Streaming issues? Report here
Refilwe Moloto 2019 1500 BW
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
06:00 - 09:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Today with Kieno Kammies
See full line-up
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
06:00 - 09:00

How pawn went mainstream (and how Richard Mukheibir became its biggest star)

2 October 2014 12:53 PM
The story behind Cash Converters and its pawn star CEO Richard Mukheibir…

(Click here for more "Shapeshifter" articles such as this one.)

The year was 1994; the dawn of democracy. “I thought our country was a place of the future,” says Mukheibir. “I was very, very thrilled about the opportunities of the new South Africa. I had lots of excitement, lots of passion and no money.”

Despite lacking capital and knowing very little about franchising, Mukheibir brought the Cash Converters concept from Australia to South Africa and opened his first store in Cape Town on 1 October 1994.

Pawn brokers vs. Second-hand dealers

There are currently in excess of 12 000 pawn brokers in South Africa of which Cash Converters are, by far, the largest one. Pawn brokers differ from second-hand dealers in that they don’t only sell used goods, but also lend money – a very lucrative income stream for Cash Converters. “You give us your watch,” says Mukheibir, “and we give you R50. We’ll then hold on to your watch and, if you have the money, with a bit of interest, by the deadline we’ll give you back your watch.”

Pawn goes mainstream

Against all odds Cash Converters brought pawn broking into the mainstream retail environment. “It was a challenge for us, because we’re not perceived to be aspirational in any way, shape or form,” says Mukheibir.

Mukheibir ran the first Cape Town store for two years before selling it off to the first Cash Converters franchisee. He then opened 12 new stores in Cape Town before relocating to Gauteng to run the business from there.

Convenient like a McDonalds drive-through

“We aim to conveniently provide people with quick access to cash,” says Mukheibir. “You’re always tripping over something lying around at home and want to get rid of it. You bring it to us, we value it and, literally, within 10 minutes you’re on your way home with money in your pocket. It’s like a McDonalds drive-through. You want food quickly, you go there.”

Enter micro-lending…

It was around 2005, with the economy in top-gear, that Cash Converters also became a micro lender. “Everyone was buying new and we struggled to get stock. That’s when we started supplying customers with short-term loans.

“Tough times are good for Cash Converters; it’s like having the wind behind you,” admits Mukheibir. “But in the end you still have to service your customers properly and you still have to pay prices that are fair and reasonable or they’ll go elsewhere.”

Taking on the Gumtrees and OLXs of the world

“Online is, for us, the next frontier,” says Mukheibir. “Part of our strategy going forward is having a website that sells the products in our bricks and mortar stores. You’ll then be able to buy anything off the website or from our stores. It won’t matter whether you’re in Johannesburg or Cape Town; you’ll be able to buy it from anywhere.”

Cash Converters recently opened a number of very successful stores in Namibia and Zambia. “Our focus for the time being is, however, South Africa where our 70 stores have a combined turnover of almost R500-million.”

(Click here for more "Shapeshifter" articles such as this one.)


2 October 2014 12:53 PM

More from ShapeShifter

were-hiringpng

Still young(ish)? Entry-level jobs available on Lulaway’s employment platform

30 September 2019 2:36 PM

Lulaway has placed 30 000 young South Africans in jobs since 2011. Bruce Whitfield interviews its CEO, Jake Willis.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

pape-fund-managerspng

38 deals, not one failure! – Bruce Whitfield on black-owned Pape Fund Managers

30 September 2019 11:13 AM

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Zuko Kubukeli, CEO at Pape Fund Managers.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

growth-bpng

Need a loan to grow your small business? There’s a pot of money waiting

23 September 2019 11:06 AM

Spartan SME Finance provides finance for small businesses. Bruce Whitfield interviews its CEO, Kumaran Padayachee.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

click-foundationpng

Grade-4s in SA don’t understand what they’re ‘reading’. Enter Click Foundation…

9 September 2019 1:38 PM

Nicola Harris (founder, Click Foundation) on her mission to radically transform educational outcomes of disadvantaged learners.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

pieter-de-villiers-clickatellpng

Pieter de Villiers is (yet another) South African taking Silicon Valley by storm

29 August 2019 6:29 PM

He’s the co-founder of Clickatell, global leaders in application-to-person mobile messaging and mobile transactional services.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

fred-roed-heavy-chefpng

Meet Fred Roed, founder of 'Heavy Chef' (SA’s most popular monthly tech event)

21 August 2019 7:09 PM

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews the author of "The Heavy Chef Guide to Starting a Business in South Africa".

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

justin-bonellojpg

Meet braai master Justin Bonello, a great South African with a heart of gold

19 August 2019 6:06 PM

Justin Bonello (of the show "Cooked") is the founder of Neighbourhood Farm. It employs unskilled community members to farm.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

four-cousins-van-loverenjpg

Story of Van Loveren Vineyards and 'Four Cousins', SA's top-selling bottled wine

29 July 2019 8:28 PM

Bruce Whitfield interviews Phillip Retief, CEO at Van Loveren Vineyards, the origin of the SA's top-selling wine, "Four Cousins".

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Johnny Clegg1

(2017) Meet Johnny Clegg, a legend of legends on his final journey

17 July 2019 6:21 PM

[From the archives] Ray White interviewed Johnny Clegg on 27 September 2017 about his life and times and final journey.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

adri-williams-khayelitsha-cookiesjpg

Adri Williams - Ubuntu personified - saved Khayelitsha Cookies and changed lives

9 July 2019 6:30 PM

Bruce Whitfield interviews Williams about her transformative business delivering quality cookies to hotels and Pick n Pay.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward