She said her passion for challenging jobs was what motivated her to learn furniture making and she is not regretting it.
Hajia Abubakar said she started the carpentry work about 15 years ago. She learnt the trade from her husband. She abandoned her catering service job and tailoring to concentrate carpentry.
She left school at primary six and got married, but now attends adult education in Suleja, Niger State. She speaks good English. She has not been able to graduate from the adult school because of the demanding nature of her job.
Hajia Abubakar who described different types of carpentry work to include furniture making, cut and nail, carving carpenter and art work, said she is into all aspect of carpentry. Displaying some of her art works such as carving, beddings and kitchen utensils to this reporter she said she does not want to stop at only one aspect of the work.
“I do all these not leaving anything behind. I am into furniture work like making beds and cushion chairs, wardrobes, doors, cabinets and so on. I also design Islamic inscriptions on wood and gift items also. I also cast art work and painting,” she said.
On how lucrative carpentry business is, she said the patronage is very good adding that she makes more money when brides to be placed order for her to make some furniture for their weddings.
“It is a very lucrative business especially at the end of the year when wedding activities is increasing. I get contracts to make furniture for bride to be for their weddings and that has been boosting the business,” she said.
On her initial capital she said she did not really start with any huge capital but that the capital she had then was the power to do her work within time frame and also does it well.
She said: “I remember buying materials of N5,000 to make a furniture which I sold for N15,000 and that was how I keep reinvesting the money into the business.”
Mama Sani carpenter said her charges are moderate compare to those that have big workshop and that is what is attracting customer to her and also in turn make those she has worked for to refer people to her. She said she charges between N60,000 to N120,000 depending on the type of furniture she is making for customer.
“I do my work at a moderate price that will not be expensive for the customer but will still allow me to make my profit. This has been helping me because my customers do refer people to me and I don’t disappoint them,” Hajia Abubakar said.
She said the one that is not seasonal is the Islamic inscription that she made, “on this Islamic inscription, they are not seasonal; people patronize me often on that because they are not expensive.”
Although she does not have people on her pay role, she affirmed that she has quite some people that she has trained on the job and this she does voluntarily not collecting any fee from them.
She said: “Nobody is on my pay role but I have those that I train from time to time. It is my own way of empowering the trainees. I don’t charge them any money but only tell them to buy their working tools such as saw, hammer, nails, and jack so that they can learn the work effectively.
“My benefit in this is that if they succeed they will never forget me and I will be rewarded for the knowledge I imparted in them.”
She said she sees them as her own children and that is why she is imparting knowledge on them. The trainees she said are male because girls are not interested in the job adding that that is why there are few women in the business.
Mama Sani carpenter said she has not been able to access loan facility because of the condition she was given when she went to one of the new generation banks to secure loan facility.
She said: “When I went to one of the new generation banks where I save my money, they told me that for them to give me loan, I would have to put some assets down which I did not have and for that I did not get the loan.
“They also said I must register another account aside the one I had with them. It was an issue of if you want to take N200,000 from us you must have something worth of that to also put down and that was what discouraged me.”
She explained further that on this job, she cannot rate how much comes in per month adding that there are sometimes she can stay for some months without any major work while at times she gets like two or three furniture order ranging from N120,000 and above within a month. “The work is not an all day business but when it comes it is very lucrative,” she said.
According to Hajia Abubakar, the Islamic inscription she make is sometime giving out as gift to people and this has been helping her to get some work in return as people make order when they see them.
The challenge of getting good material is a problem she is facing, “you wanted good materials that will last when you do your work and the seller assures you that is good but one will later discover that what they give you is wrong, that is a major problem in this business. Another problem is power supply that has made us to be using generator. We need electricity for a lot of thing but it is not available.”
She said some people also come at times but instead of giving her their jobs they will say they do not want a woman to handle their job but she has always proof them wrong if she is able to persuade them to give her the work.
She urged the government to open up a site where they can put in place different workshops in the area of carpentry, mechanic, electrical and different handwork that people can come and learn and be empowered to stand on their own instead of being idle or roaming the street.
Hajia Abubakar also advised women to shun insult and get something doing to support their family.
“I was insulted because of this work, some people say I am suffering that women are not meant to suffer but I did not mind them,” she said.
She said anything you are interested in that will generate money for you as a woman you should endeavour to do it so that when “your spouse is not with you, you can always cope.”