Native Décor Seven Years Later
It started with a drill and a dream. Seven years on, and Native Décor has carved itself a cosy spot in our homes—and hearts.
The Native Décor story is a heart-warming tale of passion personified. You can’t help but beam with pride for the people behind each piece.
Seed to Sampling from a Side Hustle
Native Décor started as a side hustle. Something that founder, Vusani (Vusi) Ravele, would work on in his spare time. An investment deal on Mnet’s Shark Tank SA would later change the course of Vusi’s humble hobby for good.
If you’re not familiar with the origin story, Native Décor was borne in Vusi’s living room in 2015 after receiving a cordless drill as a Valentine’s Day gift. He simply couldn’t stop making and drilling holes into things.
One year later, he found himself making history on Mnet’s Shark Tank SA TV show. Vusi became the first entrepreneur to benefit from a lucrative investment deal with Gil Oved of The Creative Counsel.
Today, the company employs eleven full-time and three part-time staff members. It occupies a 400-square metre warehouse with a full-fledged production facility in Wynberg, Johannesburg. There are over two hundred products in Native Décor’s range.
Key activities include onsite manufacturing of wood products by CNC machine, spray painting, steel fabrication and welding. This culminates in the manufacturing and dispatch of between 800 and 1000 products per month throughout South Africa.
Native Decor enjoys stunning client relationships with Woolworths, Yuppiechef, Superbalist, Takealot, Rochester, Everyshop, Avo (Nedbank), Knus, One Day Only, and Esque, to name a few.
Without a doubt, the pride of Native Décor is its people who instil the warmth of heart—a bit of themselves—into every piece. It’s their grassroots backgrounds that breathe fresh life into this budding enterprise.
That’s because all staff members that join Native Décor start with little to no knowledge from woodworking, steel fabrication or painting.
“Our philosophy is to uplift previously unskilled or unemployed people who are hungry to learn new skills while making a dignified living,” explains Vusi.
He adds, “With six female staff members in various key positions, we also believe in having a balanced and enjoyable work environment with equal opportunity for all.”
Sprouting Native Décor Heroes
It all starts—and ends—with Thendo.
If anything happens at ND, it’s because Thendo instructed that it gets done. She’s the lovable maestro masterfully coordinating a symphony orchestra.
Somehow, her warm smile and sweet demeanour don’t detract but rather enhance her ability to run the show. There’s no question of who is in charge.
Thendo Joined Native Decor in 2018 after her previous role as an admin clerk left her unfulfilled. Her passion for quality and keeping clients happy has been realised at Native Décor with much gratitude.
Vuyo is the smoothest operator at Native Décor.
She is an expert woodworker with an eye for excellence. Some call her a perfectionist—and with good reason! No one knows how to sand a product to perfection nor fix subtle flaws better. Vuyo will scour each item diligently, and if there is a chip or a scratch, she will waste no time with the remedy.
Vuyo joined in 2020 when her previous employer was downsizing. Her then boss introduced her to Native Decor because she expressed an interest in woodworking.
After trying things out at Native Decor for a day, Vuyo says that she fell in love. The rest, as they say, is history.
Martin is a cut above the rest.
He runs the CNC Machine with precision and knows it so well it could pass as another limb!
Martin was the first official employee of Native Décor back in 2016. He was previously unemployed and acquired the expert knowledge he has today on the job.
When you admire your Native Décor original in your home or office, remember that it made the cut because of Martin.
Is there anything Xoli can’t do?
From sanding to packaging to operating various machines, Xoli has tried her at all of this and excelled! She is passionate about creating with her hands and has a natural flair for it, too.
Among her many achievements, Xoli’s today oversees the welding and steel fabrication department. The team are excited to see where this go-getter all-rounder will find herself next.
Forever Rooted in South Africa
From the start, Native Décor has committed itself to stay true to the spirit with which it was formed. That being to create visually pleasing products that are innovative and functional using sustainable timber.
You will also notice that inspiration from our beautiful country, South Africa radiates from within each design housed by Native Décor’s signature minimalist style.
Finally, every Native Décor piece should evoke happiness. As Vusi says, “Ultimately if we can’t have fun making it, we won’t go down that road.”