IT Professional Turned Carpenter on Why We Should Never Give Up on Our Dreams

For many young people, a career in Information Technology (IT) would be a dream come true. Not for Herbert Lwanga. From a young age, he loved to draw and curve things. But he did not get a chance to explore his artistic talents until much later in life. One of the reasons: family expectations.

“My guardians wanted a degree in something straightforward. I went on and acquired a diploma in information systems and a degree in development economics,” Herbert said.

With prior experience in data clerking, Herbert went on to work for several information technology firms both in Uganda and Rwanda for several years. But, he knew that his passion was elsewhere— in art.

He said, “I missed curving and sculpturing. Whenever I got a chance, I would visit my cousin who ran a furniture mart and do a bit of woodwork. I would curve a few things.”

It is this love for art that pushed him to get a degree in industrial later and to co-found Latimate Furniture with his cousin.

Since 2015 when it was founded, Latimate Furniture has taken on residential projects, restaurants, and hotels.

Latimate Furniture at work.

On doing carpentry differently

Like most trades, carpentry is viewed by some in society as a last resort. Herbert explained, “People think this is something you get into when you have failed at all else, which is wrong. Carpentry is a profession but carpenters must work hard in order to command the respect that other professions command.”

Herbert noted that one way or commanding respect is by bringing quality products to the market. Quality products require that carpenters do not take shortcuts that can compromise the quality of the product. They should also endeavor to use good raw materials. This will also help carpenters to compete favorably with imported products.

Herbert’s commitment to quality has opened many doors.

“I have made many connections which I will soon use to take my products beyond Uganda. Also, I make a comfortable living. Most importantly, I am able to work on something I really love.”

Lessons that he has learnt

Herbert’s most important lesson is that “if you decide to go into business do it with your whole heart and if you are not ready to do that, do not start.”

“Also you must dedicate time to your business. This will help you to research and to study market trends and what others in the same business are doing differently.” Herbert advised.

“Importantly, you must leverage internet to grow your sales. Your survival will depend on it.”

Herbert Lwanga is one of over 35 Ugandan makers supported by Collage to bring their products to the market. One of his beautiful pieces can be bought here and here. Learn more about what Collage and send us a message on 0782960558 for more information.

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