24 year old Nelson Emmanuel is a graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He is the Creative director at CarpenterWay Furnishings and Interiors. The company is an Anambra based furniture and interior décor enterprise. In this interview, he spoke with ANAMBRA PEOPLE about his business, ideas and escapades. Excerpts;
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER CARPENTERWAY?
The journey began in 2017 when I was in 300 level. It was as a result of an ASUU strike that lasted for 3 months. I decided to take the advantage to learn carpentry even though I had tried learning other things including Forex and crypto. When I ventured into carpentry, I felt I wouldn’t last in it because I was more or less a soft boy who would rather use his phone or laptop under an air-conditioned room as against doing manual job under the sun. I didn’t really know that I was going to continue but I thank God for my boss who was quite understanding and patient with me.
DID YOU LEARN CARPENTRY OR INTERIOR DECOR?
It was wood work that I started with. You know one needs to start from somewhere. Interior decor and carpentry are intertwined and you can’t talk about one without involving the other. If you delve into one and you are serious with what you are doing, you will also know a thing or two about the other one.
YOU SAID YOU NEVER HAD PASSION FOR CARPENTRY, WHAT ACTUALLY MADE YOU TO STAY PUT IN LEARNING THE CRAFT?
I wasn’t passionate about the craft but that doesn’t mean I hated it. I am a creative person and by default a craftsman, but I didn’t know that my creativity would tilt towards manual work because I’d rather create things with the computer or my phone. Nonetheless, When we started getting interested in wood work, I automatically started developing passion and it grew as I advanced. I could even stay up all night to watch YouTube videos about how people in the developed countries make their own furniture. I noticed that I started dropping a lot of things I was interested in because I have found a new interest.
DO YOU THINK CARPENTRY IS A PERMANENT CHOICE FOR YOU NOW?
There are a lot things that I am meant to do. I’m adventurous and wouldn’t want to be monopolised. But I don’t see wood work/ interior designs as something I would ever drop.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO POSITION CARPENTERWAY TO BE A BRAND?
Carpenterway is definitely going to become a household name; it is going to be one of the A-list interior designs firms. Its our niche to get contracted to design the interior confines of every space from 0 to 100 and render it with a blend of aesthetics and function. We’re already on it and it’s only going to better each passing day.
DO YOU CREATE YOUR OWN DESIGN OR DO YOU GO WITH THE REGULAR DESIGN YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET?
I started off with a lot of designs I see on the internet. How we started breaking free from what we see on the internet was by altering the designs and you know art is relative. Once you alter something about an art, it stops being that particular art. You might be able to see some components of that particular art but it is no longer the same. From there, we started creating CGIs/3D representations. These designs are original, but I can’t dispute the fact that the internet plays a huge role in musing us. Every creative can attest to this notion. The first step towards learning is trying to do what someone else had done because you cannot just wake up and start doing something, you have to learn the process and the mechanism involved.
SHARE WITH US THE JOB THAT BROUGHT YOUR FIRST MILLION AND HOW YOU FELT ABOUT IT?
The job that brought my first million was a full home furnishing.
IS CARPENTERWAY ALL ABOUT THE ELITES, DO YOU ALSO HAVE PACKAGES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND LOW INCOME EARNERS?
I started as a student at the backyard of my lodge and when the landlord started having issues with me, I moved everything I was doing to my one room self-contain apartment. Then, my target was students and when my neighbours saw what I was doing, they started patronising, without having to break the bank. Till this moment, we have services for students and they remain pocket friendly. So if we can proffer services for students, how much more the middle class and low income earners?
So CarpenterWay is not just for the elite, it is for everyone.
COULD YOU TELL US SOME OF THE MAJOR JOBS YOU HAVE HANDLED?
We have handled a lot of projects for individuals, hotels and offices in and outside Anambra state.
WHAT TYPE OF DESIGN DO PREFER FOR YOUR CLIENTS?
It solely depends on the client and what they want. I could work for a minimalist and also someone that is flamboyant with his ideas so it depends on the space and the client.
HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR JOB COME?
From May 2021 till this very moment, I’ve not gone on a vacation. It goes a long way to tell you how consistent it has been.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OTHER YOUNGER PEOPLE CAN LEARN FROM YOUR STORY TO SUCCESS IN CARPENTRY?
If what you are passionate about doesn’t pay at the moment, you should look for something else to venture into.
If your passion is singing, dancing, being a DJ and at this point in time it doesn’t put food on your table, I think it would only be wise if you try investing your time and energy in other things. You are a youth, you can never go wrong trying or asking questions. You never can tell what could work for you till you get into it.
THE NEW TREND IN TOWN IS DIGITALIZING PROCESSES, WHAT PLANS DOES CARPENTERWAY HAVE TO MAKE THEIR PROCESSES DIGITAL?
Like I said earlier, we do CGI designs; it has also always been on my mind to venture into NFTs too but I want to have 100% idea before I proceed. If I venture into it, it is going to be another way to earn and also advertise the company. It is also going to be resourceful for other young interior designers, since they can go there and get ideas and stay inspired.
ARE YOU FULFILLED AS A CARPENTER?
I am very fulfilled as a carpenter but you know man is insatiable. I am contented with what I have at the moment but that doesn’t mean that I am not striving for more. I am always setting goals for myself, big goals for long-term and small goals for short term. I don’t pressure myself with having to create unattainable goals. So I am fulfilled and grateful for where I am right now.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE ACHIEVED A BREAKTHROUGH IN BUSINESS OR ARE YOU STILL ON THE WAY?
If having done 100s of jobs with a track record of “no bad jobs” isn’t breakthrough, I don’t know what is.
IS IT VIABLE TO DO BUSINESS IN ANAMBRA STATE?
It is and Anambra has been a blessing to us.
WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN THE INDUSTRY APART FROM YOUR BOSS?
TRT Arraedo is one man I reckon with a hundred percent. The way he thinks up designs and conjure elements is just mind blowing. I relate to his thought process alot and it has its toll on my production.
AS A CARPENTER, ARE YOU RICH?
I think I am a fulfilled man.