Hailing from Rocklands, Bloemfontein, Thabang Shinners is a self-taught carpenter and a Computer Information Systems graduate from the University of the Free State.
He is the founder of ThaPlanka, a carpentry business which was launched in 2020 during the Covid- 19 lockdown. The name of the company is a combination of Thabang’s name and Leplanka (plankwood).
Spending most of his time completing assignments and attending online classes on his bed, Thabang realised the necessity and convenience of having a small foldable laptop table. Little did he know that would be the genesis of his carpentry business.
Thabang explains, “I decided that after writing my exams, I will try to make a laptop table for myself. I went on YouTube to watch basic wood-work tutorials. I researched about the type of wood and tools I would need, and how to operate them. I also visited other wood-work related websites and Facebook pages for inspiration.”
Upon completion of his research, he used his savings to buy the mandatory tools he needed for his business from Makro.
After making a laptop table, Shinners realised that the creation of wooden products could turn into a lucrative business. “I saw this as a wonderful opportunity, since many people were working from home, and students were attending online classes,” he said. Thabang strongly affirms that this was the birth of ThaPlanka.
He took a leap of faith when he posted the laptop table he created on Facebook and this garnered interest among Facebook users. “I still remember the day my Facebook post had 10k shares,” he said.
Currently, not only does he make foldable tables which you can use on the bed or sofa, but which you can also utilise as food trays or study tables. The top the of laptop table can be adjusted at any suitable angle and also has a side drawer with a cup holder.
Other products that you can get from ThaPlanka include Yoni steam seat (R1 300), coffee board (R180), wine rack (R400) and braids hair rack (R350).
In 2021, Shinners won 1 st prize for most innovative product at the Mimosa Mall Entrepreneurs Market, proving once again that possibilities are endless when you put your heart and soul into something.