We had the good fortune of connecting with MICHAEL YAO KWAKUMEY and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi MICHAEL YAO, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
CuspinYao Designs was born from necessity coupled with desire. It was necessary to have a dining room table, and my wife desired a nice one! Moving in with one another for the first time; our plan was to purchase entirely everything for our new home, together. When it came time to purchase a dining room table we visited multiple furniture stores but could not find one that spoke to us, or one that could not be found in our friend’s homes. We became discouraged, when my cousin asked me, “why don’t you just build a table”? I replied to him that it was not something I had done before and would not even know how to begin. My cousin, Albert Cuspin, having a background in art & design as a former graduate of SCAD University, proceeded to teach me how to build my 9 foot dining room table. I thoroughly fell in love with the process and the end result, so much so, that I wanted the opportunity to bring that same joy to others. The desire to bring the same sense of happiness I feel every time I walk past my dining room table to others is what drove me to create this business.
What should our readers know about your business?
CuspinYao Designs allows individuals the opportunity to design tables that are created specific to fit their space. A client has the opportunity to approach us with the dimensions for their piece. They also have the opportunity to select the type of wood or marble their table will be made from as well as the type of legs that would set their table, and therefore space, apart from any other individual’s. CuspinYao is for the individual that does not want a cookie cutter table. They want a one-of-one piece to make their home or space complete. While other table making companies produce the same items and sell to several stores, we are made to order, ensuring that no two tables are the same even if made from the same tree or marble slab.
I got where I am today by being open to learn, building relationships and being intentional with my time. Being open to learn and building relationships somewhat come easy to me, unlike being intentional with my time. Being intentional with my time proves to be a challenge because it is not a one time thing. It is a choice that you make daily and that consistency, I believe, is what will allow my business to continue to grow.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spots in the city unfortunately, are mostly based on food. Ponce City Marketplace is probably the first place just because of the sheer amount of options, possibility to go on the rooftop and enjoy the views of the city or walk the beltline and frequent many spots along the way. Restaurants such as Little Trouble. Two Urban Licks, 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar, and Breakfast at Barney’s would certainly be on the list of eateries to visit. And for activities Top Golf and Pin & Proper are probably my top to go-to places to take an out of towner. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, I have such a wonderful supporting cast around me. I have great family, friends and mentors who have supported my idea for this business. The greatest credit, however, goes to my business partner Albert Cuspin because without him I would not have known I had the ability or skill to make tables. Albert took the time to bestow me with a lot of knowledge and perspective as it pertains to table design.
Other: Etsy: https://etsy.me/3dMEnOg