When Tameron Haralambous asked her husband Peter to build a changing table for their nursery, she had no idea it would set them on the path to becoming award-winning furniture designers.
“We were trying to save money by making the table ourselves, but soon friends and family started asking if we could make a few more pieces for them,” says Tameron. “We got the idea to start posting some pieces on Gumtree, and the rest is history.”
While neither Tameron (a precision driver in the movie industry) and Peter (who worked in textile sales) had experience as furniture makers, they soon learned the ropes. “We found out that a shocking amount of good, usable wood gets thrown out as off-cuts and we started picking it up to make our furniture and décor pieces. Nowadays, it’s much harder to come by, but we’re still committed to use every scrap of wood.”
Commitment to people and environment
Initially the couple sold their wares out of the garage, then graduated to a container and a warehouse. Today Eco Furniture Design operates out of two warehouses and employs over 30 staff members, making custom furniture for homes and offices. Staying true to their “green” nature, Tameron also launched African Design and Décor, a company that uses off-cuts to produce colourful decorations and furniture.
“We’re committed to the environment and to upskilling. We’ve employed four interns and are doing skills development through a company called AVA (Action Volunteers Africa), Learn to Earn and TZN placements.” Dozens of unskilled workers, some literally taken off the streets, have gotten on their feet and become more employable as a result. “It’s important to us to pass on our knowledge and to help fellow South Africans get on their feet.”
Eco Furniture Design has won the Department of Trade and Industry Certificate of Achievement, NBSC Top 20 Award, NBSC National Skills Development Award and the National Gazelles Top 40 Award and regularly displays their goods at design exhibitions.
“We are still advertising on Gumtree though,” says Tameron.
She believes that persistence is the key to success for small businesses. “We literally come a long way from the garage to here, and if we can do it, anyone can.”
Eco Furniture Designs’ furniture can be bought online.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.
It does not matter which field you are currently pursuing in, in terms of career choices. As long as you have passion and you are driven, there is nothing you cannot achieve. After having made a discovery that their furniture idea has soared to great heights, now it is the time to think of their future investment to bring their great idea to even more people. They need to first think of furniture storage, manpower and so on if they wish to bring their business to a greater scale.
I think that these days, there are a lot of options and avenues for companies to pick a more sustainable method of operations. Whether it's using more sustainable energy production methods or renewable energy in storage, or even recyclable materials in their product lines, everybody should be able to do their part in a small or big way!