……………….by Kovie Adu
Senanu Arkutu has found what some may call her sweet spot. A place where she can promote her love for beautiful African arts and crafts. The colourful and skillfully crafted interior pieces also reflect her fine education and cosmopolitan background.
Africa has so much that the world is yet to discover with reference to her places, events, style, cuisine, culture and even people. One of such outstanding persons adding value to our continent is the beautiful Senanu Arkutu. Her poise, great personality and dazzling smile can best be described as enchanting and elegant.
Arkutu is a Ghanaian who was born in Tanzania. She is also a mother who left a twelve-year career in Reproductive Health and International Development, after a coveted Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, to pursue her passion for indigenous arts, crafts, and home décor. Her passion and experience has grown into a skill, based on her belief that one’s space should be their haven.
She is the founder and CEO of DAAR Living: an interior styling firm that is truly African, antique and contemporary, but mixed with European and Arab influences.
Her unique selling point for DAAR Living is her ability to listen to clients, and offer products that cater to a blend of both feelings and individual taste. Arkutu has often stated that she draws inspiration from people around her, such as close family and friends, and her many travels. Thus, she says representing Africa at all times is one of her goals.
Arkutu believes that there are high quality products and services in Africa, however, entrepreneurs have to do quality control to ensure they manufacture high quality items and that the clients get their products on time.
A true African indeed; Senanu says she would love to see more of quality African art and crafts being showcased in all their glory in a contemporary gallery-like space, and not in a busy market where the skill and beauty of the pieces would not be easily appreciated.
We managed to get Arkutu to take a few minutes off her extremely tight schedule to answer a few questions on doing business with DAAR Living:
What do you love about being an entrepreneur and about your business, DAAR Living?
The sense of freedom and purpose working on what I love. I love the arts and I love the true essence of African culture when it is portrayed in the form of art works and various crafts.
What is the best business decision you have ever made?
Joining Instagram. Instagram has given me the opportunity to showcase the beautiful items we create at DAAR Living, to a world-wide audience, get clients and make sales. Also gives me full control of the way I portray my brand.
What is the worst business decision you have ever made?
Every decision has been a lesson learned and a step towards success. I believe that making mistakes is an important part of learning and that we need to embrace failures as part of the growth process.
When did you consider yourself a success?
Success is on-going, it is not attained once then done. I am successful and I feel successful every time I attain a mission-driven goal.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge that African professionals face when it comes to global competitiveness?
High production costs. The supply chains, human resource and essential automations are not really there for you to work with. You need to develop them as you go along so this makes the production costs rather high.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self about their future?
Focus less on the planned path and more on the purpose or mission-driven idea. The way there,
will adapt and evolve – be flexible on the way there.
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as
food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
My phone and an internet connection (for information, music, WhatsApp to contact friends and family). Being able to stay in touch with others is very important to me.
If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose?
I would pick flying. Flying would give me a sense of freedom and empower me to see things from a different perspective.
Do you see any advantages or disadvantages in being a woman entrepreneur? And how has this impacted your business?
There are always disadvantages but you have to focus on the advantages and leverage them.
What do you see as the biggest business opportunities in Africa right now?
Production – adding value to raw materials making them ready for local use or export. We need to focus more on producing things rather than importing so many things.
In which sector of the economy do you think Africans are leaving a lot of money on the table?
The arts and craft sector. Africa has so much culture that could be packaged for the international market and I believe we are yet to make the most of this.