Mrs Esther Akinduro is from Kaduna State. She is married to a man she so much adores and blessed with three children. She is an alumna of Lagos Business School, and Ahmadu Bello University. From a very humble beginning, she now has a strong-footed and profitable interior designing and decoration company-Taes International Concept Limited, based in Abuja.
By Chinenye Anaemena
My name is Esther Akinduro, from Kaduna State. Born on the 20thof March, married to Mr Tolulope Akinduro and blessed with three children. I am a serial entrepreneur, and an interior decorator by profession. I attended Kaduna State Polytechnics, where I obtained certificate in catering and hotel management. I further enrolled to study business administration in University of Abuja. I travelled to Dubai to study interior design, which I got a certificate in it as well. I also did an executive programme in Lagos Business School, in addition other e-learning courses I partook.
HOW DID IT ALL START?
I did not just begin my entrepreneurial journey as an interior decorator. I have always had it in me from birth. It started way back with my mom when we were selling a whole lot of things, ranging from selling tomatoes, akara, roasting maize, making moi moi and food to sell to labourers on sites. I have always been doing one thing or the other and my excitement were the fact that my investments grow from smaller amount to higher amount and the other aspect is when people have to depend on me to meet their need. Gradually I began to find myself drawn into what I was doing and was very passionate about decoration, be it interior décor, surprise parties and in fact, in every event, aesthetics come to play, and this gave birth to Taes International Concept Limited. Just like every other thing in life, it started like a joke, until it evolved into what it is now. At first, it wasn’t a structured business. I was just doing it for the love of what I was doing, and eventually I registered the company and started building my business on the structure of the business name and finally I am now consolidated on that.
I believe that I do not have a competitor, because I am competing against myself. My competition is always to raise the bar from what it is. The leverage we have enjoyed is our quality service, added to our premium product. We take time to understand the product we sell, so that when we recommend them to our clients, we offer superior solution. We make out time to go the factories and most times meet with owners of these factories. We do not source for product from just any company but companies that are big on legacy and have kept their standard over the years from generation to generation, because giving our customers the best is the standard we cannot compromise. We are big believers in the uniqueness of a product, that feeling of satisfaction our customers get from patronising us. We give them that sense of exclusivity and something tailored for them.
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO BALANCE YOUR FAMILY AND BUSINESS LIFE?
I don’t want it to sound like a cliché but I tell you without mincing words that a very strong supportive family is critical in running a business, especially one like mine because it is very demanding, even when you are not in the field doing the physical work, you are here doing the mental work and you need to be in a creative space to be able to take hold of all the inspiration that will translate into services and I am blessed to have such strong supportive home. My husband has been a partner and bedrock to everything I have achieved.
YOUR FUTURE PROSPECTS?
For my company to be a major solution hub in the country when it comes to service delivery in interior design and decoration.
On a lighter note, my hobby is work. I love to travel, I am very adventurous, I love to laugh, I love to read, I love to cook and relax with my family.
My mentor is Jesus Christ, having come as a man, his life was brief, yet his great legacies are spoken of till date. But then, I have people who I really look up to: my pastor, Gudat Ekwueme, my husband who is my morale conscience.
YOUR EMBARASSING MOMENTS?
My most embarrassing moments are when clients call me to applaud our services, rate us so high and refer others to us, I feel so humbled and embarrassed
My challenges are enormous but not insurmountable. Let me start with the first which is the business environment, our society is not so encouraging to small businesses, despite fantastic speeches on radio, television, seminars and everywhere on how to encourage small businesses. In fact they have mastered the art so well that one would wish America could learn from Nigeria, but making it work is a totally different story. Personally, I think there are factors or challenges that can be controlled in business such as product quality, price, etc, but there are certain factors you can’t control such as how enabling the environment is in terms of infrastructure, funding SMEs, capacity building and encouraging great ideas because there are so many fantastic ideas that are Nigerian, that are thrown away, because ours is a very peculiar terrain where we have more emphasises on qualifications than capacity. You can successfully do business in America, Canada and other countries but when you want to do business in Nigeria, you have to start schooling yourself all over again because ours is a unique story. We have a system where we glorify quick ascension from nothing to something without following due process.
I detest laziness, stagnation and average mentality.
I have so many happy moments- the day I married my friend and partner; the day I gave birth to my kids, each one of them with their peculiar experiences. Also the personal growth of my employees.
A lot of people have fantastic ideas but have fears on how to execute them, but it’s okay to have fears. The last thing you should think of in executing your project is money, all you need is the will. You are the only voice that can either encourage or stop yourself. When you decide to do something, every other voice contrary will become a noise, be courageous, don’t lose hope; don’t look at what you don’t have but what you have, because you have the capacity to make nonsense of what you don’t have.