By Sizakele Nduli
Two youngsters from Madantsane in the Eastern Cape are making a name for themselves through their high-end bespoke pieces made from wood pallets and tan leather.
Yondela Sombalo, 33, and Sibulele Ntobe, 34, are self-taught.
According to Sombalo, Ntobe who founded Goldspoon Bottega, made his first wood pallet kitchen table in 2019. But it was not until 2021 that the pair partnered up to create their first leather and wood bag.
“We are self-taught through YouTube videos and [also] get advice from experienced people and our suppliers on how to get a certain feel or look with the leather,” Sombalo told Vutivi News.
The pair not only takes pride in making outdoor furniture, but also makes luxury wood and leather bags, earrings, wallets, belts and accessories that cater to individual preferences while promoting product sustainability.
“We source the leather and other tools locally and we recycle wood pallets,” said Sombalo, adding that they collected the pallets no longer in use from local shops.
Sombalo said they currently worked from their lounge because they could not afford a more functional space.
“We are currently just the two of us running the business and doing the work. We are unable to employ at the moment due to financial challenges and lack of working space.
“We do welcome help in all areas should there be anyone who can fully or partly assist with the challenges we encounter in building this journey,” Sombalo added.
Despite numerous challenges, the pair has made great strides in their business and has been offered multiple opportunities to advertise their work on radio shows like Mdantsane FM, Tru FM, and Radio 2000. They have also sold their pieces at the Eastern Cape Craft Collection Shop and exhibited at the Ministerial Sector Consultation.
“Registering a trademark and having a certificate of authenticity is also one thing we [are] proud of as it further authenticates the value of our brand, value proposition and products,” Sombalo said.
Their long-term goal is to expand into the global market and reach a wide customer base.
“We would love to be able to share the skill we have learnt and see the business growing to an international standard,” Sombalo concluded.