An up-and-coming Cape Town designer was able to begin manufacturing his own bags and accessories after receiving training on prototyping and sampling at the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI).
Inga Gubeka, a qualified interior designer, he says his passion for design stems from his childhood when he used to watch lifestyle television show Top Billing.
Gubeka now owns Indalo Decor, which manufactures luxury goods and accessories such as lamps, ottomans and bags.
After completing his studies, Gubeka says he realised that he should have studied product design when he became frustrated with having to outsource the manufacturing of his product.
It was then that he was referred to the CCDI by a friend.
“I went to the CCDI and I started making cellphone covers and lamps in preparation for the Design Indaba which was held in March 2013. So I was able to develop all my products in quite a short time,” says Gubeka.
His products caught the eye of furniture business incubator Furntech and he was invited for an interview before being taken on as an incubatee.
“I went there and loved the space and they offered to train me as part of their programme,” says Gubeka.
Since April last year he has had access to Furntech’s equipment and resources with which he uses to prototype his designs.
“I was able to turn what I had put on paper into something. I could make samples and sell to close friends to see what they like and did not like about my stuff,” says Gubeka.
By doing this he was able to gauge how he could improve his products.
“My bags were being sold by a store, but I have since supplied them with fewer because I am improving the current design and only want to sell the best (as the finished product),” says Gubeka.
Previously, he produced about 30 bags a month at a cost of R1 200 each, but he has since cut production to 15 while he improves the design. He hopes that with improvements to his systems and machinery, he will be able to manufacture about 60 bags a month.
He dreams of being seen as an international designer and being able to deliver so as to meet the demand for his goods on time.
Gubeka’s dream is not far-fetched as he has already been invited to showcase his designs in Paris in September.
“I need to make a decision on whether to be here for the opening of my store or go to Paris. Both are fantastic opportunities, but I think being here and supervising the opening of the store is more important,” he says.
Something he believes that he will need to work on is planning.
“I would not be in the position where I need to make a decision on where to be if I had used my time earlier and put things in place (so that) I am able to go to the Paris show and open my new shop in the same month,” says Gubeka.