These words brought nothing but joy to me. There’s nothing as good as a customer appreciating you to the extent of referring you to another. And the first thing that came from his mouth was “I heard you are good Carpenter”.
As an entrepreneur, especially one who works alone, it is not easy to turn your passion into a business. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and dedication. I know many will be asking ‘when did Derick become a carpenter?’ However, some would not be surprised because they knew long that I have been in wood business for close to ten years now.
He said it after looking at me in doubt. I knew already what was in his mind. I am sure he was expecting to see someone in overall with particles of fine sawdust fighting to get a place in his nostrils. And then my palms … surely were too soft carpenter who has to manipulate many tools with his hands.
It has never been easy starting something, especially when it is a niche where competition is rife. The furniture business in Cameroon is very competitive with the strongest competition coming from imported furniture – especially used furniture. Used furniture is what pushed me to come out with a unique solution which I have been working on for more than 7 years.
Making and selling furniture is not only a lucrative business in Cameroon, but the entire world. No one needs to tell you how profitable the business is as just the quantity of wood going out of the country explains better. Our forests are exploited on a daily basis with hundreds of trees cut down for export.
With no statistics in hand, but from experience, majority of the higher class and part of the middle class go for imported furniture. It is funny isn’t it? We got the wood, we export and import it as finished product at cut throat prices.
A lot of the imported furniture, especially from China, which is one of the highest importers of Cameroon’s wood, is made with waste wood. They use compacted sawdust and wood that would have been used here for fuel to make furniture and export to us. This is similar with what we get from Europe also.
As a solopreneur, I have been struggling hard to turn my passion for wood into a business. Trying to come up with a brand and bringing a unique touch in a field where competition and copying is rife hasn’t been easy. Putting together a team has not been an easy task – you all know the mentality of some Cameroonians out there. The “If it is not paying now, then it is not worth getting involved” mentality.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated” – William James
How do you feel when someone appreciates you for your effort? It makes you feel nice, right? Every human wants to be appreciated in the little things they do. As an entrepreneur, that should be the kind of feeling you should want your customers to associate you with.
You don’t need to be reminded that your customers are of utmost importance to you and keeping them happy should be primordial. To achieve this, your products or services should meet up their expectations – more than expectation is not bad. You will have to put in a lot of time, effort and focus on them (existing customers).
Even though we are still to setup our permanent workshop, we’ve got a smaller space that we can carry out our activities with ease. We are so passionate with what we do to the extent that we can’t just sit and wait to get a more comfortable place.
Every home, business place, office no matter what size or location needs to have furniture. It can be a simple chair, table, cabinet, bed or other furniture. So long as it is wood, we are there for you.
Our uniqueness comes from our custom-made designs. ‘We nail it with you and not for you’. We take into consideration your design, while we give you our proposals after seeing the space where the furniture will be put.
Many people are surprised when I tell them I deal in furniture. In life, you must not be something to do something. You must not be a carpenter to know wood work, even though it will be beneficial.
I have more to tell you about furniture! Stay tuned as you place your orders with us.