One-man business recognised

By staff reporter

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RESTORER: Leatherwise owner-operator Andre Mendes da Costa renovates old leather furniture at the Made In Wairarapa Expo.PHOTO/FILE
RESTORER: Leatherwise owner-operator Andre Mendes da Costa renovates old leather furniture at the Made In Wairarapa Expo.PHOTO/FILE

A Wairarapa company has been named as a finalist in a national awards competition for small businesses.

Masterton-based Leatherwise, a leather restoration and repairs company, with clients from Masterton to Wellington, secured a place as a finalist in three categories at the David Awards, and was the only Wairarapa business to do so.

Leatherwise has been named in the categories of "most outstanding fledging business"- aimed at start-up businesses which are under two years, "most outstanding triumph over adversity" - a business which has succeeded in spite of challenges beyond the usual and "most inspired use of marketing"- a business which punches above its weight in terms of getting the word out and attracting business.

Owner operator Andre Mendes da Costa, from Masterton, started up the business last year, despite being told it would "fizzle out and die".

"A lot of people said it wouldn't work but I had a lot of really strong reasons for not giving in to that," Mr Mendes da Costa said.

He said since starting he has had recognition from national insurance companies and furniture businesses, which sometimes refer clients to him.

Mr Mendes da Costa said he wasn't concerned about winning the competition and was just happy to put Wairarapa on the map.

"There's no other business in the awards from Wairarapa.

"I look for any opportunity to put my name out there and to have the recognition of being a finalist has been great."

He said his business was unique because it was only one in the region providing the particular service and was run and marketed by a one-man team.

Mr Mendes da Costa was also nominated for the awards last year.

Award winners will be announced on October 9.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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