Scouting for opportunities

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Scouting for opportunities

By NOORAZLINA JINDEH

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THE saying ‘As one door closes, another opens’ fits Lokman Awaluddin to a T.

When his house and car cleaning business folded up following the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) in March, he did not wallow in self-pity; instead, he immediately started to scout for opportunities to generate an income not only to support his family but also to pay his seven workers their wages.

Lokman, 27, surfed YouTube channels in search of ideas, and eventually found himself drawn to carpentry.

Learning through trial and error, he managed to acquire enough skills to make wood- and iron-based furniture pieces such as dining tables, shoe racks, study tables and flower pot racks.

In fact, he has turned it into a business, which he runs with his wife Siti Faznur Abd Khaleq, 32, under the brand name Brutti & Besi.

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“Initially, I treated it as a hobby and tried my hand at making some furniture. But after I watched some YouTube videos demonstrating various techniques for making furniture using pallet wood, I discussed with my wife the idea of generating an income (from furniture making) in this new normal era without the risk of infection from Covid-19,” Lokman told Bernama when met at his workshop located behind his house in Penampang, Sabah.

SMALL CAPITAL

His wife liked the idea, and Lokman proceeded to create his first piece – a small bedroom table – using four pieces of pallet wood that he sourced from Inanam, an industrial area located about 20 kilometres away.

It took him three weeks to make the table and being his maiden effort, the handiwork was far from perfect, but that did not daunt him at all as he was confident his skills would improve with more practise.

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Lokman’s confidence in his skills had not been in vain. Over the months, his workmanship improved, thanks to guidance from his brother-in-law Mohd Ghaddafi Abd Khaleq. Mohd Ghaddafi is experienced in carpentry and has worked with pallet wood, and he taught Lokman the finer points of cutting the wood and beautifying the finished products.

In October, Lokman and his wife launched their Brutti & Besi range which then consisted of 12 furniture pieces, including dining tables, shoe racks, flower pot racks and study tables, that were specially ordered by their customers and priced between RM37 and RM827.

“Using just RM230 as capital to buy a metal cutter, I got my furniture-making business going with the help of two workers and my brother-in-law,” said Lokman.

FACEBOOK ORDERS

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His wife Siti Faznur, meanwhile, takes care of sales and marketing. Since they don’t provide delivery services as yet, their customers are mainly from Penampang and Kota Kinabalu, about 14 km from here.

“We have even received orders from as far as Tawau, and even from Klang (Selangor), but had to turn them down due to the high cost of transporting the products to the customers,” said Siti Faznur.

The furniture made at their workshop is customised to suit the requirements of their customers who place their orders on the Brutti & Besi Facebook page or WhatsApp.

And most importantly, the quality of their workmanship has earned the satisfaction of their customers.

“It takes about a day or two for us to make the smaller products while the bigger ones take longer to complete,” said Siti Faznur, adding that currently, pallet wood was in short supply. – Bernama


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