieving climate positivity through tree planting and upcycling materials for frames. Additionally, they prioritize community well-being by enhancing their value chain, supporting employees and customers, and collaborating with aligned businesses and causes.

Project Information

Project title: Identify opportunities to expand operations in the US

Overall project description:

Following promising success selling wholesale in the US, Ballo is now looking to maximise sales potential through exploring new markets and sales platforms. Alistair welcomes support assessing the areas of opportunity and risk to new business routes and products.

Your mentor: Karabo Makgoane



Project Focus Area 1: Assess TikTok shop as a suitable sales platform, and identify additional opportunities through competitor analysis:

  • TikTok shop has been identified as posing limited financial risk for stocking and distribution.
  • However, Ballo remains open to conducting competitor analysis against other platforms to understand potential risks and benefits.
  • A risk assessment of TikTok may involve considering factors such as algorithm changes affecting visibility, competition within the platform, and dependence on third-party logistics.
  • Conversely, the benefits include access to a vast user base, engagement through interactive content, and the platform's popularity among younger demographics. Evaluating these factors comprehensively can inform their decision-making process.
  • Another point to consider is potential outcomes of US presidential election and any limitations that may be inflicted on TikTok operations in the US
  • Another useful consideration would be a Pros and Cons of the TIKTok shop and Amazon merchant platforms
  • Consultants will also be asked to consider the legal and financial implications or considerations required whilst operating at scale both in the US and SA.

Supporting resources: All data from Ballo online store, Google Analytics and social accounts can be supplied and specific reports can be requested.



Project Focus Area 2 : Assess the risks and benefits of expanding Ballo’s sunglasses range using new materials:

  • Traditionally using cork and wood for their sunglasses, Ballo is exploring the use of plant-based acetate as a new sustainable material
  • Ballo would like to better understand potential implications on brand perception from new or prospective customers, given this would temporarily involve manufacturing outside of SA.
  • This main concern from the brand is that this may undermine the “made in SA” foundational principle of the Ballo brand. Is this risk prohibitive or can it be mitigated through open and honest brand communication?
  • Students may be asked to conduct a survey amongst Ballo’s existing client base and a risk assessment to better understand clients purchasing habits and principles.

Supporting resources:
All data from Ballo online store, Google Analytics and social accounts can be supplied and specific reports can be requested.