Home Feature Story Entrepreneurs: OFO Says Save Money, Buy Used Furniture

Entrepreneurs: OFO Says Save Money, Buy Used Furniture

OFO - Office Furniture Online - lets you buy or sell second-hand office furniture online.

Entrepreneurs who are starting out always look out to reduce costs and save money so they won’t have to borrow money or rely on online credit cards in the future. When it comes to setting up an office, OFO, an e-commerce site that trades in second-hand office furniture, believes it can help.

Singapore-based OFO – or Office Furniture Online – was started by the team behind Ebizsurf.com.sg, who first got the inspiration when they were trying to sell off their own office furniture.

“We were trying to change some of our office furniture and realised there was no easy and direct avenue to sell them off,” says Gary Ong, director of sales for OFO, adding that listings on online classifieds, with their varied product categories, also invariably get lost. In addition, from their experience on Ebizsurf, a lot of companies have trouble discarding their furniture when they move office. The folks at OFO also recognized that there was a market for used office furniture, especially amongst startup entrepreneurs who are conscious of their startup costs, and focused on these new business owners.

“As entrepreneurs running small-scale businesses, we know the value of savings and are often on the look out for good deals when it comes to office supplies, furniture, equipment and other materials.” Gary says a business owner can often save up to 60 percent off retail prices when buying used.

As Good As New

Not only does OFO‘s online service act as an online clearing house for those looking to buy new or used office furniture, it also allows business owners to post up surplus office products for sale.  OFO works on a premium listing model, but is currently free for users to list their products.

Gary reveals that companies that dispose of used office furniture are usually large multi-national corporations who are in the process of moving to a new office, renovating or consolidating their operations. The furniture these companies discard are not only branded – Gary counts brands like Herman Miller, Haworth, and Steelcase amongst others – but have only been used for a few years and still in very good condition. “Throwing away good furniture is a bad idea and a huge waste,” says Gary, who used to be in advertising sales for a publishing firm. “Not only are the furniture still usable but I think I can do greater good to the Earth if it is being reused.”

Views on Entrepreneurship

Gary Ong
Gary Ong, director of sales for OFO, knew entrepreneurship was his calling.

Entrepreneurship, Gary says, is tough. “Ever watched (HBO‘s) Band of Brothers? When the troops leaving the landing craft get shredded by bullets? It feels like that at times.”

Gary says that while ‘passion’ is pretty much a cliched answer when it comes to describing a trait that will lead to a successful entrepreneur, it’s actually true. “You need to be passionate about what you are doing, that is the drug that would take you further, higher and keeps you going like a steam train during late nights, and when you realize your wallet is beginning to look empty and when everybody thinks you are wasting your time.”

Gary knew entrepreneurship was his calling. “I always knew I wanted to walk this path, I knew it was going to be tough, I knew it was going to be dirty, I knew it was going to be a big challenge.” He’s thankful he actually knows what he wants, and that he had a great business mentor who has guided him along the way and brought him back to reality whenever the situation called for it.

This leads us to an important lesson he’s learnt: to listen hard.

“Before you start your venture and during your venture, a lot of people would have a lot to say. Listen… they might know something you do not. Take it in and think carefully about what they say, process the information and decide if it is something you need or can work with. So listen and do not forget.”

“Along the way, you would also meet a lot of the naysayers, whose vision are not as far as yours and can only see their toes. Never ever let them put you down, listen, take it with a pinch of salt and remember you always knew what you wanted.”


    • Thanks Jeff, you would be amazed at the amount of office furniture thrown away every year. At least currently more MNCs are practicing CSR and looking into greener ways of disposing their furniture.

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