When Vusani from Native Décor contacted me regarding a give-away on lovilee I was amazed by his gorgeous hand finished products! By day he is a sales manager for an office consumables business and by night/weekend a mad craftsman with an eye for beautiful, natural creations. It was when his girlfriend bought him a cordless drill for valentines day in 2015 that it all started. He went on a power tools course and shortly after that embarked upon a frenzy of DIY projects. He just had to have a jig saw, scroll saw, circular saw, impact drill, planer, and a multi-tool for all the projects that she had found on Pinterest for him to bring to life.
How did Native Decor start?
I decided that I needed to take my DIY’ing up a notch and join a digital crafting community. After months of researching, I had a CNC machine built in Cape Town and had it couriered down by road freight. The machine arrived wrapped in bubble wrap – 1.5m x 1.2m wide. The plan was to have it sit on an old table in my living room and not take up much space. It took up about four square meters of my living room but I didn’t care because I had a CNC machine.
After making my first piece, I was convinced that this is was the right decision. My living room was caked in dust and my vacuum cleaner was working overtime. Many weekends of prototyping flew past. My neighbours didn’t complain about the noise and neither did my girlfriend (most of the designs were her brainchild so she was only too happy) so I pushed on and eventually completed my range. It was exhausting, frustrating, and expensive in so many ways. This machine had consumed my existence for what seemed to be the longest time. Everything was trial and error. It’s no wonder that it is said that starting a business will always be 3 times harder than you anticipated, take 3 times longer than you expected, and cost 3 times more than you had budgeted.
Once the website was complete and ready to launch, it all made sense and the first sale was simply the biggest rush ever! Some moments just can’t be relived.
Tell us more about the design process?
The current designs are brought to life with the help of a draughtsman who plays a vital role in figuring out the more technical aspects of how our designs fit together as most of them are flat-pack pieces. Once our designs are ready, we then make use of open source maker software to “speak” to the machine and tell it where to cut, when, and how. It gets a bit technical but really is a simple process once you get the hang of it. After digitally crafting, every item is then sanded down two to three times before it’s edges are coated with bees wax and then buffed down to create a smooth overall finish. This is where the love comes in. If you don’t love you’re product, this process can very quickly become a painful one.
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