Any gender can operate in any industry and excel -Adebunmi Olatunji Adeyefa, Female Carpenter
One thing that inspired Adebunmi Olatunji Adeyefa to build a brand in the furniture industry is her desire to prove that there shouldn’t be discrimination among male and female as to who should dominate a particular industry.
The CEO of Oag Furniture who has been nicknamed female carpenter by her clients believe that any gender can operate in any industry and excel following the principles of business and work as it relates to such industry.
Adebunmi shared her inspiring story with Feminine Nigeria as a furniture maker.
What inspired me
I was inspired by several factors. The first factor is my desire to make quality furniture products accessible to the average Nigerian.
Growing up as a young child, I remember we did not have too many furniture products at home and even the very few ones that we had then were of a very low standard.
There was always need for us to do a repair on them frequently. I didn’t understand why basic furniture products needed in the home would be a luxury for an average income earner to have.
Another factor that inspired me to build a brand in the furniture industry is my desire to prove that there should not be discrimination among male and female as to who should dominate a particular industry.
I believe any gender can operate in any industry and excel following the principles of business and work as it relates to such industry.
Some challenges encountered
Furniture industry is a highly competitive industry all over the world, so starting out without huge capital in such an industry made it challenging for us to gain visibility at first. It was a whole lot of work before she could be seen, heard and trusted.
Another challenge she faced in her business was finding a good and well equipped furniture school in Lagos State to attend for training. She had to resort to going for training and apprenticeship from the normal carpenters with lesser equipment. It was also time consuming as she has to learn majorly through observation.
I have known for a while even before starting my company that capital is not the first thing to look for when starting a business. I also have an understanding of the term ‘start where you are, with what you have’.
So, let’s just say I started my furniture company where I was, with what I had which literally means I started in my sitting room with my phone. Furniture business is capital intensive, and trying to start it in full force is like putting both legs into the river without testing its depth.
I started very small leveraging on Social media to market, build and to grow our client base.
I can boldly say that capital is not a discouraging factor when you have a burning passion, save up as much as you can, and leverage on the free tools that you have access to around you.
High moments recorded
I have recorded several high moments. Top of it was when we got our first 1 million naira contract. It was like a long awaited dream that came through.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
In this journey of entrepreneurship, focus, determination and persistence are highly needed. Be sure to have all those and more before you make the final decision to go that route.
If I could change anything
I would change how people price Nigeria made furniture products and would not mind buying imported furniture with huge money.
In five years time…
I see myself as a leading furniture entrepreneur in Nigeria that has raised at least 50 young furniture entrepreneurs and is globally recognized.
What you should know
I came from a polygamous home, a family of seven and the second girl. I had a very rough background as my parent separated when I was about three years old. I spent some time with my paternal grandmother before my mum was able to successfully take full custodian of us.
I am a graduate of Mass Communication from Olabisi Onabanjo University and a trained carpenter. In all, I have come to realize that God reserves the toughest battles for the strongest and I am grateful he made me pass through all of that rough beginning to prepare me ahead for a greater and better course.