Parliamo Bambini was built; to significantly create products that meet the standard of the marketplace, save the average Nigerian from incurring unnecessary expenses, and give customer satisfaction. Parliamo Bambini was created for the love of kids by IfedayoDurosinmi-Etti and Olamide Olatunbosun to make available furniture that provides comfort for them and design nurseries that ignite their world with joy and serenity. The focus is kids because there is always a market for them. Parents are more sentimental towards their children’s needs and would go out of their way to make them comfortable, happy and give them the best. The most thrilling aspect remains the parents’ commitment to making sure they set up a CCTV in their children’s nursery. That gives an additional assurance of kids’ safety while the parents are busy. All these achieved by a female duo that saw an opportunity and became committed to maximizing it.
We caught up with one of the partners (co-founders) of the organization, Olamide Olatubosun who plunged into the details of how it all started, the journey so far, and the big plans they have for the years ahead. She answered every question with clear definition and positivity while discussing their brand and the importance of made in Naija products.
How did you get your idea or concept for your business?
Parliamo Bambini sprung up from myself and my friend and business partner (Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti) having a conversation. At the time, she was pregnant with her first baby. We extensively spoke about how expensive it was for her to import her furniture for her nursery inclusive of shipping. The price was ridiculous and we said to ourselves parents did not deserve to have to break the bank to get quality furniture. We discussed at length and that point realized that there was a gap in the industry for us to serve. The company was birthed in August 2015. We have manufactured over 600 items and served over 1000 customers to date. We officially registered the business with the Corporate Affairs Commission in August 2015.
What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?
I would answer this question in two folds simply because we have different aspects of our business. The manufacturing of children furniture and the design aspect of the nursery. In terms of the manufacturing I will say safety, style, aesthetic, longevity, affordable, and consumers friendly. The design aspect; the space, personality of the client, budget, color, focal point, scaling and balancing of the room and unity and harmony of the contents.
What comes first – the materials or the design idea?
I would go with design idea, as materials are always readily available and not farfetched. Creativity is a key player in the design and manufacturing industry. It is important to stay abreast and evolve with the environment and consumer lifestyle.
What part of the process excites you the most?
Sketching a new design on paper/ 3D and seeing it come to life! We work tirelessly as a team to come up with new designs that will constantly appeal to our customers as well as serve its intended purpose. We also feel fulfilled when the customer is satisfied and pleased with their item and our service. We most times cannot contain our joy when we receive positive feedback from our customers.
What makes Parliamo Bambini different/ unique from other interior designers?
What makes us unique is the quality and standard of our items. We also pay a lot of attention to the personality of our clients and intentionally ensure it is depicted in our service to them.
Why do you think the brand ‘Parliamo Bambini’ has been successful?
The brand has been successful because we studied and identified the market in which we intend to serve. This definitely made it easier to gain entrant. As a pioneer in the kids manufacturing industry, we are the alternative to importing furniture which used to be the practice. We erupted as the answer to a lot of parent’s prayers. I would say hard work, teamwork, motivation, innovation and excellent service. In addition, with the recent campaign on “purchase local” and “Buy Nigerian” in the economy has also played a significant role in the success of our business. We observed that people are now being more receptive to patronize locally made products.
Do you believe there is power in local business?
Oh, I definitely do! I am overly excited by the series of workshops, seminars, and conferences occurring which provides an avenue to showcase locally owned businesses. Parliamo Bambini amongst other businesses testifies to the fact that there is definitely power in local business. I am impressed that local products are being embraced by Nigerians and can also count on the support of the government and other parastatals. I have seen a couple of locally made products being exported to other countries so yes I believe a lot of local businesses will go global!
What were the major challenges you faced at the inception of your business?
The major challenge we faced was labor and funding. We work with a lot of artisans and low skilled individuals, factors such as exposure, etiquette, and training were typically a barrier. We had to invest in a lot of training for gaps that were identified. In terms of finance, I assume that is always a major challenge in starting a business and we both had to dip into our personal finances to kick start. I would say for a fact if you believe in something go for it no matter the doubts in mind if you fail you learn from it and try again. Issues will arise from time to time but the most important is learning a lesson or two from them.
Do you believe successful female entrepreneurs find it difficult having a successful marriage?
I often hear this but I personally beg to differ. Marriage involves two parties that have a sense of commitment to each other. I think this can be managed amongst the individuals if there is a level of understanding between them as well as support from the spouse vice versa.
Do you think the female gender can handle the pressure that comes with managing a career and family?
I would say for a fact that I think women generally are very strong! We are like octopuses and can do 5 things at once. I feel it is an innate thing that comes naturally to us women. I think it is just a case of prioritizing and managing one’s time effectively so one is not lagging behind in order to manage conflict.
How ready is the Nigerian Market for locally produced products and services?
I see the market being very ready. We are slowly embracing locally made products and the response has been overwhelming. I go for exhibitions and fairs and see the locally made version of almost everything. It just also shows that more entrepreneurs need to emerge as the market is currently very large.
Do you think locally made goods have come to stay?
Well, with the current response from end users and support of the government and other regulatory bodies, I think they have come to stay.
What is the five to 10 years’ projection for the brand ‘Parliamo Bambini’?
We currently are setting up a proper structure in our workshop. We are also in the process of opening up a showroom so items are readily available for purchase and customers can pick on the go. We are open to other partners that we can collaborate with and serve our customers better. We hope to set up a manufacturing plant in Nigeria in the nearest future. Finally, we plan to have a franchise all over the globe. Parliamo Bambini is definitely going to go from “local to global”.