Decor you won’t tyre of
EL resident Yolanda Msutwana already has 21 different designs
It was a dirty tyre that started it all.
East London resident Yolanda Msutwana said she found one lying in her yard back in 2012 and, eager to get rid of it, realised there were very few environmentally friendly ways to discard tyres.
Grabbing a paintbrush and some tools, Msutwana converted the tyre into a funky little ottoman by stuffing a cushion inside and giving it wooden legs.
From there, she said she allowed her creativity to take over, leading to the creation of a wall clock and a mirror, also made using old tyres. That is how furniture company Ozzys Eco Designs was born.
Today, the artist has 21 different designs. Her range includes coffee, side and wine tables, sofas, and floor and desk lamps.
Msutwana said her furniture items were great because they’re both unique and functional. “All my designs are based on functionality and it has to be different too,” she said.
“The main thing is I don’t want my items to look like tyres and that is why I paint them. So many people are surprised when they realise that tyres are used.”
Many of her clients design their own items for her to make.
Nothing is ever mass produced. Everything is made from Msutwana’s Southernwood home.
“If I do make something then I try not to make more than five of the same thing. I don’t want people to come across a piece which they bought from me in someone else’s house, so by making less I limit the chances of that happening,” Msutwana said.
She said the company name comes from her middle name, Ozma, given to her by her grandmother.
She said the name was bestowed on a girl child within the family from each generation.
The “eco” comes from the fact that she is “upcycling” a worrying waste product.
“In my family I’m the only one with that name in my generation and I thought what would be a better name to use than that, because I’m building a legacy here which I want future generations to benefit from.
“My company benefits the environment and I like that,” she said.
Msutwana said she started her company with just R500.
“It started out as a hobby, really, and ended up being a full-time business. I always tell people that you don’t always need much to start a business. I like to use the image of tapestry as an example.
“It looks so beautiful from the outside but on the inside it’s a complete mess. Business is like that. Make sure everything looks good in the public eye and that business is going well, even if there is a bit of a struggle on the inside.”..