The furniture manufacturing industry is driven by demand for products that are affordable and better than the ones customers want to replace. Locally, the sector has been gaining traction as a number of youths have been setting up businesses to meet market demand, requirements as well as remain competitive, as one needs to be creative.
It was in 2019 when local interior designer, Imelda Morupule also decided to venture into this sector through her company, House of Kumi.
Morupule told BusinessMonitor that through her research, she realised that Batswana want custom-made furniture. “House of Kumi was established to bridge the existing gap by offering Batswana affordable yet luxurious furniture pieces through the expertise of local breed designers and carpenters,” she said.
The company tailor-makes unique and quality furniture pieces that include large ironing boards, mirrors and toilet paper stands amongst other pieces. They also offer turnkey interior design services. Further, they do site visits, site analysis, interior consultations, space planning, 3D renders, technical drawings, conceptual presentations and project management for corporate and private clients. Narrating her journey, she said their first client was a dental clinic at the CBD, which was a referral from a fellow contractor. “We loved the whole experience since we got to do the space planning, technical drawings and installations and project management. We were happy with the final outcome,” she explained. Morupule said unlike her competitors, she always ensures that she gives the best customer service as when satisfied they always recommend [her business to other] people.
Touching on the challenges, she said, it is always a struggle to find suitable carpenters who are talented and affordable.
“Also, we still have a lot to teach our communities about the importance of interior design to living spaces as it affects mood, energy and productivity,” she said. Just like any other business, the COVID-19 pandemic also affected theirs forcing them to close shop for some months, which led to stopping production and installations.
Moving forward, Morupule has bigger plans of owning a furniture plant; expand its footprint by opening branches around the world and export to those countries. “Even though we started by funding our business, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development through the Youth Development Fund backed us. Local Enterprise Authority was also instrumental by offering us a workshop space after we applied,” she said.