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Did You Know? Bimbo Alase-Arawole: From A Mini Store Owner To A Successful Businesswoman


Leatherworld was established to meet the need for genuine furniture in the Nigerian market at a time when there was a drought of such in the market.

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The brand is reputed both locally and internationally as the manufacturer and stockist of the highest grade of quality furniture, furnishings and allied products. In its quest to meet clients’ needs, Leatherworld is in constant pursuit of quality as a timeless pedigree.

The brand’s predominant identity being the Rhino seeks to stamp an indelible mark on the products, solely for the convenience of its teeming clientele, delivering quality, style, class, elegance and comfort.

Bimbo: Stunning with Success

Bimbo Alashe-Arawole is the mastermind behind Leatherworld, the highly acclaimed luxury furniture company. Prior to establishing the furniture company in June 1994, Alashe-Arawole ran a mini gift store and beauty salon, Glamour in Apapa.

Thanks to her business savvy, hard work and foresight. Leatherworld has now become a pioneer and household name in high-quality furniture and interior décor. She is a stunning example of women who run a successful business in Nigeria.

A very modest and unassuming lady by nature, Alashe-Arawole, 52, sits on the board of several blue-chip companies. This very enterprising businesswoman is a mentor to many established and aspiring entrepreneurs.

She attended Pitman College, London and the Regent Academy of Designs and Fine Arts. She also bagged a Post Graduate degree in Interior Designing from the London Design School.

Having conquered the Nigerian terrain, Alashe-Arawole is working towards spreading her tentacles to other African countries, so as to enable them to have a feel of the world of luxurious and magnificent furniture making in Nigeria.

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Leatherworld: A Transitory Journey

With twenty-two years of its existence in the industry, Leatherworld has consistently pioneered several laudable initiatives in the furniture and furnishing business. Its track record of zero-reject is still an industry standard that remains unrivalled.

In its drive to give clients the best among competing brands, Leatherworld entered a strategic alliance with NIERI, based in the Tuscany region of Italy. NIERI is one of the world’s most renowned, contemporary and traditional furniture manufacturers, known for its exclusive home design in wood and full flowered leather.

Leatherworld, in partnership with NIERI, established an assembly and manufacturing company known as Concourse Industry in Calabar Free Trade Zone to produce world-class furniture in Nigeria. This was commissioned by the former First Lady, the late Chief (Mrs.) Stella Obasanjo in February 2005.

At the heart of the business was a desire, jointly nursed by Alashe-Arawole and her partners, to help raise a well-trained, well-equipped Nigerian team of furniture makers with skill and finesse that will rival their foreign counterparts.

Presently, much of the work is being done by Nigerians and the NIERI standard is still being maintained. Some of the raw materials are locally sourced while others are imported for quality reasons.

This venture resulted in an astounding success and the partners were further inspired to open a new factory so as to increase production.

Quite interestingly too, Alashe-Arawole started operating from a small office space in Ribadu Road, Ikoyi. After a couple of years, she moved her business, occupied a more spacious office in Raymond Njoku Road, Ikoyi and established what was to become the biggest showroom in Nigeria.

The showroom occupied a floor space of 1,5000sq meters, on three levels, showcasing world-class products. And in 2007, the company berthed on its permanent site in Lekki, called The Concourse Place.

Aside from setting up a branch in Abuja, Leatherworld also launched into the Lagos Mainland by setting up another branch in GRA, Ikeja.


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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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