Saturday, 15th of June, 8 AM and already scorching hot. In Budesti, the rural side of Giurgiu County, Romania, Adrian is already working. He started at 6 AM, but the REDI team arrived at 8. The next day is a big fair in the area and he must put in the hours to cover the ‘missing’ ones from Sunday.
REDI: Hello Adrian. Please, introduce yourself.
Adrian Nae: My name is Adrian Nae, I’m 39 years old and I am a Roma Entrepreneur. I deal with furniture and upholstery. I make them in here, as you can see.
Since… Since I was 8 years old.
So you were forced to do it…
Wait, wait! I wasn’t forced to do anything. My parents didn’t forced me to do it. I had to choose if I’m going on with school or I learn to do this. I mean, upholstery. My father did this. I went with this because that’s what kept us fed. Maybe I was a lot better now if I picked school then. We were under Ceausescu, this was the better way to go then.
Can you name any difficulty to fulfill your job?
I can actually name plenty, we deal with difficulties on a weekly basis. But I will not complain about the things that I can deal with my hands, regardless of the hours put in. I have to name three accidents we had while we moved our products to fairs. No one was injured, but we lost a lot of the furniture we worked hard to produce.
Tell me about your challenges.
Almost everything is a challenge. The hardest things to manage is to move the products and to work it. You need raw force to do it because, as you can see, we do it by hand. It’s exhausting.
You’re in the business for three decades now. Did you receive any kind of help? With anything, by anyone.
(Laughs) No. Absolutely nothing, from no one.
What would help your business right now?
Cutting machines, smart machines, welding machines. The physical labor would be reduced greatly. Not only that, I can still do physical work, but the working times would be reduced. Add to that, the quality would be much better. The machines can do 80% of the job in my field. Faster, better. Instead, I’m doing it with my hands 100%.
What’s your working schedule?
Well, in a normal week, I work from Monday to Sunday, 18-20 hours / day. For example, yesterday I started at 5AM and finished at 1AM the next day.
Do you think it’s sustainable to invest and extend your business?
Absolutely and without a doubt: YES! Having the proper things to work with enables you to do furniture with a lot better quality with less time spent in the workshop. I could go to bigger stores and place my products. I could afford to send my products all over the country. I have enough imagination and work power. But as you can see, I’m working on this bench and everything is manual. It doesn’t matter how dexterous I am if I spend 20 hours to do what a machine can do in two hours.
Who are your clients?
Everybody. Everyone. I have clients from all over the country. We’re not selling only to locals. At least 25% are coming here from Bucharest. We have a lot of interest, but we cannot process everything. The reasons are stated above. It takes time when you don’t have the proper tools.
How do you see your craftsmanship in the future? How others evolved during these 30 years you are in the entrepreneurship field?
At the beginning, in this village, my father was the only one qualified to do upholstery. I’ve started to learn, we took other people to work with us. We were doing a lot of furniture too, but we started to expand when access to materials was easier. So we were self learners. We’ve learned, and learned, and learned. Started to make chairs, tables, this, that. Now we can do everything. It was my father, us, the two brothers (REDI Note – his brother does furniture as well), we hired some people. Those people left at some point and made their own businesses. That’s how it evolved here. Now, in this business I work with my wife and with another boy. Other than that we have three more drivers. We pay them to take our products to fairs.
0768 117 896 – Alina Nae
0760 056 609 – Adrian Nae or