In this episode, I chat with Audrey Forson. Audrey is a furniture designer, and the managing director of Tekura, her family’s business in Ghana. Taking over the helm from her mother Josephine who started Tekura with the support of her husband Kweku, Audrey is now taking the business to the next level. In our conversation, we talk about family business, the meaning of legacy and the importance of leaving something for, and nurturing the next generation.
On getting involved with the family business Audrey says that design was something she always wanted to do and how growing up with the family business happening in the back yard drew her attention and she spent time seeing what was happening. While at school she asked her parents to let her become an intern at Tekura and worked her way up from filing, cleaning the gallery, sourcing materials for the artisans and more. This hands-on experience helped her learn all the different aspects of the business and to eventually step into the role of managing director the position she currently holds.
Tekura started as a purely export business and after taking over she decided to focus more on the Ghanaian and wider African market. She has also been able to gradually input her creative skills to help develop the company’s design collections. Self-taught Audrey has had had the opportunity to collaborate with Cheick Diallo, and Hamed Ouattara whose skills and experience have helped her guide her development as a designer.
Audrey is also using her platform with Tekura to help nurture the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs. She actively shares her advice and what she has learned to help those following in her footsteps avoid the errors she made. Tekura does internships with some local universities and polytechnics enabling students to engage with the more practical side of a design business, showing these budding designers how to make a living from their creativity.
By doing this Audrey highlights the importance of doing good with what one has inherited from the ancestral past and the responsibility one has to pass it onto the next generation.
We talk about:
- Stepping in to take over the family business
- How interning at the business while still at school helped her to learn the different aspects of the business
- Leaning on the job as a self-taught creative and designer
- The stories Tekura is telling and how the business has a deep link to her heritage
- The importance of market awareness
- The production cycle and tailoring products for the different audiences
- Nurturing the next generation of designers by giving back and sharing her advice and experiences
- The importance of understanding the business side of design
- Why legacy matters, creating businesses that can be passed onto the next generations to each take forward
“I see African design as the mother of all designs… Design really is who we are, the stories we have to tell.’
– Audrey Forson
Links and resources mentioned in this episode
Where you can go to find out more about Audrey and Tekura:
And before you go I have a favour to ask, if you could take a few minutes to do the three R’s that is: rate it, review it, and recommend it to anyone you feel would benefit. It will really make a difference and I would greatly appreciate it.