It takes a brave woman to start a business alone in a male dominated industry. Mari Pigott met an upholsterer in the UK when she took that ubiquitous overseas sojourn, young Aussies take when school has ended and they contemplate their next life pathway. Fascinated by the industry, Mari tried to find an apprenticeship when she came home thinking it would be hard to be accepted. Luckily, her search resulted in finding a company, Navascues Upholstery in Preston who was positive about hiring a female apprentice. Naturally Mari jumped at the opportunity and began a career that she loves and also formed a lasting friendship with the owner of the company, Patrick Navascues.
Melbourne proved to be a lonely place and Mari wanted to move closer to her parents. She approached Buttoning Upholstery in Ballarat who were looking for an apprentice and embraced hiring a woman. Mari completed her apprenticeship with Chris & Angelo then worked for them as a fully qualified upholsterer before they retired at the end of 2017. The brothers have been very supportive of her move into self employment and continue to mentor her.
So what next? With no other upholstery businesses in Ballarat employing upholsterers, it came down to finding another career or strike out on her own. The latter option was the one that stirred the fire in Mari’s belly, setting up a workshop and showroom filled with a large range of fabric samples, at the back of her parents’ property in Creswick. The next step was coming up with a name that reflected how she saw her place in the upholstery world.
Maverick Upholstery was born and in only eleven months of operation, Mari has bookings stretching into March 2019.
The physicality of the work doesn’t faze Mari and watching her work, it’s obvious she knows how to operate to minimise stress on her body. One innovation is to use a modified massage table that she raises and lowers as necessary, thus easing strain on her body.
Over the next few years, Mari is working toward, purchasing a shop front, hiring an apprentice and doing more furniture and interior design work. Along the way, she and fiancé Ric will marry in March, build a new house and continue on building a business she loves. Ric is an architect who is also stepping out into his own business and they have worked together on a number of projects, so we look forward to seeing further development from these two very energetic and enterprising young people.