Josephine Forson founded Tekura, an interior decor enterprise, in 2000 with only two local artisans, crafting baskets under a mango tree. By 2009, she was exploring other art forms made from locally sourced materials developed by artisans within the community.
In partnership with Ghana’s Forest Research Institute and the Forestry Commission, Tekura sources reclaimed wood (off-cuts and dead wood) from forest plantations in Ghana for their furniture pieces.
Tekura designs have been exhibited in USA and Europe, and have won the Africa Growth Institute of South Africa’s Trade Sector Award in 2008. Behind the scenes, Tekura is run by a mother, father and daughter team, and is inspired by the rich, diverse cultures of Ghana.
Tekura is a family business run by a mother, father and daughter team. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of working closely with family?
And when it comes to decision-making, whose call is it?
Working closely together as a family has and continues to propel our loyalty and commitment to our brand and business. This makes pooling of resources much easier and everyone is empowered to bring along their own skills to grow the business.
Like any family business that cherishes unity, we were concerned external investments would trigger a takeover. But with our well-structured succession plan, we will soon be on our way to going public.
We’re grateful to God for Tekura’s success but what’s great is the opportunities and potentials for higher achievements. Our success mix is hard work, perseverance and love.
The direction of policy is led by the board of Tekura. The Managing Director leads the daily consultative decision-making process.
Your daughter, Audrey, is the manager of Tekura, what’s the biggest business disagreement you’ve had with her? And how are business skirmishes handled?
Disagreements are essential for growth. It can be hard for us to agree on the definition of the various markets for our product lines.Josephine Forson: At Tekura, quality means everything! Click To Tweet
Something like this could be a major issue if you don’t make room for frequent team discussions and consulting with industry experts for fresher views and advice.
Aside from Ashanti and Fanti cultural artistry, where else do you find inspiration for your unique pieces?
Our inspiration goes beyond the cultures of Ghana. We pride ourselves in the rich cultures and heritage of Africa like the Fulani, Fang and Guoro.
And since we’re in a land of beauty and natural wealth, we express all of these —who we are as African people through our furniture, handicrafts and other pieces.
You mentioned in an interview how difficult it is for artists in Ghana to protect their furniture designs from forgery or reproduction, what’s your advice to aspiring furniture makers?
Nobody likes copycats but we all in one way or the other have to deal with them.
For us at Tekura that means staying ahead of others, focusing on innovative design and not compromising on quality.Nobody likes copycats but we all in one way or the other have to deal with them Click To Tweet
Climate change is an issue on everyone’s lips. As a furniture company reliant on wood from reforested woodland, what role does Tekura play in sustaining the forests and in turn its business?
Tekura is committed to keeping its environment safe and so we have a strict policy not to cut down trees in order to do our work. Our work involves recycling wood, and working with the Forestry Commission to collect and transform waste wood.
A lot of African business struggle with quality control and consistency. How does Tekura ensure standard procedures are being followed at every stage of the design process and that every piece reaches customers in perfect condition?
At Tekura, quality means everything!
It’s not been easy but over the years we have engrained a kind of obligation in everyone to ensure the highest level of excellence and quality. This has been through supervision and other forms of checks and balances right from pre-production stage until the final product.
What does the future hold for Tekura?
The prospects for Tekura are great. Our partnerships with World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) from developing countries has been successful as Tekura has penetrated global markets, particularly in the US and Europe.
Also, Tekura’s space in the local market has grown and achieved great strides. There are so many opportunities out there with changing trends, markets and even competition, and that excites us.
Tekura’s vision is to be the world’s go-to brand for hand-crafted furniture and décor.
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