Hamdoun Bizumuremyi is the founder of ISO RATIO Ltd, a local Gisozi-based company involved in interior design. After completing his studies he wanted to be involved in something he was passionate about that would create employment opportunities for the youth.
Since he was passionate about art, he decided to use car tyres and kitenge materials to make chairs, conference chairs, tables, umbrella holders, lampshades. He started his company in 2015 after pursuing his Bachelor in Accounting and Finance at University of Lay Adventists of Kigali-UNILAK.
With capital of Rwf 80,000, he purchased some old tyres in Nyabugogo market and employed four workers to help him pursue his ambitions.
Hamdoun Bizumuremyi fixes a table made out of tryres and a glass at his office in Gisozi. Photos by Joan Mbabazi.
“To add to the knowledge I had, I used YouTube tutorials to improve on making better products but also learning from people who were already in the same business. That has enabled me to improve the quality of my products as I learn new ways of perfecting my craft. I have gained experience over the last three years,” he said.
He said that he started out with few clients, sometimes even going days without having any customer but he was that hopeful that with time he would get daily customers.
Over time, Bizumuremyi got customers based in Gisozi where he was operating from and over time started supplying his products to Ruhango, Nyamirambo, and Ruyenzi.
He sells each table with a glass piece at Rwf70,000 while a table without a glass goes for Rwf 50,000. A set of sofas retails at Rwf 80,000 with a single chair retailing at Rwf 40,000. Lampshades cost Rwf 20,000 each while bags made out of sacks and kitenge retail at Rwf 8,000 each.
Bizumuremyi also makes bags from kitenge fabric.
The 37-year-old entrepreneur said that for his business to boom, he still needs more capital to invest in it.
He also lacks proper machines that can enable him to complete his tasks in shorter durations. The machines he uses are of low quality which makes work hectic and takes longer to complete tasks.
This year, he took a course in design at Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development to improve on his skills.
Despite some challenges faced as an entrepreneur, he says he has made some progress over time from his business. Among this include gaining meaningful business connections, customers, skills and the opportunity to create employment for young adults as well as the ability to cater for his family.
Bizumuremyi makes holes out of a car tyre to hold umbrellas
He is planning on expanding his venture to different parts of Kigali and beyond when he gains access to the right tools and funding.
Bizumuremyi added that starting such a business requires one to know their target market before starting out as it enables one to produce goods in demand. This he said is an aspect that he had missed out on previously which had consequences on his operations later.
“Come up with something unique and affordable. If your prices are high in the beginning, chances are that you might lose out on customers; it is advisable to know how much such products are sold on the market so that you base on that to make appropriate prices,” he stated.
The businessman adds that use social media as your marketing tool as it will win you clients but consider uniqueness. Make designs that are not common.
The interior designer also noted that for starters, it is prudent to give clients discounts at it will leads them to come back.
He also stressed that one should use any available opportunity and chance to improve on their skills.
“Take part so that you can learn so much from other people’s ideas and experiences as it is important to keep improving. Work to be better every single day. Be creative and different from your business competitors,” he said.
“Identify and grow your brand. Start a blog or website or both to showcase your talents and style, but most importantly employ workers that have ideas about designing ad together develop each other’s capacities,” he said.