To Top

Hustler : Cole J Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka is the co-owner of RM Athletics apparel business.  He is the brain behind the T-shirt line that has the words Sitole Ki?  emblazoned on them. He takes us through his journey doing this business.

What does RM stand for and what exactly do you do?
It stands for Real Men and at RM Athletics, we are involved in art, textile, screen and digital printing, graphic and concept designing and building.

Is all that connected to sports?
Athletics cuts across everything and if you look at all leading designer brands, they are associated with sports. Look at Nike, Reebok and Adidas, not all the designs they make are sports affiliated. That’s the case with our brand.

You’ve just said “we.” Is there someone else in this business?
Yes there is. I have a silent partner who likes to be anonymous. He invested a lot of money in this business.

Where did you get the inspiration to start this business?
In high school, I used to do fine art, so I basically followed my passion but my sister is mostly credited for having inspired me more into it. I also did art at campus, majoring in oil printing and special graphics designing.

When did you start up this business?
In March last year, although I made the first T-shirt in 2009 with the words smart and proud, which I consider my foundation. I took a break up in 2011 before finally taking this up as a career last year.

Where do you make these T-shirts from?
I’m situated in Kansanga just next to Dejavu Bar or you can reach me on 0758332534.

What are your prices?
They vary on the quantity and type of job. Major works cost Shs50,000 a single T-shirt. This is original work whereby I derive my own idea just like the Sitole Ki? T-shirt. It’s original and much emphasis has to be dedicated towards it while minor work costs Shs30,000. This is more of copy and paste.
How much did you buy the machine that you use to print on the T-shirts?
We bought it at Shs40m.

What are some of your brands?
Young Smart and Proud, Sitole Ki?, Badi World and the latest Salvado’s MFO (Man From Ombokolo). I have also done projects for Janzi Band, Buzz, Swangz Avenue, Baboon Forest and Big Talent. I’m also doing projects for Buganda and Kampala Yaffe.

How long does it take to print?
Depends on the number of T-shirts and what kind of job. It can take about 10 minutes to print 12 T-shirts, but about four days to make 10,000. Some jobs can also take years because I believe in perfection.

How much can you make in a good season?
It’s the political campaign season. If my proposal is approved, I could make as much as Shs200m for 100,000 T-shirts. This business is all about making a brand in that someone can buy shares in the business or big companies use your services.

More in Features & Profiles

  • Some people deserve my diva attitude

    super model vibes: Stacie Aamito Lagum is headlining Kampala Fashion Week for the second time. The event runs from October 20...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Hustler: Linda Pacy Katusiime

    TALKING DESIGNS: Linda Katusiime started her business by doing deliveries for friends and relatives. Bringing in items from Turkey, Germany, China...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • How to be Mr Safe Hands Denis Onyango

    CATCHING BALLS: He may not be able to save you from your financial woes, but shoot any ball in his direction...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Zil escaped from class to sing

    Early dreams: He is only 25, but for him, it is already a story of grass to grace. Zil Nantamegwa started...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Kalifah has never called anyone dad

    REINVENTING SELF: Since the flop of his concert, singer Kalifah Aganaga has been a little quiet. Last we heard, he had...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 15, 2016
  • People had hijacked my life – Faridah

        New beginnings: Social media was on Tuesday awash with photos of Faridah Nakazibwe’s wedding to boyfriend, Dr Omar Ssali...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 15, 2016
  • What Queen of Katwe means to them

    Katwe experience: Based on the vibrant story of Phiona Mutesi, whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016
  • How to be… the no-nonsense Jennifer Musisi

    KCCA bosslady: She is probably the most popular woman in Kampala, and no – not for scandals or anything else, but...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016
  • Meet a celeb : How Pablo wants to be remembered

    Rib-cracker: He is among the first Stand up comedians in Uganda. Today Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo is a household name in...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016