Furniture-making could limit unemployment in Ja

February 02, 2017
Kevin Simms watches as Phillip Blackford prepares gets on with the business of making sofa.
Kevin Simms says understanding measurements is critical to the job.
Sheryl Chu is one of the employee's in Simms' sofa making establishment.
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Even with the huge number of shops in Jamaica selling ready-made furniture, there is still a vast portion of the population that want their furniture to be made to their specifications.

Mastering an aspect of furniture-making is one way we could beat the unemployment demon. On the corner of Charles and King streets in Kingston, upholsterer Kevin Simms has been using his craft to earn a living for himself for the last 20 years.

An upholsterer is a person who provides covering, stuffing and springs for chairs, sofas and other furniture.

Simms told THE STAR that despite not having a high-school education, he developed his skills in upholstering by hanging around furniture shops on the streets of Kingston when he was younger.

Simms, who is the owner of Sofa Plus, said that in order to be a good upholsterer, one has to have a good understanding of measurement.

"You haffi good inna maths cause without that, the measurements will be wrong and the work will not be done properly," Simms said.

He credits patience for his longevity in this line of work.

"Yuh see this job, it requires a lot of patience, because there are a lot of times when you will make a frame for a sofa and the angle wrong, and you have to pull it, and we still working with the same deadline our clients originally gave us," Simms explained.

According to Simms, one of his greatest challenges he faces on a daily basis is motivating the men who work for him.

"Sometime dem nuh always see it necessary to pull down a frame weh nuh have the right angle, cause dem waan done fast," Simms explained.

His advice to young persons who are seeking to go into this line of work is to have passion.

"Yuh haffi have a lot of passion because sometimes it takes a lot to give the people what they want," Simms said.

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