Building Jamaica with Boss Furniture
F over 20 years, Boss Furniture has dominated the local and regional furniture market with premium products and services, crafted by the hands of Jamaican artisans.
What started out as an upholstery store with only three employees in the heart of downtown Kingston, now supplies quality furniture and bedding to 14 countries within the region and several retail stores islandwide.
"We wanted to find a business to go into, so we did a lot of market surveys and checked out the competition for what was out there. My family has been in haberdashery and dry goods for many years. I and my dad always had a love for manufacturing and we, along with my two brothers and mother, decided to start an upholstery factory in 1990," said Boss' chief executive officer, Omar Azan.
HOW IT BEGAN
Boss began with the matriarch of the family needing a reupholstering service and had difficulty finding one.
"We got a guy who could do it and realised that this could be a business," explained Azan. Over the years, the company transitioned from reupholstering to the assembly of its very own furniture. "We started selling to the little mom-and-pop stores in Jamaica and our employees moved from nine to 200."
Boss Furniture currently operates out of two locations, 112c Church Street, Kingston and 16A Elletson Road, Kingston 2. The company's remarkable growth has led to them branching out into additional services which include bedding and pillow manufacturing. The growth of the business is solely dependent on the quick thinking and unity of the family which led to the development and execution of ideas.
"When things got really tight in Jamaica in terms of the economy and the buying power of the people, we had to go out and really push to get business outside of Jamaica. We have around 200 people that we need to pay every week and their livelihood is dependent on our success," said Azan.
Boss Furniture prides itself on having the best artisans on the island. Many of their employees have been part of the company from inception and are making no plans to leave anytime soon.
"We are like a family. The company takes very good care of us and I enjoy what I do," said Alva Johnson, who has been with the company for over 21 years. Outlook Magazine, had the opportunity to meet the employees as they worked ardently within the various departments of the factory. The close-knit assembly line, is formed from a cohesive bond among the workers, built on communication and kindness.
"We are the largest in terms of employment for any other bedding factory here in Jamaica. I am happy because we started from very humble beginnings - with very little start-up money. We started with around $10,000 Jamaican," said Azan.
Though the raw materials for the factory are imported, the assembly of every product is done on Jamaican soil.
"We don't have a fabric mill in Jamaica and we don't have any proper lumber yards, so we have to get our materials from overseas. The labour is here and the skill set is here. A lot of our workers are trained here and they have worked their way up from handyman status to an upholsterer or a woodworker."
With their reliable labour force, Boss Furniture is able to produce 80 mattresses a day. Each worker within the upholstering department is able to upholster three full living room sets a day.
Boss' ability to supply an American-looking product, is what sets them apart from their competition.
"When customers enter the retail stores, they often ask if the furniture is imported. What we try to do is be like an American made product in a third world country, which is better and even stronger than what is being sold overseas," Azan said.
Their high-quality products have led to a partnership with Courts Jamaica and several hotels across the island which include The Spanish Court Hotel, Sandals and the Super Club franchise.
"Our price competitiveness also sets us apart. We have living room sets starting at around US$240. We have mattresses starting from $5,000 Jamaican. We meet every spending ability for the pocket."
Boss Furniture exudes national pride and firmly believes in the buy Jamaican, build Jamaica motif, in order to grow the country's economy. By keeping their business in Jamaica, Boss has decided to invest in the island and contribute to the prosperity of the nation.