In a residential area of Tataouine, Mohamed Aoual’s business, Tata Furniture, stands out with its warm ocher-red storefront. Inside bespoke kitchens, furniture pieces and walk-in wardrobes are packaged, ready for delivery, in the workshop where Mohamed designs and manufactures his products. Since establishing his business in the area in November 2016, Mohamed has built a loyal following of clients who have moved into the area and need furniture to decorate their new homes.
Mohamed’s organizational skills, thirst for learning, charisma and openness has helped pave his path to success. He dreams and thinks big, but stays grounded.
Smiling, Mohamed, recounts his entrepreneurial journey. "Marketing is my passion,” he says. “In 2005, I graduated in Commercial Computing, and then in 2008 I did a distance learning course and gained an international certification in commercial marketing.”
Drawing on his IT and marketing skills, Mohamed worked for several Tunisian companies between 2008 and 2012. While working in the private sector he strengthened his management skills and gained vital experience dealing with international clients.
In 2012, he launched his first business - a mobile app development company. Together with his business partner they attracted clients online from Europe, the USA and across the globe.
Always, looking for a new challenge, in 2016 Mohamed got the idea for a furniture manufacturing company and decided to embark on his second business venture. While developing his business plan he participated in a four-month technical training in Tunis to learn more about the wood working trade, materials and machine operations. He officially launched the business in November 2016.
“We are really proud of what we have achieved so far,” says Mohamed. “The company made profits from the first year, and it encouraged us to move forward and develop the company.”
With an annual turnover of around 800,000 Tunisian Dinars, Mohamed reached a crossroads. To help him expand his business and realize his goals, he has received support from the Mashrou3i project, a public private partnership between USAID, the Italian Cooperation, the HP Foundation and UNIDO.
Thanks to technical assistance provided by Mashrou3i’s regional expert, Mohamed feels confident about his plans for the growth of his company.
“I now have a very clear growth strategy,” explains Mohamed. “We will focus on producing kitchens and extend the company with two additional workshops. One dedicated to living room furniture and the second for children’s rooms. Next month, I’m also opening a new show room in the city center where all these products will be presented.”
To ensure the ongoing success of Tata Furniture, Mohamed has received training in taxation and marketing and the company’s seven staff have also received training in digital marketing.
"I launched Tata Furniture with a personal investment of 120,000 Tunisian Dinars,” says Mohamed. “With the help of Mashrou3i we will create a second production site that will create ten additional jobs in the region. Our customers are all across the country. We reach them through our website, our sponsored Facebook page and also thanks to our innovative TATA Furniture mobile application. Digital marketing is the key to our ongoing success."