A lot of people ask me, How come Tissue production? What made you decide on Tissue? Did you hear from God on what to do? How did you know it was going to work? Bla bla bla…
It will interest you to know that Banrut Rolls started as a very informal discussion between myself, my siblings and our parents in our living room.
We were all trying to convince our dad on why we needed to take the family business to the next level. The next level, for us, meant manufacturing, at the time we were into importation and trading. I recall this was at the time when the Federal government under president Olusegun Obasanjo banned the importation of some products and we had to look for other opportunities in the midst of all that. As a business, you need to keep evolving.
Each of us offered our suggestions, I remember I said “toothpick” and my Brother, Jay, said packed juice, My other brother agreed with me on toothpick and my sister was indifferent. My mum just mentioned tissue papers and it was funny at the mention of tissue papers all other ideas flew out of the window (lol!).
The only answer my dad could give at the time was “ where am I supposed to get that kind of money ?” it seemed like a huge project.
In order to discourage us, he said ‘Go do a Feasibility study and get back to me’. To his surprise, we were back 2weeks later, with a not –so-comprehensive feasibility study; at least we tried our best….
Daddy was convinced and he gave his full support. Our roller coaster journey began…. We started sourcing for machineries. While researching, we found a good company in South Africa, (or so we thought), we visited and made our intentions known. Our discussion with the South African company went smoothly but on getting back home to start the transaction proper, the company just refused to communicate or respond to our correspondence. Then, it occurred to us to try China, at the time my mum and I were running the family business (Banrut Home Creations) and we were already used to the Chinese terrain so we went for a machinery fair in Guangzhou. We came across a company we were comfortable with and voila…the company just ticked all the boxes. I told my mum, “lets just buy the toilet roll and serviette machines” and get on with business as fast as we can but Mrs Ataiyero wanted it all!! She said something profound: “you can never tell which one will be our cash cow” lets do it all, so we went for the serviettes, toilet roll, facial tissues, pocket tissues, kitchen rolls and multipurpose napkin machines. It took a whole year to pay for all the machines we needed, monthly deposits were made to the company in China. The deposits came from the proceeds of the existing business we were operating at the time, which invariably meant the business would eventually take the back seat. (talk about sacrificing comfort for an unknown territory)
On getting back home, we were, then, faced with the challenge of getting operators to handle the machines. How do you employ for a business that’s yet to start? Anyway, something funny happened one afternoon when I went to visit my parents. The cook walked up to me and said “Auntie I don’t want to be a cook for the rest of my life oh” (lol). I replied: Mr James I don’t get you… he, then, explained that he wants to be a part of the new company coming up, Hmmm!! A cook? Crazy right? But that was our first production manager. Mr James went to China for 3months for training on how to handle the machines.
To Be Continued…
Written by bola Adefila (COO Banrut Rolls)