Young Entrepreneur: UiTM’s undergraduate student runs refurbished furniture business

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Arliya Munif, a Diploma in Investment Analysis student from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia, Dungun started a ‘refurbished furniture business’ in 2017 at a young age of 17.

The innovative idea of selling refurbished furniture prompted Arliya to inculcate the 3Ps – People, Planet and Profit, an entrepreneurial spirit, she learned in her Entrepreneur course.  A believer in sustainability and that everyone has a responsibility and can contribute to taking care of the planet, Arliya noticed and seized the business opportunity in ‘refurbished furniture business’ initially by retaining, repairing, and restoring used furniture to its functional condition before reselling them.

With only RM1, 500 (USD 350) as capital, she began to venture into the furniture business in the northern state of Malaysia – Kedah.  She opened her first shop in Jeniang, a small town in Kedah which is approximately 41 km from the main town -Sungai Petani.

The people behind her success are her parents, En. Munif Bin Haji Mansor and Pn. Riza Binti Abd Rahman; her Macroeconomics lecturer Cik Nur Azwani binti Mohamad Azmin, and her younger brother, Muhammad Mukhriz Bin Haji Mansor, who has been always assisting her since the start of her business.

Arliya’s refurbished furniture business expanded with the opening of the second branch in Merbok (situated about 40 km from her first shop) after one year of operation in 2018.  As she wanted to focus on developing the business in the second branch, she closed down the first branch.

Currently, in her third successful year, Arliya employs six staff comprising of a driver, an assistant driver, two sales and marketing personnel and two employees for installing and repairing furniture.

When asked what motivated her to start the business, Arliya said, “The trigger factors for me to pursue this business was first to provide an opportunity for the B40 (low-income earners) to have quality furniture at a reasonable price. Secondly, and most importantly was the environmental factor.  I wanted to save the old furniture from being thrown away as used furniture is still valuable after repair and restoration”.

The movement control order (MCO) which was enforced by the Malaysian government due to the COVID 19 pandemic beginning 18 March 2020 has had many implications for businesses including that of Arliya’s.  The MCO and pandemic also have given opportunities for some businesses to leverage on the ICT and digital platform.

Arliya explained that “although I was not able to operate my business outlet physically, I still managed to reach out to customers through the online platform”.  During the MCO, she cleverly leveraged on the digital platform to promote her business and provide updates on the latest furniture product lines via social media especially Facebook.  Customers were able to make online purchases, though delivery was restricted to locations within the 10k radius only during the second phase of the MCO.

While managing her furniture business, Arliya is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administrations (Hons) Entrepreneurship at UiTM Selangor Campus.  Although open distance learning (ODL) is quite challenging for her, she has managed to turn it into a new business adventure which provides her the opportunity to learn about new business strategies and opportunities.

To get further insight on Arliya’s refurbished furniture business, please visit the Facebook page.