AFTER suffering a major setback in 1998 due to a fire breaking out in its premises, Kenview Enterprise Sdn Bhd has gone a long way to stay afloat.
That year, Kenview's main workshop burnt down, leaving its records, machinery, and invoices in ashes.
Following the fire, the company had fallen into debt as it became uable to receive payment due to the lack of receipts.
The business, which was initially set up in 1981 by Kang's father Kang Ho Kiong the company's managing director after he came to Brunei in the 70's, has now become a family business.
"My father had learned how to do furnishing and interior renovations, and from there, it became our family business," says Kang.
The company had been slowly working its way towards ensuring stability since the fire.
"Business was good from when the company started until the economic crisis, which didn't affect us. It was only because the workshop burned down and there was no insurance on the wooden property, and also all the invoices for our work done were burnt," he says.
Kang says the company's creativity, passion and craftsmanship has helped it climb back to the position it is now in.
"When we started, the company only had 10 workers, and we slowly grew to two workshops, one at Gadong the other at Tanjong Bunut. We had about 60 to 70 workers at that time," he says.
Kang adds: "After the fire we downsized to about five workers, but now we have about 40 workers."
When asked about the challenges being faced, Kang says that the company's biggest challenge is repaying its debt.
"Now, it's a bit different, there is a lot of competition in terms of pricing in the interior renovation industry. There are also a lot of freelancers coming up that creates more competition," he says.
As for the company's success despite the setback, Kang says it's mainly because of his father's craftsmanship and stringent approach towards quality.
"Some completed jobs that we feel is compatible may not be accepted by him. So he has very high standards in his design and craftsmanship," says Kang.
Other reasons for Kenview's success, includes its its service and staff.
"We want a sustainable way of business, so our prices are not hiked up. With good quality and competitive prices, we've gotten a lot of regular customers. The main reason for this is because we don't want to do business one-off, we are looking at a long-term relationship with customers. So our service has left a good impression on our clients," he says.
As for Kenview's staff, Kang says that there are one or two employees who have been with the company for the past 30 years, and a few more who have been working there for more than 10 years.
"Our staff's loyalty has played an important part in helping us through the good and bad times," he says.
In terms of future plans, the company's interior designer, Wallace Kang Tzin Hao, saysKenview hopes to create a "working showroom" in two years,
"That way we can showcase our work, but not just plainly a showroom, it can be a cafe or restaurant at the same time. That way people can visit us, and we can include a viewable working area for our designers," Kang says, adding that there is a keen interest in the food and beverage industry.
He hopes that the working showroom can also double as a concept store for Kenview.
Further down the road, Kang says that other plans include the creation of loose furniture, for example, TV cabinets and wardrobes, to be packaged at a lower price.
The Brunei Times
Monday, July 16, 2012
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