A push to success – From a tough upbringing to running a business

Aisea Tamanikaiwaimaro is the proud pioneer of Flourishing Design Studio with his family. Picture: SUPPLIED

If there were ways to describe Aisea Tamanikaiwaimaro, the words persistent and resilient would be apt.

The 32-year-old is a proud pioneer of Flourishing Design Studio today, however, the road to achieving this was not always a bed of roses but a path filled with a lot of struggles as well.

Originally from Tailevu, Aisea moved to Suva after living in Labasa for 16 years.

“In those years in Suva, my parents decided to part ways and with that came hardships and struggles financially and physically emotions,” he said.

“My twin sister and I decided to stay with our dad because both his legs were amputated during our stay in Suva, yet he still worked at the Forestry Department in Colo-i-Suva to help keep our education afloat, but he could only do so much for us.”

From struggling to put food on their table, Aisea now designs houses for people to live in safe and a secure.

“There was hardly any food in the cabinets so my sister and I would go fishing in the nearby creeks or I would join some construction works to keep food on the table too. There were a lot of days when my sister and I would walk from Colo-i-Suva to FNU Samabula and back when we didn’t have money or if my dad couldn’t support us in those areas, but still we persevered in education.”

The struggles and hardships faced by his family made him run away to Lautoka with an aim of starting a new life, however, it was no easier as the road he chose also had its challenges.

“I stayed on the streets for a while as a shoeshine boy then moved from house to house to stay with relatives until my cousins encouraged me to stay at the SPEF church near Jasper high school and this is where I met my guardians Mr.Salen Sagar and Mrs.Sylvia Sagar.

“They helped me pick up the broken pieces. They were supportive of my dream in further education hence they paid university costs and also my boarding because they believed in me. Fast forward three years later, I graduated from Fiji National University in the architecture program, started working in an architecture company in Suva until I decided to become an entrepreneur as it has always been my dream.”

He said the transfer of his guardians to Dubai didn’t stop him from striving to create his own identity.

“While studying in FNU, I was told that uncle Salen secured a contract to work in Dubai as an aircraft engineer hence he and his family had to leave, but it did not stop them from supporting me from Dubai.

“I kept pushing through university until I finally graduated and that’s where I also met my wife Carolynn. Where I am today is not through a silver spoon being. I had to work so hard for it.

“Looking back at my life, I know I have come a long way. I know a lot of people see the silver lines in my life, but not the sleepless nights and the tears I shed when I failed, the long travels for meetings or having to sacrifice my family time for work.

“I don’t want my children to go through what I went through in my past as I started my business for my children. I want to leave a legacy for them.”

Now a registered building designer consultant in Fiji, he has designed houses, villas, commercial complex and retail shopping centres all around Fiji.

“I have also assisted some architect companies in Fiji with presentations and 3D models of their projects and renders as it gives me the opportunity to help out people.”

He said in 2015 he went to look after his father at their village house for six months.

“Travelling to work was always at 4.30am every day and the continued encouragement he shared every day is what I’ll take to heart. Even with no legs he would wake me up at 4 am, prepared breakfast and waved me goodbye every day. Practically he was the first and last person I saw while leaving home for Suva.

“I saw a father’s love so strong that I will always cherish in a life time as we shared a lot of good memories before he left us in late 2015.”

The father of three has sponsored various organisations and events such as Tailevu Under 19 in 2020, FDS Barbarian brothers in 2020, FDS Barbarian sisters netball, the FDS Delainavesi Volleyball Association through his company.

“I am a big believer in giving back to the community, helping less fortunate students and children through education or sports.

“My quote – Be the good in someone else’s life, anything is possible if you work hard in life and that motivated me a lot.”

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