For cousins, Shadreck Linyanga and Staff Nahipa from Chimwaza Village, Traditional Authority Mabuka’s area in Mulanje, cane furniture business is a lucrative enterprise.
The business dates back to 2012 after Linyanga had spent two years learning the trade from his neighbour at Soche East in Blantyre.
“Our neighbour was making cane furniture and other things. After learning, I worked with him on contract. He would delegate some work and give me a certain percentage from the payment. He then relocated to Mozambique and since customers were used to the place, I carried on the business,” says Linyanga.
Nahipa joined the business in 2005 and learnt the trade for six months.
Business has since grown and the cousins who are in their thirties, have engaged five people to help them.
Nahipa also went back to school at Mlauli Private Secondary School where he attained a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) certificate last year.
“I want to study accounting at Pact College next year,” says Nahipa.
The entrepreneurs plan to venture into the export market.
“We desire to export our products. Two months ago, we sent four sets of cane chairs to South Africa and we hope that is the beginning,” says Nahipa.
Depending on the orders, Linyanga says they can produce four or five sets in a week. He adds that their furniture designs are unique hence, they attract more customers.
But according to Linyanga, defaulters are the biggest setback to the business.
“There are people who afford a down payment, but they disappear when they get the chairs without paying the balance,” he says.