I Love My Job-Sesan Adeyemi
This gentle man is in the unusual business of casket making and undertaking. We were fascinated when a source told us that he has been doing all his work alone for over two decades. We went in search of Mr. Sesan Adeyemi, CEO of Last Home Casket and bring you the exclusive.
Who is Sesan Adeyemi?
I've never been asked this question before. Anyway, Sesan Adeyemi is a carpenter and a gentleman. I attended Bishop Smith Primary School and C& S college both in Ilorin and Technical College, Ado Ekiti. I am married with children.
I come from a family of carpenters. My late father, C.A. Adeyemi of the reputed Adeyemi Works Construction died while I was still in school in 1982.My late brother, Segun Adeyemi, a lawyer and reverend gentleman took over the leadership of the company.
Fulfilling my father's desire that I go into furniture making business, I later joined my brother in the company in 1986 after finishing my furniture technology course as technical manager.
You are known to be a furniture maker, how come the transition to the casket and undertaking business?
My late father took a loan to establish a modern workshop with many machines and a 50KVA generator installed, but on hearing of his death, the bank wanted to sell both the factory and all the equipment to recoup the loan. My brother and I then decided that in order to keep the building and the business, it was better to sell the equipment and offset the loan.
With no more machines we had no choice than to begin thinking of diversification. I got fascinated in casket making when the casket for burying my father was made by our factory manager, me and my uncle. I remember the first casket I made commercially was for the Akanmode family.
I also wondered why people who are bereaved would leave Ilorin, Oyo and Ibadan to go to Lagos to purchase caskets. I therefore decided to concentrate on making them here to reduce the stress involved in travelling far to buy the caskets. That was how Last Home Casket was established.
I enjoy casket making. I am not in the business as a money making venture. If I were wealthy, I would make them for free. Why make money from another person's grief?
I make caskets that are sold in Lagos for between N250,000 and N300,000 here for between N120,000 and N150,000. I am an embodiment of that saying “I love my job, it is the work I hate”.
I have also loved meeting people and visiting new places. I am very adventurous. I always do the unusual things as a young boy.
This job has given me the opportunity to go to places I never would have gone.
How large or how many staff do you have at Last Home Casket?
I work alone. I do everything from designing the caskets, buying the materials, preparing the wood, priming, painting, sewing the fittings. Basically from start to finish and also go to the morgue to collect the body and then drive the hearse conveying the body and pall bearers.
Casket making is an exciting business. The funny part of this job is that even the bereaved family becomes scared of touching or riding in the same vehicle conveying the corpse of their loved ones. But with prayers, the job gets done satisfactorily.
We also undertake funeral decorations, grave and tombstone
Why work alone, are you protecting some trade secrets?
I had some staff but I had to lay them off. They were usually contacted by some clients to undertake the making of caskets that should have been done by the company individually. When the people now have complaints, they direct them to the company.
There were even cases where jobs referred to the company by satisfied clients were cornered. I therefore decided to preserve my integrity by sending them all away. I am glad to do all the work alone. If God gives me the strength to be able to make 2 or 3 in a month, I am contented.
What is unique about Last Home Casket?
We pride ourselves in being the only professionally trained undertaking and casket makers around. Many of those in the business now were former staff who later setup on their own.
We also have direct control over our production process and quality assurance as every stage is handled by me.
I am also happy with the response of clients to our service. we get a lot of referrals form satisfied clients and also receive calls and messages of appreciation from them
How has the business prospects been so far?
The business is good. I derive a lot of satisfaction from it and have never been disappointed by God. I will not give up this job for any other business.
At a time, I opened a relaxation joint but had to close it down when it was affecting Last Home Caskets. Even some clients were told that I had given up the business for selling beer and pepper soup.
What are the challenges you have faced in the business?
There have been quite a few challenges and stigma attached to the business. You know in this part of the world, people believe in a lot of superstition and we experience situations which almost confirm the belief.
There are instances when bees will engulf the workshop in the course of making a casket of when travelling with a corpse, a functional vehicle just refuses to work. In this business one has to be very prayerful.
People also call me derogatory names like “Gb'oku gb'oku” or “Oko Oku” because we carry corpses. Even some people refuse to shake my hand because of the kind of business I do.
I usually make a light joke of it and tell them that we have a “Buy one, get one free” promotion going on.
How has business been in Kwara State?
Kwara State has been good to me and I am blessed. Remember, I grew up in Ilorin and when you network and keep moving, you will have a fair share of patronage. Business has been very good.
With the near monopoly has Last home reached the celebrity undertaker status?
I pray we get to the status of MIC in Lagos, then I will be satisfied. We have worked for some high networth individuals and wonderful clients.
Would your children want to continue this business when you are no longer able to do it alone?
I am glad my children even though are young, they are getting used to it and offer a helping hand. I teach them tool handling and believe they can cope.
What should we be looking forward to from Last Home Caskets in the near future?
Very soon we will have our showroom ready because right now we only do commissioned caskets whereby the clients request for what they want or seek our advice on what should be designed for them.
I look forward to building Last Home Casket to an international company with branches all over the world, but headquartered in Ilorin, Kwara State. We currently have a branch at Iyamoye. Having a jet to do international undertaking is part of the dream. Then we will be Last Home International .
What recreational activities do you engage in?
My work is enough exercise for me, so I do my sit up and press ups in my room. To relax after a hard day's work, I usually have a drink or two with friends. On days when I am very happy and satisfied with myself for a great job done, I might decide to celebrate.
Keep on keeping on! »
Jackie Appiah »