My family has been involved in the furniture-making industry for decades. It practically runs through our blood at this point. Being the youngest of four brothers, I was a little late to join the party, but that didn’t make me any less confident in my entrepreneurship abilities. I knew that my father and brothers would always be my mentors every step of the way, so I had nothing to fear. Therefore, after completing my B Com degree in 2005, I promptly managed our Bari Furniture factory and showroom in Bogura.
Our factory produces large amounts of home and corporate furniture daily for clients across Bogura. Since around 75% of our orders come from people living in the cities, we can make more significant sales of our high-end and customized items like sofa sets and showcases. Historically this model of supplying the market with handcrafted pieces of furniture was what tipped the market in our favor. But the entry of technologically advanced companies into the industry and consumers’ changing tastes for cheap furnishings have made our operations more difficult. Since our business strategy always prides itself on employing the best pool of furniture artisans in the locality, doing a complete 180 on our values would not only be difficult but a disservice to our loyal employees. We need to find a midway solution that incorporates technology as a way to help our workers do their job efficiently, not using it as a means of replacing them.
The Covid-19 pandemic added another layer to our challenges, compelling us to confront a host of economic and financial constraints all at once. As per the mandated response to this global crisis, we had to close our factory for an entire year. Despite earning almost nothing that year, we still paid our employees their total salaries so they could continue supporting their families during these challenging times. I do not regret this decision, but it caused large dents in the company’s financial position.
In this post-pandemic era, the economy is swiftly recovering. Yet, I am afraid that the ease with which people did in the previous years will not return anytime soon due to the massive price hikes of raw materials and labor. Since Bari Furniture is a well-established firm, we utilized our strengths and experiences to coast through this economic onslaught. But it still pains to see many people in the sector being washed away under the crushing strains of losses and debts.
Against all the odds, I am willing to see through this business to the end. Because I want to pass on the company to my daughter one day, who is also very enthusiastic about being an entrepreneur like her father. I firmly believe that with the right strategy and planning, we can alleviate this brand to those of the top players in the industry like Hatil and Otobi.
When LightCastle Partners contacted me with offers for business development and marketing support, I knew it was not an opportunity to miss. After participating in several of their meetings and the B-SkillFuL training programs, I have seen noticeable shifts in my firm’s operations and margins. I hope with this valuable knowledge, I will one day be able to secure the 1.5 Crore taka funding required to expand my business and start exporting.