The making of a furniture business

Stanley Nding’uri

Stanley Nding’uri’s business premises is located along Ngong Road in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Caroline Wambui | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Nding’uri kicked off his business with interior furniture, but later began making outdoor furniture.
  • His venture employs 20 full-time workers and over 50 casual workers, male and female.

A home is not a home without furniture, and not just any furniture, quality, modern of furniture that not only catches the eye, but that which is functional as well, catering to the needs of the users. It does not matter whether the furniture is intended for a home, office or open spaces such as gardens, it must meet its intended purpose.

Consumer attention has been shifting from wood to more sustainable and versatile material, such as rattan. Stanley Nding’uri, 45, therefore new the direction his business would take. At the time, he was employed in a furniture-making company, and having worked in this sector for over 15 years, he felt it was time to branch out on his own and establish his own business.

“Spaces need not be boring, I have had a long-running vision to transform spaces with quality stylish furniture that lend the space a classy and elegant look,” says Nding’uri.

The only barrier standing between him and achieving his dream was money, a factor that motivated him to sell a piece of land for Sh600, 000 to augment the Sh150, 000 savings he had put aside.

To enhance his competence, Nding’uri went ahead and paid for a certificate course in furniture at the Mombasa Polytechnic, and after he completed the course, he established his business along Ngong Road, synonymous with furniture markers, in Nairobi.

He kicked off his business with interior furniture, but as the market trends and consumer attention slowly began shifting to embrace outdoor spaces, he began making outdoor furniture too, creating comfortable and appealing designs for home and restaurant gazebos and other open outdoor spaces such as spas.

Furniture business being a competitive one, Nding’uri capitalised on technology to produce more refined products compared to what competitors were already offering.

According to him, furniture manufacturers need to be abreast with emerging trends that are influencing the furniture industry if their business is to stay ahead of the competition. His business, Stan Interiors, uses rattan to make furniture, which he explains is increasingly becoming the preferred choice over timber. The entrepreneur imports the raw materials that he uses for his furniture from China and Malaysia. 

“Rattan is easy to manipulate - it can be bent and curved easily, assuming many wonderful curving forms. The products made from this material are light in weight, eco-friendly and are easy to handle and transport,” he says.

Rattan can be used to make a variety of products apart from furniture, such as flowerpots, partition walls, hammocks and swings, and being synthetic, they can last more than 10 years.

Nding’uri’s business employs 20 full time workers and over 50 casual workers, both male and female. The business man, who capitalises on skill and quality products, is also keen to cultivate a good working relationship with his workers, which has a positive impact on their output.

He says that when he established his business, it took him more than a month to get his first client – his customer base has been gradually growing since.

Nding’uri targets homeowners, the hospitality industry, real estate developers and interior decor firms. The prices of the products vary as most of the items made are customised according to customers’ needs. To further remain competitive, Nding’uri offers repair services.

With a wide clientele across the country, Nding’uri conducts his marketing through a variety of social media platforms, which he considers powerful tools for businesses. In future, the entrepreneur plans to establish outlets in other parts of the country.

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