Building The Multimillion-Dollar Furniture Business, Taeillo

In recent times, if you have paid attention, you would have seen the state of interior decor in Nigeria has evolved dramatically–Gone are the days of stuffy and bland furniture a lot of us grew up seeing in our homes. Instead, a significant fraction of the world is adapting to minimalism plus the unique Scandinavian style of furniture and interior decor, those Ikea types of furniture and whatnot.

But in Nigeria, no one was doing like Jumoke and Taeillo and her crew. The goal was to create a reflection of her creative prowess in design, the minimalist concept, and African culture. And they delivered every single time. Taeillo has grown into a household name, you can tell a Taeillo furniture apart from other types of furniture. Here is a chat with Jumoke Dada on building a successful global and minimalist brand like Taeillo

Who is Jumoke Dada of Taeillo?

Jumoke Dada is a regular girl from an average Nigerian family who grew up with her parents and siblings in Lagos. I studied architecture at the University of Lagos, and I also have a background in Product Designing. I am a very tenacious and dogged person who typically sees the possibility of success in everything I set my mind on – this is a trait that is quite apparent to those who know me personally. I recall investing my MSC school fees into producing Taeillo's first-ever furniture for an exhibition in 2016. When the idea of Taeillo was born, I got pushbacks; Initially, my parents were not supportive of the vision because they felt it was too much of a risk. My mum wanted me to get a job like every other person, but I saw the bigger picture and stuck to it. Has it been easy? Of course, not, but we have been cutting through the clutter, and we are still here.

Jumoke Dada - The Nigeria Energy Forum

How did the name Taeillo happen?

This is a frequently asked question. Lol. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer so badly that I usually practiced by cutting paper and cardboard pieces into clothing designs. However, since I didn't eventually venture into that, I decided to name the furniture brand after my childhood passion, Taeillo, which literally means tailor.

Taeillo - TheQuickFinder

What inspires your brand's style with furniture?

Three things inspire our designs at Taeillo; A reflection of my creative prowess at the time of design, the minimalist concept, and the African culture. If you are acquainted with our pieces, you will notice creativity and simplicity at its peak. As a brand, we try to make our pieces as modest as possible because we understand our target audience's habits and needs, mostly minimalist and artistic - their artistic nature makes them love the Afro urban fusion.

Taeillo - TheQuickFinder

What does a day in your life look like as a business owner?

I wake up with a mindset of the new day being another opportunity to get Taeillo closer to its vision of becoming a successful global brand out of Africa. Essentially the goal is to become the IKEA of Africa; I know nothing good comes easy, so I endeavour to work with the team to ensure this comes to fruition.

Introducing Taeillo, the perfect furniture option for minimalists -  Nairametrics

What goes into creating a Taeillo furniture

For every Taeillo furniture produced, we analyze market demands and ask questions like, what furniture pieces do our customers need at the time?. A perfect example is the Amakisi Table; It was designed during the COVID 19 pandemic. We understood that there was a lockdown and many people had to work from home hence the product launch. After analyzing market demands, we steep the demands into our Afrocentric design approach and transform them into outstanding furniture pieces.

Tǽillὸ Is The Furniture Brand Every Cool Girl Will Own in 2020 | BN Style

What inspires Taeillo's unique furniture style, the Ankara prints it is adorned in, and whatnot?

Our inspiration ties back to our brand essence; the plan is to project Africa to the world, so we have adopted a strategy that makes people effortlessly resonate with the brand. A typical Taeillo piece gives an Afrocentric vibe that portrays its origin at first glance when spotted anywhere across the world. Hence, the indigeneity embedded in its upholstery (Ankara, Adire, Kente, Zuri, etc.), its structure, finishing, and even product name – our pieces are named after actual people from across Africa (Femi, Ada, Mensah Wanjiru etc.)

Do you consider yourself and brand trendsetters in the Nigerian interior decoration scene? If yes, in what ways?

Yes, I will say we are trendsetters because our brand is unique in a few ways. First, with 0 capital at inception, we built a multimillion-dollar company manufacturing and delivering furniture pieces to people across Africa. Secondly, we have impacted the economy by creating jobs for over 90 people across the continent. We have also broken the gender stereotype that some professions are inappropriate for women. This bias is inherent in Africa and across the globe.

What was the first ever kind of furniture Taeillo made and sold?

The first furniture I ever produced was a sofa that converts into a bunk bed, and the first I ever sold was an occasional chair made from Dutch wax; this piece was funded by the customer. The customer made a deposit, we produced the furniture, and once the balance payment was made, I reinvested the profit into making other pieces.

How do you manage your finances as a business owner?

As a business owner, I ensure to pay myself, invest in business growth – "people and product," keep good business credit, design good billing strategy, spread out tax payments and monitor the books. Also, the adoption of financial forecasting has helped plan our overall finances over time.

How do you determine your product prices?

At Taeillo, we use an absorption costing method. This is an integration of all cost elements involved in producing a piece. This involves running a market survey on availability and cost of materials, building a prototype to ascertain the exact cost of items, Manpower, Rent etc.

Taeillo – VC4A

What aspects of business do you wish you knew before getting started with yours?

Sales and Marketing. And this is because I like to get involved in every aspect of the business. When I say getting involved, I mean being able to share informed ideas and strategies. Don't get me wrong; I do not mean micromanaging. But, what I am saying, in essence, is that having ample knowledge and background in technical know-how would have had a better impact.

Tǽillὸ Is The Furniture Brand Every Cool Girl Will Own in 2020 | BN Style

How do you measure your success as a business owner?

My success will be measured by impact and growth. This will be the number of homes and offices with a Taeillo piece and the number of people Taeillo has gainfully employed.

What are some lessons you have learned from running your own business?

I have learnt that it is quite challenging to find diligent employees to see the business as their own. Therefore, as a business owner, when you find an employee or a team that is dependable and passionate about the business, you have to cherish and appreciate them. I also learnt that having a business idea is peripheral; starting the business is a step ahead but sustaining the business is the bulls' eye that requires a high degree of tenacity to hit. Lastly, self-motivation is key to business success because there would be days when the odds would not be in your favour; manpower issues, infrastructural deficit, unprecedented waste of raw materials etc. On days like this, you may want to give up; however, your eventual decision will depend on your vision's magnitude.

taeillo Makes Furniture Shopping Worthwhile Through Mixed Reality

Finally, where do you see Taeillo a few years from now?

I see Taeillo becoming a household name and a successful global brand out of Africa. Like I said earlier, I envision Taeillo becoming the IKEA of Africa, producing furniture pieces that change the narrative that Africans are not innovative.

Check out their official website

Taeillo is a Furniture and Lifestyle Brand. We design and manufacture Furniture using local resources available with both local and modern technology to create premium furniture pieces with 99% Local content.

Scale With Kippa is a weekly series where we discuss the peculiarities of running and scaling businesses in Nigeria. This month’s episodes focus on the lives of small scale roadside in different industries who are growing year on year using all available resources.

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Hafeedoh Balogun

Hafeedoh Balogun