It seemed like Facebook had also realized this desire, and when I was browsing the site one day, I found myself De Balak, a wooden table company that was born from a 25-year-old wooden door manufacturer. Interestingly, I had to interview its founder, Lucas, to learn about its history.
If the doors could knock down
It started 35 years ago when Lucas’ father started trading in wood to make finger joint components (also known as comb joints, where 2 pieces of wood have complementary jagged edges cut to fit and then stick). 10 years later, his father decided to turn around and started a wooden door factory to manufacture and sell these doors.
“My family business in this industry has started since 1996 and is still expanding and trying to adapt to the current business environment, which is now quite difficult,” Lucas told Vulcan Post.
I’ll be honest here: when I found out about Balak’s story, I joked to my classmates, “It’s easy, they could just knock the doors down and volley, a table!”
“Wooden doors can’t just be turned into tables,” Lucas corrected. “However, they share the same raw material, which is solid wood. Different techniques are required to make the door and the table ”.
Expanding the business to make and sell tables next to wooden doors made sense for 24-year-olds. His friends have also been demanding for years that he do it with his family’s solid wood materials.
It was only during November last year that the young founder realized it was a good time to start, making WFH the new norm for Malaysians.
“My first thought was just to try to test the market, as it is one of the steps to expand my family business. So, from then on, it took me 1 month to prepare and launch Balak’s on December 5, 2020, ”he told us.
Taking advantage of the factory
Of course, Lucas had it a little easier than most by not having to start his business from scratch and all. By using resources in his family’s manufacturing business, he could help expand and grow the business to meet the needs of today’s Malaysians.
Lucas also acknowledged this by sharing: “The manufacture of wooden doors has always been our root. It is the beginning of all this, without the door, Balak’s would not exist. “
Using a small part of the existing factory and its equipment, it invested a capital expenditure of RM 4,000 to sell tables that were previously made. With the sufficient amount of cash obtained from these sales, the team built its first adjustable electric table, Balak’s Meja, and sold it for an amount of 1,699 RM-1,849 RM, depending on its size.
Compared to other local brands in the market, Balak stand desks are definitely cheaper. To exemplify this, EVIS would cost you a whopping RM4,499 or RM2,199 (without and with promotions respectively). However, this could be due to differences in the technological components between the two brands and more.
One way Balak’s is able to cut costs is by selling its tables directly to customers at its factory. By skipping the middleman, customers could save up to 30% by buying directly from manufacturers, as retailers typically mark the cost 3-5 times on average.
This is according to Lucas, who is aware of this because his family’s wooden door business uses the B2B model. “That’s why, for Balak, I decided to omit the intermediary and sell it directly to consumers. I think this is a great opportunity and a very good start to enter the B2C market, ”he explained.
Based on our conversation with Lucas, it seemed that the pandemic and HF conditions have probably been a blessing for Balak. Due to the fact that more people need a home office space, it has increased the demands of the table business to produce their products.
With this, Balak sales have been growing as a result. After three months, the team has already launched 3 different products and has been matched.
Without a doubt, Lucas is grateful and attributes the success of his business to his family’s business. “Because of my family background, I have the privilege of having the resources I need. It can provide me with machines, experiences and skills, ”he expressed.
Using it as a launch pad, the team has been looking for different types of raw materials to match with the woods on their tables. “For example, Meja Mini of Balak is a combination of solid wood and stainless steel. This is the kind of collaboration I’m looking for, “added Lucas.
The entrepreneur is also focused on his goal, which is to offer products that look good and are practical for the job comfort of Malaysia. At the moment, they do not yet offer customization services, but we hope to discuss it in the future.
- You can find more information about Balak’s here.
- You can read about other startups in Malaysia here.
Featured Image Credit: Balak’s