By Kuria Kimani
Mohamed Zakir is an entrepreneur who runs the famous Fairdeal Furniture Chain and Ashley Furniture franchise. He is a serial and calculated entrepreneur whose work over the years has seen him build a successful and profitable business that continues to grow and reach new horizons. This article looks into his biography highlighting his top business success tips, background, and entrepreneurial journey.
Age and Place of Birth
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Mohamed Zaki was born in Kwale in the 1970s. He was born with albinism, a condition he said in a past interview did not make him feel any lesser than the next person.
Growing Up As An Indian Albino
Talking to Business Daily Jackson Biko, the CEO of Fairdeal said of growing up as an Indian Albino:
I didn’t have any issues. Not any that I can remember because look at me I could pass for a European. I have never been categorised as less fortunate or something. I think I’m always an equal.
Zakir attended school in Kwale County for his primary school and high school education. After he completed high school from Aga Khan, he dived into the entrepreneur world with a Ksh 50,000 capital from his father.
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Mohamed’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in immediately after high school. He set up a glazier service and glass selling business in his hometown. This was his first business and he managed to keep it running until he identified a niche he would potentially explore. This was the furniture industry where he found that products in the market were often substandard and overpriced. Mohamed Zakir teamed up with his three brothers and brother-in-law and founded Fairdeal Group that added furniture in their portfolio. This gave birth to Fairdeal Furniture.
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Responding to a question by Biko on how he has effectively managed to work with his brothers and his brother-in-laws, he responded:
The first thing we did when we set up this company was to make our own constitution called the Fairdeal Family Constitution. We were thinking about 50 years from today. How are our children, the second generation, going to join business?
And if they decide to join what is the procedure? We may be sending our children abroad to study but they might want to come back and join the business. We have also thought of the third and fourth generations.
Therefore, we have a clear structure of dos and don’ts, which means conflicts are solved by just opening the constitution and asking, “what does this say?”
Fairdeal Furniture Chain
He opened his first furniture store in 2007. Mohamed would source contemporary and quality furniture pieces for sale to the middle and upper-middle-class. His business picked up as customers were consistently satisfied and their expectations exceeded. With the growing success, he opened his next outlet in Nairobi. Over time, Fairdeal Furniture has opened stores in Kenya’s seven counties. There are two outlets in Mombasa, three in Mombasa, and in Kisumu, Malindi, Eldoret, Voi, and Nakuru. Zakir says that Fairdeal Furniture goes the extra mile for its clients in order to stay competitive in the market by offering exceptional after-sales services, free interior design consultation, and more. Employees at the enterprise also enjoy a diverse workplace and mentorship by their CEO. According to a 2019 article, Fairdeal had a total of 200 employees. The company imports furniture from Malaysia, China, the US and Vietnam.
Ashley’s Furniture Homestore
This is an American-based furniture retailer that has more than two thousand locations around the world. Mohammed Zakir sought to be Kenya’s franchise holder for Ashley’s Furniture Homestore and got it. He has spearheaded the opening of four outlets in Kenya so far. Additionally, he encourages entrepreneurs to invest in a strong human resource force, systems and procedures, and to avoid overborrowing sharing that he had never taken a loan to advance his businesses.
The entrepreneur has five brothers. He has a 20 year old daughter who is studying Food and Nutrition in Dubai.
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