Trader finds niche in furniture

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AFTER years of subcontracting, Charles Lim discovered a niche in the furniture industry by creating a line of outdoor furniture that is purely Cebuano-made.

From a start-up company of 20 workers in 1993, Lim was able to grow Heritage Muebles Mirabile Export Inc. to 100 employees today to support his furniture export operations.

Lim said he got into the business when he was 21 and learned how to grow a company the hard way.

Lim, a marketing graduate of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, said he went into several types of businesses so he could earn a living without depending on his family in Masbate.

He said he ventured into garments trading after a Chinese businessman offered him some start-up capital.

“He supplied me products while I went to towns or markets and sold them in early mornings. I joined school and company biddings for college or company t-shirts,” Lim said.

He said his exposure in the garments trading industry allowed him to build business networks and linkages that opened opportunities for him in the furniture industry.

He decided to close his trading business and used its revenues to set up a small operation for his new venture.

With a capital of P2 million, Lim established Heritage Muebles Mirabile Export Inc. in 1993.

The company is located on a 25,000- square-meter property in Soong, Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. The facility has a showroom, manufacturing and office facilities.

Heritage started with manufacturing wrought iron, stone, fiberglass, stone cast for furniture and home decorations. It later expanded to outdoor furniture made from aluminum and synthetic fiber.

Lim’s first order was a nine-container shipment from a US-based client he met during a furniture expo in Manila.

“He was happy with the delivery and since then, he became a regular customer,” Lim said. He said it was the quality of the furniture and his on time delivery that impressed the client.

“If I’m asked what made the company this successful, it’s the team effort that we have that made us create quality furniture and meet the requirements and deadlines of our clients,” he said.

Lim’s furniture products are now exported to the Middle East, Singapore, Europe, Canada, Australia and the US.

“The demand for outdoor furniture has grown over the years. Buyers opt to buy outdoor furniture because of its durability,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 04, 2012.

Article Source : www.sunstar.com.ph