My name is Jumoke Dada, an Architect-turned-furniture maker. The Founder and Creative Director of Tǽillo Furniture and Lifestyle Company. I’m a graduate with a first class in Architecture from the prestigious University of Lagos, (Unilag) Nigeria. I hold a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design. Crafts has always been a part of me. My dad once told me that when I was a kid I would tear every book in the house and use the paper to make different kinds of sturdy crafts. He observed this passion of mine and encouraged me to study Architecture. However, I’ll say furniture making is better choice for me, perhaps simply because my very first attempt at complex craft design is in furniture making. I’d designed a sofa that transforms into a bed and vice versa and this is so memorable for me because it gave me the confidence to birth Tǽillo.
Nigeria is the only country with over 480 ethnic groups and the richness in this diversity fuels inspirations for Taeillo. The central theme of my ideas is based on culture, identity, morals in the society, issues relating to feminism, the society as a reflection of the home and how the home influences the society. I enjoy travelling especially within the Nigeria/Africa to view culture, values and identity from different perspectives so as to uncover new ways through which the younger generation of the continent can appreciate what had been and still in existence. Owning and applying them to harness creativity in new modern African living. Tǽillo is my own expression of all these and more.
While in school, I’d always wanted to incorporate a touch of Africaness into my own style of Architecture and this continued to grow in me till the Tǽillo idea started. I realised that many of our traditional arts and crafts evolved overtime to include practical and decorative items and that human expressions find their way through various forms of art. In the light of all these I had long resolved in my heart to rebrand our culture and identity and make it appealing to modern Nigerians through design. Deep in this resolve, my inspirations flow and are widely drawn. I believe there is a need to improve on traditional forms and materials and apply them in the modern day context creating a new cultural concept termed Modern Africa. In this as Africans, we can still maintain our identity living in the modern era despite the conflict in identity and culture and never lose being proud of who we are.
I started Taeillo with zero capital, a computer and the idea. The payment from my first contract was used for the purchase of materials needed for the first furniture piece I made. Subsequently, I sold the furniture for N52,000 and made a profit of N12,000 then.
After that, referrals from this first client, family and friends, have helped greatly to generate revenue which I keep reinvesting into the business.
Nonetheless, over the years, I’ve raised some money through grants from local and international organisations to further increase production capacities.
Since the official commencement of the business in 2016, it has grown tremendously despite the market being saturated. However, Taeillo has continued to grow owing to its leverage on technology and consistent investments into research, self- and product development. All raw materials used in production at Taeillo are sourced locally.
The industry lacks the required skilled professionals that are detailed in craft and designs. This remains the major challenge confronting the furniture making business.
In September 2015, I exhibited as a finalist at an innovation award event.
I have worked in top Architectural and interior design and Furniture-manufacturing companies in Nigeria.
I have also participated in design competitions and design workshop
I have also attended design workshop organised by the African Contemporary institute of Design.
I am a member of Young African leadership institute (YALI), and I have a YALI Certificate on Entrepreneurship skills.
I like to pass down my ideas through stories, proverbs, etc. as a medium of communication. These I have showcased in my works.