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Leatherworks Couple To Relaunch Brand

PAULINE DIKUELO
Lopang Baig PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
A couple has embraced the abundant opportunities in the leather industry and would re-launch their leather products manufacturing factory under the brand ‘The Guest’ in August.

Lopang Baig, who owns Morongwa Upholstery shop as well as Morongwa Institute of Leather Technologies and Leather Works along with her husband, said in an interview that the factory is fully furnished and they are working on the finishing touches.

“We are currently in the process of selecting the people who will be working at the factory,” she told Monitor Business. “You can imagine that we received more than 100 applications, but only want 10 people who we are going to extensively train and engage at the factory.”

The chosen 10 would go for training in Pakistan for a month, followed by an attachment at one of South Africa’s leather manufacturing factories to learn about mass production. Baig said they intend to produce between 100 to 150 pairs of shoes per day, which would expand due to the demand in the market. She said they are currently in talks with some chain stores to supply them adding that they want to start with shoes first.She further urged locals to embrace an opportunity in the tannery industry as she mentioned that they import about 98% of their leather whilst the few that they get locally mostly has health issues.

Baig said when they started their

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operations about nine years ago, she was not aware that her dreams would be successful because at that time there was not much hype around the leather industry.“My passion for leather motivated me to push hard and together with my husband we opened a shop where we were selling upholstery material, leather tools, shoe components and leather machines, which we are still selling,” she said.The determined Baig said they then started manufacturing leather belts, shoes and bags. Their creativity wooed Options, the South African chain store, as they started supplying them with bags.

“Business was going so well until the recession, which affected us as well, as Options stopped the deal that we had,” she said. According to Baig, this did not stop them as they decided to open the Institution where they train locals who want to know about the whole process of making products out of leather. 

She said they got this motivation after receiving a lot of enquiries from individuals visiting their store to purchase leather. The courses include basic leatherworks, belt making, and sandal making as well as higher leatherwork shoe making usually known as cobbler. Last year they graduated about 120 students at their institution.



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