Skarabrand is an online furniture company which gives you liberty to order furniture online and get it delivered to your doorstep. As things stand, they might be the first, maybe only furniture company that has leveraged technology to gain a wider publicity.
TechMoran chats with Raymond Umeh, founder and CEO of Skarabrand as he talks about the trigger behind the startup, the journey since then, how they are funded and many more. Enjoy.
Did Skarabrand launch first as an offline furniture company, or has been an ecommerce company from the start?
Skarabrand started off as an ecommerce company.
What triggered the launch of Skarabrand?
After being in the furniture industry for over a decade, I realized there was a gap – a growing number of Nigerians were searching for furniture online, but there was no proper furniture online brand serving that rapidly growing market, which has more than doubled in the past year from a few thousand to tens of thousands. With that knowledge, founding Skarabrand was a no-brainer. We decided to create an Online Furniture Brand that designs, manufactures and leverages on Technology & the Internet to Optimize & Disrupt the traditional Furniture industry.
How big is the furniture industry in Nigeria and how much has the startup covered?
Estimates put the furniture industry in Nigeria at about a Trillion naira, with the industry heavily fragmented and very unorganized. Though we have shipped over 1000 items to over 11 cities in Nigeria, we haven’t even scratched the surface.
Has Nigerians’ preference for foreign goods and products affected Skarabrand in any way?
Nigeria’s preference for foreign goods is as old as Nigeria, so this is not a new phenomenon. What we are experiencing now however, is that more and more people are beginning to patronize made in Nigeria businesses for a number of reasons: Government policy: Ban on furniture importation, Buy Made in Nigeria campaign – Improvement in the trendy variety and quality of products and services provided by local businesses & Economic Situation: Forex challenges has ultimately helped the business.
Tell us about the team behind Skarabrand.
Our team is made of two groups: a very skilled and experienced manufacturing team and an ecommerce team.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered since launch?
Convincing customers to pay before delivery.
If you were to do one thing differently since launch, what would it be?
Started digital marketing earlier.
How big do you anticipate Skarabrand, say in next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, Skarabrand will be the number one furniture brand in Nigeria; the market leader, delivering 360 degrees home solutions; the one stop shop for everything home. By this time, we will also be exporting both the brand and our products. I can tell you, we have already delivered items beyond Nigeria, we have our products in Ghana.
Tell us about your competitors, and how you’ve dealt so far.
About competition, I will say, being one of the first movers in this space, we have watched more and more people move into the space, as well as some die out. We aren’t bothered about them, but we watch them. We believe our offering is unique and our business model is solid and proven worldwide. Competition is always good for business; keeps you on your toes.
In two or three words, what do you think are the most important recipes for a startup’s success?