Mbengo a cut above the rest in upholstery

2018-07-05 06:01
Thobile Mbengo at work at his business, 1st Class Upholstery, in Town Two.PHOTOS: simamkele mbanga

Thobile Mbengo at work at his business, 1st Class Upholstery, in Town Two.PHOTOS: simamkele mbanga

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Love, dedication and perseverance is what makes Thobile Mbengo a successful businessman­.

The young entrepreneur, based in Town Two, Khayelitsha is an upholsterer who uses old furniture and refurbishes it.

He said he also specialises in roof lining, seat covers, door panels, sofas and couches.

Mbengo (37) has been operating from his house for almost five years.

“It’s not easy running a business in such a small space and it’s not fair on my family, but I have no other choice,” said the owner of 1st Class Upholstery.

Mbengo said he has no formal training in the trade, but remembers that he started sewing at a very young age, adding that he was determined to learn and master the skill.

He said he was introduced to upholstery in 2006, while working at a furniture shop in Johannesburg and his love and passion for the art grew from there.

“I then decided to start a business in Cofimvaba, in the Eastern Cape, but because business was slow I decided to move to Cape Town. And business has been going very well for me here and my clients are happy,” he said.

Mbengo said his dedication to quality is why he uses only vinyl as the material of choice.

He said vinyl is easier to obtain because it is affordable and clients seem to like it.

He said for a full lounge set (six seater) he charges about R4500 and price range depends on the amount of work and the sewing required.

“Depending on the work, the sewing can take between seven days and a month,” said Mbengo.

Mbengo hopes that one day he can have enough funds to purchase more power tools in order to train and teach young people in his community in upholstery.

“I have tried to employ young people but a lot of them are not serious. They come and go and they are too focused on making money more than they are at learning,” said Mbengo.

“At the moment, I just don’t have the funds.”

People who need to refurbish of fix their furniture and contact him at 078 270 0167 during working hours.


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