JUMOKE DADA, H’20
Premium African furniture for Africans, made in Africa
Design runs deep in the veins of Jumoke Dada H’20, a Masters graduate in Architecture from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Buying modern furniture in Nigeria is not as simple as it is in many other countries where there is easy access to furniture chains, such as IKEA, at the click of a button. When importing furniture to Africa, goods are expensive to start with, there are high shipping costs and potentially months of delay before the goods arrive. Local shops that do stock contemporary furniture are very expensive. After several years of working for architectural companies as an architectural and interior design intern, she decided to re-focus her skills and passion for design to build an online platform where Nigerians could shop for their furniture and lifestyle needs. Dada saw an opportunity to meet the affordable, contemporary furniture needs of urban city dwellers in Nigeria with a locally produced range.
“Africa must increasingly rely on its own resources and people to satisfy her needs without seeking the outside world for validation.”
Making furniture that is as rugged as Africans
THE CHALLENGE: Nigeria is a West African country with a population of 170 million and a huge market consumption capacity. Although it is a developing country without high per capita output value, the large population and the huge gap between the rich and the poor still ensure a strong high-end consumption capacity. The development of oil exploration has resulted in a huge market for luxury consumer goods. As a luxury product, the high-end furniture market is significant in Nigeria. According to CNN Market Insight 2015, the African furniture market is worth $9.6 billion, making it one of the fastest growing furniture markets in the world. This industry continues to boom as the demand for home and office accommodation grows across Africa, largely due to Africa’s growing economy and its large and rapidly growing urban population. Dada wanted to create a ‘Made in Africa’ furniture brand using only local materials and African designers to take advantage of the burgeoning African furniture market.
THE PROCESS: Dada capitalised on her design skills and experience to start Taeillo, an e-commerce furniture start-up based in Lagos, making it easy for Nigerians to shop for well-designed, premium home and office furniture online. The site uses immersive and exponential technologies like augmented and virtual reality to further enhance the shopping experience and to scale the business. Taeillo uses an on-demand production model in making Afro urban, ready-made pieces and manages to reduce waste to nearly zero. Taeillo has also leveraged e-commerce and social commerce to bring furniture shopping to mobile phones.
THE RESULTS: The online shopping site was launched in 2018. The company has experienced 25% month-on-month growth in revenue in the last four months and currently has almost 50 employees. The COVID pandemic has been both a blessing and curse. While it resulted in good growth by driving out external international competition, cross border logistics were impacted. Demand has continued to grow as has their staff complement and additional partnerships with logistics companies. By offering only an online presence, the start-up has avoided the overheads associated with shop space keeping it asset light. They receive between 50 and 60 orders per week. Dada hopes to reach 200 orders per week by June 2021. Taeillo has three production partners that can produce as many as 1 500 pieces per month. Since launching the company, it has sold more than 2 500 pieces of furniture.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TAEILLO
Taeillo is an online platform offering Afro-modern home and office furniture to consumers in Africa – the IKEA for Africa.
Creating furniture for Africans wherever they are in the world
ABOUT JUMOKE DADA
Jumoke Dada hails from Lagos in Nigeria. She received first class honours for her BSc Architecture degree, which she followed with an M.Ed in Architecture, both from the University of Lagos. She also has a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. She spent time as an architectural and interior design intern before founding Taeillo in 2018 which she started as a tech-enabled furniture brand with $0. In 2017, she was named as one of 1 000 entrepreneurs that will shape the future of Africa by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and received the Diamond Bank Building Entrepreneur Award in 2018. She leads the Africa Accelerator Award for young female-led businesses that are leveraging technology to create better African communities and has been featured on Elle Decoration South Africa as one of Africa’s creatives doing something interesting on the continent at the moment. She featured in TechCabals Women in Tech 2020. Taeillo was selected as one of the start-ups to represent Africa at the Google Pitch-Drive Asia event where they toured five Asian cities pitching to investors and sharing the work being done by young entrepreneurs in Africa with the Asian Community. Dada was also featured on the Nasdaq Tower at the New York Times Square as a Milestone Maker of the Fall 2020 cohort of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.
By using furniture as a medium of expression and with her love for Africa, she has built a platform where all Africans can shop for their furniture and lifestyle needs. Dada looks forward to a future where Africa can rely on its own resources and people to satisfy her needs and does not need to seek the outside world for validation. Taeillo is building an IKEA for Africa where they can make Africans happy.
Dada was selected as one of five Pritzker Fellows in 2020.
I AM A HARAMBEAN
Jumoke Dada sees Harambe as an opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs.
“I think it’s important to be part of a community who I will see as accountability partners to develop and help make the African continent a better place.”