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Becoming his own boss: From being laid off to providing employment

Dec 31, 2012   //   Entrepreneurs
En Zahrim Ahmad
Art Emphasize (Furniture maker)
Celcom 1Malaysia Internet Centre at Felda Rimba Mas, Perlis
From being laid off to providing employment

With convenient online customer service and skilled craftsmanship, Zahrim reached into new markets across Perlis

For most of us, losing a job would be devastating. For En Zahrim Ahmad, it was an opportunity. When Zahrim was laid off from his job in Johor due to recessive economy, he returned to his Perlis hometown with the mindset to become his own boss.

With training in Design Technology and Furniture Production at Mara Skills Insitute in Alor Setar, Zahrim created an independent cabinetmaking business to support his wife and child. And so, Art Emphasize was born.

In the beginning, promoting his business was tough and labour intensive. Zahrim would manually distribute flyers on a small scale to local residents. These initial efforts unfortunately failed to bring in sufficient business. Zahrim’s fate changed however when the managers of his local 1Malaysia Internet Centre intervened.

From photocopied flyers to online advertising

It just so happened that a 1Malaysia Internet Centre was set up right next to Zahrim’s furniture workshop. Zahrim would often frequent the centre to print and photocopy his promotional flyers.

En Zahrim Ahmad Art Emphasize (Furniture maker)That was when the proactive centre managers decided to help Zahrim expand his business through the internet. They taught him how to promote his services on Facebook and Mudah. Zahrim also learned how to do online research, inspiring him to expand his line with new products such as sarung keris and Islamic inspired woodcarvings.

By marketing his business online, Art Emphasize’s customers could simply order online. Zahrim would then personally deliver the furniture to his customer’s home. With such convenient online customer service, Zahrim acquired new customers from all over Perlis.

After just a few months of training at Celcom 1Malaysia Internet Centre, Zahrim simultaneously expanded his product line and market reach, increased his income, and even hired new staff to keep up with his expanding business. Zahrim is now supporting his family while proudly providing employment to his local community.