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Minding Your Business – Alero Imo

Minding Your Business – Alero Imo

alero imo

by Chinelo Ngene

Alero Imo is the CEO of Cyrus, a one-stop shop for all joinery needs. She has a degree in Architecture

from the University of Jos.

Has this always been a passion for you?

I always knew I would work for myself and employ others. My family background and instincts inform this; I come from a stock of entrepreneurs. The passion developed when I worked at James Cubbitt (Architects). I was inexorably drawn to cabinetry especially fit outs when I supervised the woodwork in the Mobil Head Office project on the Lekki Road in the early 1990’s.

What prompted you to start it?

At the time I was a new mother and needed to have more control over my time. I became creative and utilized what was available, which were some old disused machines from my parents’ moribund construction company. My creativity and experience from James Cubbitt then came into play.

How and when did you establish the business?

We started from scratch in March of 1996. Our first major Investment was a cutter for a spindle machine which cost N12,000, and there was absolutely no capital. I collected my first few staff from around and utilized machinists on a part-time basis.

What is Cyrus?

Cyrus is a service company and intends to push service delivery to the apex. I am Chief Executive and I have several trained professionals including architects and other building professionals on board. We are based principally in Lagos and from our factory we manufacture furniture and joinery products such as doors, wardrobes, kitchencabinets, et cetera. Our strengths are joinery and installation—anywhere in Nigeria. We are now moving into retailing—from custom made to mass production

Why did you choose the name, Cyrus?

The name came to me in a dream. In the book of Isaiah 45, the Bible speaks of Cyrus, a kingdom builder.

Did you have training for this?

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I studied architecture and had to train myself in carpentry. Presently, I can compete with the best artisan! I have continuously retrained myself by attending shows for joinery and building around the world, to keep abreast with changing trends.

What inspires your work?

My background. I love beauty. I travel a lot. I love well finished things. I have an eye for beautiful things, which I translate into joinery products.

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Since you started your label, what has been your highest point if any?

Several: Being chosen as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) SMIEIES entrepreneur of the year 2008; the look on the face of a satisfied customer; When people ask if our work is really done in Nigeria or ask for the foreigners on our team. With great pleasure we tell them that we are 100{54d2fcdcd494adb6982253be6fe8d5492e5f586157f419110131714f9092ec60} proudly Nigerian.

How do you present a beautiful African heritage to a global and obviously diverse audience?

By attempting, notwithstanding the limitations of our environment, excellence at all times.

What key success factors do you have in the business?

Getting our staff to share in the vision of excellence: An understanding that we are here to serve the customer, which informs excellent service delivery; a further understanding that if we believe.

What are the major challenges you face?

Inadequate electricity power-20{54d2fcdcd494adb6982253be6fe8d5492e5f586157f419110131714f9092ec60} of our overheads is diesel. This is unacceptable. Lack of access to capital; Unavailability of materials (both locally sourced hardwoods and re-engineered materials) Insensitive and discordant government policies; Cheap alternatives from Asia; Smuggling; Lack of integrity in the body politic; Dearth of skilled manpower (artisans) and poor human capital generally.

Contact: www.cyruswoodcrafters.com

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