Stephen Teru: A NYSC Graduate Making a Positive Impact Through Furniture
In 2019, Stephen Teru made a difference in the Old Netim community in Cross Rivers state, Nigeria, by volunteering his carpentry skills to furnish a health center and two schools in the area. Despite studying animal biology at the University of Jos, Teru had developed a passion for carpentry and leveraged the local community’s abundant supply of Malaina trees to produce desks, tables, benches, and shelves for the schools.
The project generated widespread attention and led to the creation of Terucraft Furniture, Stephen’s own furniture business. Speaking with Ediale Kingsley in an interview, Stephen shared the impact of his 2019 NYSC goodwill on his life and the journey of starting and growing his furniture company.
According to Stephen, popularity is good for business, and the attention he received led to new friends and even an express appointment with the Ministry of Agriculture. The inspiration to venture into the furniture business came from interactions with top businessmen and women across the country who shared their stories and inspired him to start his own business.
When asked about design and innovation in his products, Stephen said that he mostly modifies existing designs and loves interacting and sharing ideas with his clients to build a strong business relationships. The challenges he faced in running the company included mobility, logistics, working space, power, and capital, but he is determined to overcome them and move the business to the next level.
Stephen’s recent wedding has also impacted his life and business positively as his wife is also an entrepreneur and they have been learning a lot from each other. To balance his personal and professional life, Stephen emphasized the importance of separating business finances from personal finances.
For the future, Stephen hopes to move from building-ordered furniture to having showrooms, an ultramodern production factory, and a functional logistics department. He believes the furniture industry is constantly evolving and is moving towards automation, digitalization, and beyond just wood materials.
Stephen has worked on several successful projects, including furnishing houses and offices and producing chairs and sofas. His advice for someone who wants to start a business in the furniture industry is to first learn the skill and start small, focusing on customer satisfaction. He emphasized the importance of being consistent and said that learning is a process, not just about the gain.