Old School Ilica

Tapetar Kuharić

Ilica 37

Upholstery

Nino Kuharić owner
+385 (0)1 4831410, +385 (0)98 766962

kuharic.nino@gmail.com  

Working hours: 07:00 – 15:00

"20 years ago, people sometimes spent up to six months on the waiting list, and now sometimes we have to wait a month for any work. "

Oaza: How did you decide to get into this line of work?
Tapetar: I inherited it from my father. It used to be a lucrative business. 20 years ago, people sometimes spent up to six months on the waiting list for Mr. Hladnik, and now sometimes we have to wait a month for any work. We once waited three months for new work.

Oaza: What school did you graduate from?
Tapetar: The "Jurica Ribar" Carpentry School, which was once called the "Jurica Ribar" Wood Education Center.
Toni: Yes, the school has several programs: environmental protection technician, forestry technician, woodworking technician – designer, woodworking technician – restorer, carpenter, upholsterer, musical instrument maker. Few people enroll in a year. This year the upholstery program did not even call for applications for enrollment.

Oaza: How long is the education?
Now three years, but it used to be four.

Oaza: Toni just assists you or is he employed?
Tapetar: At the moment, he is assisting, but he has been slowly starting to work on his own. He will be employed as part of the professional training program and I will be his mentor. We are glad that there are many instances where the children carry on. At our jeweler neighbor's, his daughter also succeeded him.

Oaza: Did you ever have a case where someone came in to have their furniture re-upholstered that was made by your father?
Tapetar: Yes, a year ago. But that is rare. The person got tired of that fabric and wanted to replace it, even though there was basically no need.

Oaza: How long does it take for someone to become a really good upholsterer?
Tapetar: It is all individual, someone figures it out sooner, someone later. Some people can be good after a year, some after two or three, and some never become good upholsterers.

Oaza: Are there things that are very hard to do, i.e. that take special skill or that are especially challenging?
Tapetar: Of course. Some finesses are demanding, especially when dealing with antique furniture that uses natural materials, like seaweed, instead of foam. With that type of furniture, all the lines and the dressing are done by hand.
Recently, we were working on a baroque sofa. That was a real joy. The man who brought it in said it was from 1880. We wonder what are all the places that sofa has been.

Oaza: What do you think about the product quality today?
Tapetar: The materials are definitely of lower quality and the product lifecycle is shorter.

Oaza: By that logic, you should actually be having more work.
Tapetar: We should, but there are no rules. People buy something cheap again. There is always bulky waste. They buy a couch for 1000 HRK, use it for a year or two, and then dump it and buy a new one. Fabrics have also gotten cheaper compared to before, procurement is much simpler, but there are fewer and fewer customers. Before, the prices of materials were not a problem because there were customers and there was work, but today our problem is that there is no work. The discount I get from the store I pass on to the customers just to attract them or keep them. We are constantly fighting for customers, and it is not easy fighting against Lesnina and other big chains.

Oaza: How much does it cost to upholster a couch?
Tapetar: The prices are pretty high in relation to finished products. For example, a classic factory couch without upholstery costs around 2200 HRK, but the upholstering costs just as much or more. The problem is when people are not informed because they think all couches are the same. For example, the other day, I saw a couch in Mercatone for 900 HRK. It is not much, but it can be used for sleeping.

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