For Dimpho Mpela, customer satisfaction and feeling like she is trusted by her clients are more important than her profit margin. And this is why she believes it is critical to consider how people live and what they love when she designs and makes furniture.
Mpela told Vutivi News that her company, Home and Decor Furniture, started in 2020 during the lockdown. With the financial backing of her husband, she was able to launch her business venture, which blossomed from a love of fabrics, fashion and art. “I started the business with R40,000 that I received from my husband. Before I started making money from the business, I used to design coffee tables with tires and kitchen tables for friends and family members,” she said.
“When we entered into the first hard lockdown in 2020, I saw that people realised that they did not have the necessary furniture needed to transform their homes into offices since many people were forced to work from home,” Mpela said that she originally operated her business from her home in Roodepoort in Johannesburg before she moved to a bigger space in Croesus, where she works with four employees. While she had the money to start her business, Mpela told Vutivi News she encountered other obstacles.
She quickly learned that she was operating in a male-dominated sector and “somehow posed a threat to them”. “I approached a few manufacturers with the intent to learn a thing or two from them, but they advised me not to continue with the business. I had to stop listening to them and many others because it seemed like they were not eager to support me,” Mpela said.
“I had to find my own way to make a breakthrough, and I was driven by my passion to overcome these obstacles.” Explaining how she worked with her clients, Mpela said she opted for a homely approach. Most of her customers were from Gauteng and were new homeowners or homeowners looking to redo their homes. “I always seek to understand the culture, lifestyle and daily life of my customers… whether they have children or pets, whether their yards are paved or not, or even whether they are willing to change their home paint,” she said.
“I decorate their homes and build furniture based on the feedback from these sessions and they really appreciate the honesty and the effort I put in trying to understand their needs. “For me, it’s all about building that trust and that is good for the business image,” Mpela said.