NATURALLY, retrenchment is a disheartening and painful process which brings uncertainty to the affected person because one does not know for how long they will be unemployed.
When one door closes, another opens. Following this philosophy helped Mr Stanley Tafa (45) of Makokoba suburb in Bulawayo achieve his goal of running his own business after he was retrenched in 2008.
For him, being retrenched was the perfect opportunity for him to take a leap and fulfil his dream.
While fate may have had a hand in the development, positive attitude, which Mr Tafa clearly has in spades, has helped him conquer the fear of the unknown upon losing his job.
He has boldly defied all expectations of a retrenched worker by diving into a new enterprise of being his own boss.
Retrenched from his job at a local bed manufacturing company, Mr Tafa saw retrenchment not as the end of his career, but rather the beginning of a new one.
Mr Tafa, who lost his job at the height of the country’s economic challenges in 2008, buys old mattresses from neighbouring South Africa and refurbishes them into beautiful beds for resale. He operates his small, but thriving business from a backyard at his home in .
Buoyed by a wealth of experience spanning 20 years in the industry, Mr Tafa, a father of seven, is eking out a living through refurbishing mattresses.
“I was retrenched from General Bedding Company in 2008. I believe that as one door closes another door opens hence retrenchment was my greatest blessing,” he said.
“In fact, I was plodding along in a corporate environment, which was dull and didn’t provide the fulfilment I was looking for.”
Mr Tafa started making beds at Manwele Market in Mzilikazi suburb with colleagues in the same industry.
“At the market where I used to operate from, I had a lot of competition from other people who were also making beds, and again what exacerbated the situation was that I did not have adequate tools of the trade,” he said.
Mr Tafa said he started saving money to buy tools and machinery.
In 2010, he raised enough money and bought the required machinery required for the job and subsequently started operating from his home.
“To improve on quality, I adopted the modern designs and fabric type that is being sought after by many customers. I realised that there was stiff competition when operating from Manwele.
“Operating from my backyard helped me overcome some of the challenges. I started buying mattresses from South Africa, which are good quality and largely preferable to local ones and this helped me beat my competitors.”
Today, Mr Tafa is a household name in Bulawayo, and supplies several bed stores and furniture stores in the city with his products.
He has since opened his own bed shop in Inyathi in Bubi District, Matabeleland North.
“I set out to find the ideal location for my shop; but this was trickier than I had imagined. I know the importance of finding the right spot and I wasn’t willing to rush,” said Mr Tafa.
“Patience and persistence paid off and in 2019 I became the proud owner of Stanley Tafa Furniture and for me it was a dream come true.”
“We are facing challenges with recognition and marketing of our products in the industry that we are operating in, because most people prefer buying items that come from big shops. This gives us a challenge in the sense that we get a few orders to serve and business is slow,” said Mr Tafa.
The business employs two people and looks after hundreds of customers, both individuals and shops in Bulawayo. [email protected]