What started as a hobby has turned into a five-year journey of growth and challenges being overcome for East London’s interior décor advisor, manufacturer and supplier of custom designed furniture and curtaining Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions.
The brainchild of Reneé Badenhorst who has over 20 years’ experience in the textile industry, Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions has captured the attention of local customers having recently won its second Best Stand award at the Home Expo in June which the company also won in the 2016 edition.
In 2017, Badenhorst was also a finalist at the regional Business Woman’s Association awards in the emerging entrepreneur category. The company has completed a total of 118 home, office and corporate makeovers in the last five years.
The company is one of many local companies in the creative sector which contributes to the Eastern Cape being the fourth largest contributor to national real GDP in the textile industry generating R941.6 million or 8.4% of the sector contribution in South Africa in 2018.
The Eastern Cape was also the fourth major contributor to textile, clothing and leather goods employment in South Africa with 6 827 persons employed (6.4%) in 2018.
South African textile, clothing and leather goods industry exports were worth R18.6 billion in 2018 and contributed 1.5% to national total exports.
“When I set up shop in 2015, I couldn’t have imagined we would still be here five years later. There is an incredible appetite for creative furniture items, styled curtains and designer blinds to name a few. Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions’ design style consists of a balance of natural, modern and contemporary.
“The company has also received a helping hand along the way which has improved our profile in the industry. For example, at this year’s Home Expo, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) paid for 90% of the floor space for our stand where we built three room settings, enabling the main categories to be showcased, namely blinds, furniture and curtaining.
“If ECDC didn’t pay for part of the floor space we wouldn’t be able to meet the entire budget required. This was fantastic access to market exposure which generated solid leads for the business,” says Badenhorst.
Badenhorst’s Berea showroom is a showcase of what can be done with custom designed furniture and window treatments for all spaces.
It is an imaginative space which has made residential and commercial customers fall inlove with the company’s creative solutions in custom furniture, re-upholstery, wall papers, refurbishment of lounge suites, antiques, shutters as well as indoor and outdoor blinds.
ECDC business support senior manager Mpumi Fundam says the corporation aims to provide market access opportunities for businesses such as Décor Blinds and Shades Solutions and to improve their competitiveness.
“This is an important undertaking because a considered mix of financial and non-financial support offering is important in improving and growing small businesses in the Eastern Cape. For a business such as Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions, non-financial support instruments should help the company gain access to markets and improve its profitability. ECDC is proud that the company is on a growth path ,” says Fundam.
“ECDC’s interventions in the textile industry support business growth, competitiveness and productivity. The effective implementation of these instruments supports job creation and the sustainability of small businesses in particular.
“The idea is to grow a quality pipeline of entrepreneurs who are ready to benefit from ECDC’s expansive loan, trade and investment and other support packages. These non-financial support packages manifest themselves in the form of business development services and incubation.”
Badenhorst, who worked in marketing at the apparel and home furnishing divisions at Da Gama Textiles for 11 years, says Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions uses local manufacturers in the development of customised curtains and accessories, sandblasting, interior and exterior painting, rugs, mirrors and scatter cushions among other items.
“The phenomenal rise in popularity for personalised furniture, custom designed curtain treatments and uniquely-styled blinds have propelled Décor Blinds and Shade Solutions growth. People want their homes to be a place to entertain and enjoy.
“Offices, school receptions as well as health spa’s want their rooms to be the best due to the many competitors out there.
“The Eastern Cape lacks a variety of similar products as are available in the larger cities which leaves a gap in the market for affordable products with a designer look. The fast pace of life also inhibits clients from being able to get to the function of coordinating fabrics with styles.
“The company places emphasis on service and product excellence, caring for each customer, with the end goal of bringing the clients request into a lived experience,” Badenhorst says.