How This Nigerian Woman Built A Multi-Million Dollar Furniture Making Company
The beginning never defines the end, and no matter where you start in life, as long as you’re true to your causes, beliefs, values, and stay committed to your dreams, you’d eventually reach where you’re headed.
This is the success story of Bimbo Alashe, an ambitious entrepreneur who made an admirable shift from starting and running a small gift retailing store to eventually owning one of the largest furniture holdings in Nigeria.
Here’s how she did it:
Who Is Bimbo Alashe?
Bimbo Alashe is the brains behind the luxury furniture company, Leatherworld Interiors. With its head office in Ikoyi, Lagos, the company boasts of having the largest furniture showroom in Nigeria.
Bimbo Alashe who sits at its helm of affairs is classified as one of the businesswomen who have broken previously thought unpenetrable grounds in Nigeria and beyond. And in the process, she has successfully launched and grown her company into the multimillion-dollar company that it is today.
Early Life And Education
Bimbo Alashe-Arawole was born in 1962 and eventually later got married to the late Kunle Arawole, who is now deceased. The marriage was blessed with a daughter, Tobiloba.
Bimbo Alashe attended Ріtmаn Соllеgе, Lоndоn, аnd thе Rеgеnt Асаdеmу оf Dеѕіgnѕ and Fіnе Аrtѕ, also іn Lоndоn.
Ѕhе bаggеd а Роѕt Graduate Degree in Іntеrіоr Dеѕіgn frоm thе Lоndоn Dеѕіgn Ѕсhооl. Given her educational strides, it is not farfetched for anyone to think that she has always had the goal of establishing a world-class luxurious furniture company.
Her Journey Into Entrepreneurship
Bimbo Alashe had always been entrepreneurial-minded. Before she started her furniture business, she founded and successfully ran a mini-gift and beauty shop called Glamour, located in Apapa, Lagos.
Leatherworld, her current enterprise, started operations on December 1st, 1994, in Lagos Island. The aim of the company was to make high-quality furniture available to all and sundry, especially since as at that time, there was a scarcity of quality furniture in the market.
Leatherworld was created to be a solution to a problem and to meet a need in the market for those seeking for quality overall.
Leatherworld’s Growth In Phases
Leatherworld started from a small, modest office on Ribadu road, in Ikoyi, as a retail outlet. After a few years, during which the company made considerable progress, Alashe moved from the office on Ribadu road to occupy a more spacious workspace in Raymond Njoku street, also in Ikoyi, where the company established what was to become the largest furniture showroom in Nigeria.
Leatherworld rose steadily over the years, and in 1999, after four years of successful operations, it expanded its territory and span of operations from Lagos to FCT, Abuja, to cater to clients located in the capital city and the northern axis.
It also bought into a piece of the action on the Lagos mainland by opening a branch in Ikeja GRA in 2009. But the biggest move of all, location-wise, was in 2007 when the company opened the doors to its permanent site in Lekki Phase 1, called The Concourse Place.
In addition, so as not to be caught playing small and to maintain the quality which it has become known for, the company entered into a partnership with NIERI, a renowned furniture company located in Tuscany, Italy.
A family-owned business that has been in operation since 1929, NIERI is one of the world’s most renowned, contemporary and traditional furniture manufacturers, known for its exclusive home design in wood and full flowered leather.
In 2005, Leatherworld built had commissioned Concourse Industry, an assembling and manufacturing plant in the Calabar Free Trade Zone. This plant was established to make world-class furniture available in Nigeria. The opening of Concourse Industry set the standard for Leatherworld as the first truly Nigerian furniture manufacturing company with a continental franchise to serve the local market, as well as export finished items to other West African countries.
At the heart of this venture was the building of human capital in the furniture-making industry. Bimbo Alashe and her partners in the venture aimed to raise a well trained and thoroughly equipped Nigerian team of furniture makers. The team or teams to be created from this venture would become expert furniture makers with more than enough creativity, finesse and class to rival their counterparts outside the country.
At Concourse Industry, most of the work is carried out by Nigerians who strive to maintain the standard of the partners at NIERI.
Some of the raw materials are locally sourced while others are imported for quality reasons. This venture resulted in an astounding success and the partners were further inspired to open a new factory so as to increase production.
As stated in the preceding paragraph, as much as possible, materials for making the furniture in the factory are sourced locally. This also serves to boost and increase job availability for dealers in varieties of wood while establishing the company as one interested in the growth of the nation’s economy.
Leatherworld and Concourse Industry continues to make giant strides in the furniture making space today while maintaining quality, raising standards, and breaking new grounds. The aim of the company in the near future is to broaden its scope and become a more visible and thriving brand all over Africa.
To Sum It Up
The rise and consistency of Bimbo Alashe over the years shows how a dogged commitment to a vision grows it into a force to be reckoned with.
It is difficult to start a vision and run with it, but it is more profitable in the long run, provided you don’t give in to any distractions that spring up along the way.
Are you focused and single-minded towards your vision? These qualities cannot be overlooked or overemphasised if you aim to build a business that will thrive and stand the test of time.
What are your thoughts on this success story of Bimbo Alashe? Let me know by leaving a comment below.