YouTube inspires entrepreneur to explore furniture industry

Learning by trial and error, Lokman manages to acquire enough skills to make wood- and iron-based furniture pieces

by NOORAZLINA JINDEH / BERNAMA

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 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.

I treated it as a hobby and tried my hand at making some furniture, says Lokman

Lokman, 27, surfed YouTube channels in search of ideas and eventually found himself smitten with carpentry. Learning by 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, and has even given a brand name for their products — Brutti & Besi.

“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 of 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 Covid-19 infection,” Lokman told Bernama when met at his workshop located behind his house.

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 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, an industrial area located about 20km 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 practice.

The furniture made at their workshop is customised to suit the requirements of their customers

Lokman’s confidence in his skills had not been in vain. Over the months, his workmanship improved, thanks to his brother- in-law Mohd Ghaddafi Abd Khaleq’s guidance and help. The latter 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 table shoe rack, flower pot rack and study table, that were specially ordered by their customers and priced at 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

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.

“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 is in short supply. — Bernama