In recent times there has been a growing interest in African designs, textiles, and products, and Yemisi Ojeyomi, co-founder and chief executive of Cyprus Cedar with his talents in interior décor is taking the design world by storm.
Yemisi was inspired to establish Cyprus Cedar- a start-up interior and brand creator business with his co-founder and wife – Ayomiku Ojeyomi to provide solution services in different areas.
In 2014, Yemisi quitted his advertising job after 17 years in the industry to pursue his passion for interior designs and also to kick-start his entrepreneurship journey.
“The inspiration was to provide solution services in different areas of our interests. So, we started with furniture designs and productions, interior decorations and brand representations through innovative corporate gift17,” he says.
Yemisi started the business in 2016 with zero capital while relying on family and friends for contracts.
Since starting, the business has grown steadily in its customer base and service offerings. A feat, the economist-turned-entrepreneur attributes to his employees and customers.
“We started using our network of friends and family to source for jobs which were outsourced but monitored by us to ensure maximum quality satisfaction,” he says.
“The business has grown impressively that we no longer outsource. We now produce all our furniture in-house, do quality checks and deliver to our clients from our workshop,” he adds.
Currently, he has 15 full-time employees and works with several part-time employees serving individuals and corporate clients across the country.
He notes that creativity, innovation, and simplicity have helped him remain in business over the years.
He adds that the business has created a niche for itself in the country’s interior design industry.
He says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her business negatively as it has caused a spike in the prices of its raw material used for designs.
“The cost of production has increased and we now have limited access to certain raw materials import,” he explains.
Cyprus Cedar resorted to having its showroom when the initial restriction directives to contain the pandemic were obstructing his business activities.
According to Yemisi, this helped the business survive the difficult moment of the virus outbreak.
“During the ease of lockdown, we realized there was a short time for our outsourcing production team to work as their workshop was a general market which had time restrictions and could not meet up with most demands,” he says.
“This gave us a nudge to have our workshop where we can produce without time restrictions and even at a more competitive price. This has been a significant survival strategy for our business,” he recounts.
In evaluating the country’s interior design industry, he says the industry is growing rapidly and has paved the way for creative entrepreneurs to thrive.
“Nigeria’s interior design industry is rapidly growing and thanks to our government for encouraging local furniture production as this has paved the way for entrepreneurs who are creative and innovative within the sector to thrive and become more relevant,” he states.
“There are so many opportunities from just designing to production and even decoration. Despite the recession, everyone is still striving to have a home or make their rented apartments comfortable and stylish,” he says.
He says the business plans to have a larger workshop than it is currently occupying in the short run and to diversify into logistics in the long run.
Speaking on the challenges confronting the business, he says logistics and inadequate capital has remained a big problem in the industry.
He urges the government to support more creative and innovative entrepreneurs in the industry with adequate capital and also bridge the country’s huge infrastructural gaps to reduce the cost of logistics.
On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says “be persistent, consistent, have integrity and customer-centric values that are key to the success of any entrepreneur.”