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A Papua New Guinean Upholstery Business that Started from a Family Discussion

Ultimate Furniture is a small business that started from family discussions about what each member’s strengths were.

Owner, Nancy Tagep, from Simbu, says those discussions then turned into a five year journey to collect pieces of equipment and eventually open a small backyard upholstery operation in a Goroka suburb in 2016.

“I don’t have a business background. I don’t know how to do business…I don’t know about sales.”

But Nancy, drew on the experiences of her father and mother. Her father was a high school teacher who took the family into the upper highlands during his early years as a teacher. Nancy says from an early age, her father travelled long distances to get an education.

“His father died at an early age so my dad had to make his own way out to get to school.

She also grew up in a home that had a mother who welcomed everyone.

“Everyone called her ‘mum.’ Even people we didn’t know. Every day there were visitors in the house. Every day there were big meals.

“I think from my dad, I got his strength and the ability to believe that I can do anything. From my mother, I got her warm nature.”

Nancy and her husband have refused the temptation to get bank loans for fund their business. Upholstery and furniture was something neither of them understood when they started. But they had a brother who knew how to build and fix furniture.

It started from there.

“This is a Papua New Guinean business and people have come to us because they believed in a Papua New Guinean business.

“Everything about the business from the product to how its made is what is attractive to customers.

“When they come, I personally meet them and talk to them.”

Growth has been slow but steady.

They use social media and word of mouth as their primary means of drawing customers. For Ultimate Furniture, it is about developing killer products and letting the customers recommend the service.

“The innovation came from our family. We have so much talent and passion in Papua New Guinea.”

For Nancy, it has been about harnessing all those strengths and talents and putting them into action.

From a small backyard operation, Ultimate furniture has now moved into the formal sector. They’ve opened up a small showroom in West Goroka with a signboard hand painted by local artists.

“There are already players in the market and we want to see a reduction in imports of couches and sofas.

“We offer half the price of what you can get from the bigger shops in the country. We can be contacted on 70069716.”

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