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By Mosa Matela
Tshepi’s Pallet Crafts is a small business that focuses on adding warmth and comfort into the homes of its customers. It specialises in the production of furniture made out of pallets, wood and rafter plank.
A pallet is a flat transport structure, which supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift, a pallet jack, a front loader, a jacking device, or an erect crane.
Tshepang Zwakala is a 19-year old creative, who saw an opportunity and decided to grab it with both hands. During his gap year, he pondered a lot on what he could do to keep himself busy, up until he had his “lightning in a bottle” moment that led to the birth of Tshepi’s Pallet Crafts.
Pallets were available in rather large amounts at his place of residence. This allowed him to explore and play around with it until eventually developing the necessary skill and love for furniture development.
“I can’t really say anything inspired me. I played around with the pallet until I realised that I can actually make something out of it. With further encouragement from my mother, I decided to begin making furniture professionally,” said Zwakala.
Initially, Zwakala did not have anything to keep him inspired, which resulted in lack of drive and motivation. However, after taking stock of his situation, he realised that there was no business in his family. He saw this as his opportunity to create something that will not only benefit him, but benefit his loved ones as well.
From there, Zwakala began experimenting and watching YouTube videos that aided in perfecting his craft. He first mastered making bedroom furniture – specifically headboards- before realising his potential and expanding the range of his products.
He initially worked with just pallets, before incorporating wood and rafter plank into his work as well. He buys these products, before using a drill and chainsaw to chip everything into his and his costumers’ liking.
When asked about the major challenges he has faced thus far, Zwakala informed this publication that he struggles a lot due to lack of equipment, the people he attempted to work with and the clients he worked for.
He expressed how the people he worked with were very money oriented, which led to compromise in the quality of his products. He then went on to mention how clients have put him in rather sticky situations.
“I have had clients who have refused to pay me after receiving their payments. In order to put an end to this, I requested for clients to send a deposit but it was all to no avail, I would still not get my money,” said Zwakala.
This all put him in a rather sticky situation, however, Zwakala was and is still determined to rise above his challenges and create products of good quality.
When asked about how far he wants to expand his business, Zwakala mentioned that he hopes on progressing into a furniture shop that will create opportunity for his lineage.
Zwakala believes that all up-and-coming entrepreneurs should genuinely have passion and love for what they’re doing. “I believe that once you go into entrepreneurship with a money orientated mindset, there will be a time where the cleanliness and quality of your work will be comprised,” “Start a business based on something you love and something that keeps you rejuvenated and happy, this will ensure progression.”
Discipline has gotten him this far and he believes that it is the key to unlocking all his dreams and goals whilst leading him to success.
All his products are listed on “tshepipalletcrafts” on IG and Tshepis Pallet Crafts on Facebook.