Woman’s Vision: building community, one refurbishment at a time

Woman’s Vision is a small, owner-managed, furniture manufacturing and restoration cooperative that was founded in 2016 by two visionaries in their mid-twenties. Their small but capable team of five permanent employees have the skills and equipment to do the woodwork, upholstery and finishing processes for furniture refurbishments, repairs, and manufacturing. Each member of the cooperative has received training in at least one aspect of furniture manufacturing processes. 

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Their main facility is based in Ithala Industrial Park, Hammarsdale with a smaller satellite facility in Lamontville, Durban. While Woman’s Vision is currently capable of servicing customers in the KwaZulu-Natal region, their vision is to become a valued supplier to the furniture retail industry across South Africa while simultaneously uplifting communities through job creation and skills training.  

Woman’s Vision’s potential caught the attention of the panel of lead enterprises (including Homewood, @home and Mr Price Home) during the eThekwini Furniture Cluster’s Small Business Accelerator’s Dragons’ Den event that took place in November 2021. At this event they were awarded the “High Impact Business” award and R15,000 prize money.  

Homewood and Mr Price Home have subsequently expressed interest in unlocking commercial opportunities with Woman’s Vision. To date, the opportunity with Homewood has been formalised through a letter of interest (LOI). 

Since progressing through the initial stages of the Accelerator, their small team has grown from five to eight permanent employees. They have also undergone business case development, received mentorship support from an experienced industry expert, the opportunity to complete a detailed benchmarking study and access to the clusters Team Leader and Emerging Leader Skills Development programmes.  

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Being an SME comes with a unique set of challenges. Thuli listed unplanned downtown due to load-shedding and not having access to a delivery vehicle as two significant challenges that Woman’s Vision have faced over the last year.  

When speaking of the value derived from being part of the Accelerator, Thuli speaks of access to the skills development opportunities, learning to become more efficient in their operations, managing their costs, and finding innovative ways to use best environmental sustainability practices to support the growth of their capabilities. That, and receiving the letter of intent from Homewood.  

Woman’s Vision are excited about the prospects with both Homewood and Mr Price Home and are currently exploring funding opportunities to purchase equipment and a delivery vehicle to further develop their in-house capabilities. 

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Robyn-Leigh Van Laren