Hawaii Bedding came into existence after Mandla Radebe’s friend was retrenched from his previous job at a leading bed supplier, creating an opportunity for him to enter the market. Thanks to the industry knowledge that his friend provided, Radebe was able to launch his business in 2015.
Speaking to Vutivi News, Radebe said that when he opened his company, which was based in Emdeni and Protea Glen in Soweto, he had no knowledge of the business. “My friend and I started by selling beds on our own. However, I wasn’t satisfied with just selling beds. I wanted to make and own my own bedding brand,” he said.
“My friend was content with stocking and selling individual beds and so we parted ways and I took the route of independence.” Radebe supplies beds for bed and breakfast establishments and student accommodation in Soweto. His shop in Protea Glen also served as a display store for walk-in customers, who bought his beds because they were affordable, he said.
Each bed was tailor-made according to a customer’s needs. “I do not design the same bed for student accommodations, B&Bs and people because they each have their own specifications,” he told Vutivi News. “For example, if someone walks into the shop and wants a bed, I take into consideration the combined weight of the customer and their partner and the usage of the bed, add an extra 20kg to my calculations, and make a bed.
“Some customers suffer from back and bone problems so I have to use specialised foam that can accommodate their posture,” the businessman said. Radebe said that his initial target market was student accommodation and B&Bs. However, his business grew as satisfied customers recommended his beds to other people.
“Customers would call and inform me that they either experienced the joy of sleeping on one of my beds at a B&B or were referred by the owner of the B&B and soon business started coming in,” he explained. This helped him open a second branch in the heart of Protea Glen.
“I realised that in order for me to compete with the best, I had to be cheaper than the rest because I didn’t want to charge exorbitant prices for people who live in the townships,” Radebe said. He said that for example, the same quality bed someone could buy elsewhere for R5000 would cost less than R3000 at his stores.
“Some even prefer our beds because they cannot believe that they can get good quality (beds) for affordable prices and jump at the opportunity to buy our beds when they see how affordable and soft they are.”