A Katlehong man went from being retrenched during Covid-19 to starting his own business manufacturing outdoor furniture products from recycled materials.
Hudson Diphofa is 33-year-old entrepreneur established Structural Poly Plastic Furniture & Project in May 2020, during the height pandemic when he was desperate and could not see a way out of his situation. His company is unique in that it makes picnic tables, benches and jungle gyms from recycled items.
“We’re not only looking to build awareness but also a shift to destroy the idea that waste is garbage – waste is simply raw material that can be used to create a variety of reusable products,” says Diphofa.
Just recently a jungle gym made by Diphofa from Sani-touch’s used pre-saturated sanitising trolley wipes was donated to Qedusizi Day Care Centre in Brakpan by Shoprite.
The entrepreneur who has experience working in the sustainable manufacturing field said he started his business as way to make an income.
“I lost my job as a result of the pandemic. I desperately needed an income so I decided to start up my own business, both to provide for my own employment as well as to create for others who had also lost their jobs and were battling to get re-employed,” says Diphofa.
The entrepreneur received no financial assistance when he started his business. Instead he would request a deposit at the start of every project or use his personal savings to get started.
Diphofa’s company has seen significant growth since he started manufacturing outdoor furniture in 2020. Initially he only supplied the Ekhurhuleni municipality area with recycled plastic furniture.
“Although business was slow in those first few months, there was progress and growth,” Diphofa says.
After partnering with Sani-touch and Shoprite, the entrepreneur can now have the capacity to supply other municipalities and provinces.
Diphofa believes Structural Poly Plastic Furniture & Project is a one of a kind business.
"I am the only business making outdoor furniture out of recycled material in my community, this makes my business unique.”
Despite being a business that started just two years ago, the entrepreneur has big plans for his company. Diphofa plans to target game resorts, golf courses, schools, hospitals, malls and private homes to draw in a client base for recycled furniture business.
He also wants to continue building his business and eventually want to employ at least 20 workers.
Although Diphofa’ s story of starting his business during the pandemic is inspiring, the entrepreneur counts another businessman as his inspiration.
Diphofa has not shared the name of the businessman, however, he did have the following words for his inspiration.
“The owner of a plastic furniture company is one of the people who inspires me. He has mentored and supported me and been instrumental in helping my business to grow.” Diphofa says.