Business ideas can come when things are not going well and some of the biggest businesses in the world started when their founders were at rock bottom. This is how the business of Perfect Pillows began and now it is growing into one of the best pillow businesses in Nairobi. Perfect Pillows deals with household and office interiors. They deal with all kinds of pillows; bed, pet, travel, nursing, body pillows for pregnant women, throw pillows etc. They also sell cushions, curtains, carpets, duvets, and upon request do furniture upholstery.
I caught up with @6footbarefoot, the proprietor of Perfect Pillows to find out more about the pillow business, the journey and get some advice for entrepreneurs.
What service or product do you sell?
We deal with interiors pillows, curtains, cushions etc. Perfect pillows deals with household and office interiors.
How did your company start?
It started as a joke, someone mentioned to me about how the pillow they use made them suffer from stiff necks every other time. I was looking for something to do after we were laid off from work. So I decided to start the pillow business to help me stay afloat and here we are.
So far, have you seen the vision that you had set out for your company take off?
Yes, The vision is slowly taking shape. It’s a journey that needs patience and hard work.
How many people work for you?
We are a team of three people. Myself, the tailor and a carpenter.
What makes your company stand out from others?
We are unique and stand out because our products are made entirely based on the customer’s choice and preference. They get to pick everything from the fabric to design and most importantly we work within their budget, hence we cater to all kinds of people.
Do you get people to help you out in sourcing and executing the ideas for your projects?
Yes, including other people in your ideas will give you different angles and points you may not have thought about. I believe it makes things better, if not great.
What motivates you to do what you do?
A customer’s smile is a really big motivation. Putting a smile on someone’s face is underrated.
Describe to us your typical day of work.
Our days are dictated by the number of orders we are working on. We usually start around 9 am, set out the required materials and have the tailor working on them then I stuff the pillows/cushions. Once an order is completed, we dispatch it based on the agreement with the client. Most of the time we use riders, on other days I send them myself especially when dealing with courier services for clients living outside Nairobi. In certain instances, I will go to a clients house to set up if need be.
What are some of the biggest and most memorable moments so far?
Around the third month after we started we got an order to do the interior of a clients house. It was an exciting challenge because it was the turning point for us. We had to source for curtains, carpets and rugs which was something we didn’t do at the time. Many people loved it and we started receiving orders for other items besides pillows.
What are some of the ups and downs you’ve faced in your business?
The downside is pillows are not edibles that people will buy every day and so some days we do not have clients. The upside is when clients do decide that they wish to change or buy new things for the house, they go all out and spend.
What are the challenges of being a young business in Nairobi?
I would say that some of the licensing fees are completely unnecessary. For instance, the NCC charges you Ksh. 4,500 for a fire extinguisher. Its Ksh.4,500 and yet they do not provide. They also charge you if you have a banner outside your shop/stall.
I also find it completely unnecessary to wait for three days to get a business permit signature. It’s also next to impossible to get a loan if you can’t provide a logbook, title deed or payslip. So many small businesses depend on friends and family.
Where do you see your company in the next ten years?
We are hoping to become the IKEA of Kenya. Being able to provide interior services for many at an affordable price.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Don’t think too much, do it now. You need to start with what you have, don’t keep waiting until you make the big bucks. It’s not an easy road, so be ready for the bumps.
Lessons you would like to pass to aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Do not be afraid to ask for help, we don’t know everything.
- Keep receipts, it’s very important when you are going through your books.
- Go for quality, be quality there’s no shortcut to this.
- When you fall, get back up and dust yourself and try again you probably won’t get it right the first time.
Looking back what would you have done differently if you had a chance to start over?
I would have started by getting the materials in bulk and asking for help when I needed it instead of doing things “jua kali”.
Where can people buy your products?
Speaking of pillows, do we really need them?