Richard Oyewobi is the CEO of Belia Wood House, a furniture and carpentry company in Abuja. The graduate of Theater Arts from University of Jos tells TMG in this interview that the love for good finishing in products that meet internationally accepted standards was the driving force behind his business.
TMG> Now that you are into furniture making, do you find that having a career in theater arts is less appealing?
Not at all. Movie making is my first love but you will agree with me that Furniture making is also arts. I hope to go into movie making after raising enough capital from Furniture making.
TMG> So, how did it all begin for or you?
We found out that there is a lack in good furniture products. Many products out there do not meet the standards and what we try to do is fill in those gaps.
TMG> Tell us how you get your materials and what the process is like from getting raw material to finished products.
Our raw materials abound all over but we still import once in a while. We basically put a concept together and go about the production with precision in mind which is what makes us different from the others. Actually, our motto is PRECISION AND AFFORDABLE.
TMG> How fast do your products get to the end user in terms of Production, Marketing and distribution?
We are always time conscious. Maximum 4 weeks.
TMG> How many employees report to you and how efficient are they?
In our company, employees at the moment are almost 15 skilled carpenters and about 5 unskilled, learning on the job.
TMG> Are there job opportunities for youth in your company?
Yes there are- from our marketing department, which is made up of very vibrant young men, to the 3D department, where they basically deal in conceptualization before the actual production.
TMG> In case of problems, how do you manage? Do you seek for help from another professional?
We do involve people that are more experienced than us from time to time but that doesn’t happen all the time.
TMG> How do you stay educated about new trends?
We use the Internet for reserach and we are also members of some professional bodies to get more ideas.
TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?
Funds. We are presently talking to some banks and angel investors. We are also involved in talks on some partnership with some companies in Europe and Africa.
TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?
We operate an open door policy. Belia wood house is one big family. So the style of our dealings with customers is unique.
TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths in this business?
Our products, our business relationship and production/delivery time. Delivery time is very important in this business. When clients pay for products, they are very anxious.
TMG> How do you manage costs? If your labour is running high with low profit, what measures do you take to control it?
To be candid,it is not on every product that we make money but we always make sure we do not come under real production cost. We lay more emphasis on our referrals,which has been our main success button,so if we don’t make money on one deal, same customer may create an avenue for us to make money next time
TMG> How do you manage risks in terms of damages or loss?
We hardly experience such, since materials are bought when we are commissioned.
TMG> How involved are you in the financial aspect of your business, Budgets/forecasting?
As the CEO, I do all the costing.
TMG> What other positions have you previously held before you went into furniture and carpentry?
I have been a Managing Director of an export company before starting Belia Wood House.
TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon.
My financial ways of handling business. Since I’m not an accountant by profession. I would still like to plug some holes in my finances
TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment you are most proud of in your career.
Doing the interiors of 20 flats belonging to an estate around Lokogoma.
TMG> What way can you encourage others to be self-dependent?
People should be serious and determined in anything they feel would bring out the best in them because the sky is their limit…
TMG> Do you find time to unwind?
I do, especially when taking my family out during the weekends.