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I’ll never tire of making seats, says Susan

Passion, determination, hard work and attraction to anything that can be used for interior decor is what drove Susan Muthaba to start a furniture business.

Although she never studied interior design, Ms Muthaba has been running her business meticulously for eight years.

Making throw-pillows for herself and friends and later refurbishing old seats opened doors for her. She said she didn’t just wake up one day to open the workshop.

“I started from scratch and faced many challenges, saving every penny I got from selling the pillows,” she said.

Customers from all over the county trickle into Urban Space Interiors on Lang’ata Road to make purchases. Mr Daniel Kituku is one of Ms Muthaba’s employees.

He started working at the workshop in 2010 and oversees transportation of furniture bought. He also stands in for Ms Muthamba when she is not around.

Mr Kituku said customers prefer workshops like theirs to supermarkets as they have the liberty to choose fabrics with guidance from Ms Muthaba.

“A client takes part in choosing fabrics and is allowed to monitor how the seats are made. he/she sees what is stuffed in them and is free to make changes if need be.  We also paint and make curtains that match with the seats,” he added.

Fatma Mohammed recently ordered a seven-seater sofa set. “I prefer getting my seats from the place because I can choose the colours I like as well as the fabrics. That way I feel that I have participated not only in buying but also in assembling of my furniture. I can also negotiate the prices unlike in supermarkets or furniture stores. There is also flexibility in payment,” added Ms Mohammed.

The seats cost between Sh65,000 and Sh120,000. Ms Muthaba mainly gets her designs from the internet and makes them to fit her clients tastes.

She buys her fabrics locally with a metre costing Sh550. Although she relies on pop-in customers and through referrals, Ms Muthaba also has corporate customers.

And the business also has challenges.  Though not many, Ms Muthaba cites fading of fabrics when they overstay as her greatest challenge.

She also says her business is seasonal. That means there could be days when she sells nothing.

“We barely make sales during some seasons, especially in January and February when schools have opened and parents are busy looking for fees. At the moment, I am doing what my heart desires and loving it. I haven’t quite made it yet but I hope to expand the business in future. Challenges make us stronger and for that reason, I’m in this business to stay,” she said.