This artisan is bringing innovation to the carpentry sector in Tozeur

June 11, 2019

In a residential area of Tozeur, where many people live and various small shops can be found, we meet Majdi Khotbi. The artisan has launched a carpentry workshop that promotes date palms, a product well known in the region, and is turning the wood into innovative furniture.

We quickly recognize Majdi’s passion for carpentry. “When I was young, I was skipping school to collect palm wood waste for making decorative items,” he says smiling. “I would spend most of my time in the workshop of our neighbour who was a carpenter, discovering little by little the secrets of this noble craft.”

Majdi left school at the age of 16 and started vocational training. He focused on learning the craft and how to combine palm wood and MDF, quickly becoming a talented apprentice.

Meeting one of the experts of Mashrou3i was a turning point in his professional life. He benefited from the support of the project, organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation.

“After this meeting, I was excited about starting my business,” says Majdi. “It all began when I completed the HP LIFE e-Learning program for aspiring entrepreneurs. I didn’t finish my studies, but still I could follow and participate in the interactive exercises of the HP LIFE e-Learning platform which enabled me to better understand how to launch and develop my project: calculate the various costs and especially how to manage customer relations.”

Back in Tozeur, Majdi launched his carpentry workshop in October 2017. He first purchased a multitasking machine at a low price that allowed him to perform many tasks at once including cutting and sanding.

Majdi designs and produces traditional furniture for living rooms and dining rooms, as well as rustic furniture much appreciated by his customers. He often reinforces the palm wood furniture with a layer of MDF to make it even stronger. It is this professionalism and passion for a job well done that has helped his business succeed through word of mouth and social media.

“Thanks to the support of Mashrou3i, I also received a training to improve my communication skills,” says Majdi. “I thought I was not able to talk about my project on the radio. But I did and I’m proud. It helped me gain new customers and a lot of confidence.”

“If I had to advise young people who want to launch a business, I’d say patience and perseverance will lead to success, just dare to get out of your comfort zone.”

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