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Let frustration fuel inspiration: CEO of Denic Cabinets, Dipuo Phakhati, talks DIY and Dreaming Big!

Written by Staff Writer

November 30, 2020

by Charndré Emma Kippie

Denic Cabinets is a proudly South African, B-BBEE level 1 contributor in the carpentry industry. Offering a complete solution of design, manufacturing and installation of customised kitchen units and built-in-cupboards, CEO Dipuo Phakhati, is proud to manufacture all components of the cabinetry in her very own factory, with the help of qualified cabinet makers who have a combined experience of 65 years in the industry. Her slogan, ‘You Dream, We Create’, is one which truly resonates with her personal story and career path…

Dipuo Phakhati grew up in a small mining area called Carletonville, a township situated in Khutsong of West Rand, Gauteng. Growing up, it was just her and her brother, who lived with extended family whilst her dedicated parents pursued their teaching careers, respectively, in QwaQwa of eastern South Africa. During these years, Dipuo’s grandmother played a crucial role in her life, influencing her determination to study and pursue a career in engineering. Between 2005 and 2007, she studied Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, and later went on to obtain her BTech Degree in Metallurgical Engineering at the Tshwane University of Technology.

“I pursued a career in Rustenburg; I worked in the mines for about 8 years. After this, I joined corporate, and worked for the Bank for about 3 years… They ran a competition at Standard Bank. It was actually part of their ‘What’s Your Next?’ campaign, where permanent employees who had a side hustle could take part in, and win four months of paid leave to go focus on their side hustle. Long story short is that I won the competition”, says Dipuo.

Already having started her design and installation kitchen business, the only thing Dipuo had been outsourcing at the time, was the manufacturing. In 2016, as she was renovating her own home, Dipuo became frustrated by multiple consultations with contractors as none of them were able to cater to her personality – they just did not get her vision. This is why she took it upon herself to do the design process herself. She then partnered with a young carpenter (who had wanted to start his own small business) and the rest is history. Quickly after registering her business, Dipuo met the original owners of Denic Cabinets, purely by chance, and they were looking to sell their business – in no time they handed the company over to her due to her strong entrepreneurial skills and attention to detail. Today, the business is thriving, offering turnkey solutions, and catering to both the residential and corporate markets.

“At a certain level, we’re hoping that people also develop that conscious mind of buying local. Buying local, you area preserving jobs, growing families, and contributing to the economy – these are all good things”, Dipuo exclaims.

Her journey is one that may truly inspire future female engineers in the South African sector. Dipuo says her success all comes down to dreaming big and putting the hard work and hours in to pursuing your dreams:

“I’m from a small mining township; I lived with my extended family in a four-roomed house, let alone a four-bedroom house. I never knew, growing up, that there were kitchens with huge islands. And today, I get to work on R8-million houses and do kitchens, and walk-in closets, and vanities – custom-made. If I could get where I am right now [by dreaming], imagine if I just keep pushing, where could I be in the future? Always dream big, propel your growth, but also try to achieve bigger and bigger!”

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