At 24yrs old, Yinka Ilori is a North London based Recycled Furniture designer. He holds a BA (hons) degree in furniture and product design from London Metropolitan University and has since specialized in re-designing discarded furniture.
Yinka’s design approach starts with undoing original components, which he then puts back together into a new piece ready for use again. Deeply aware and passionately against the unnecessary waste of modern consumer societies in the western world. Yinka happily accepts unwanted or damaged furniture from private individuals, so that he can save, rehabilitate and redecorate them for future use.
What inspired him to get into recycled furniture design was the cultural waste of today’s modern society in the western world. He was just fed up of seeing good furniture being thrown away for no apparent reason when in Yinka’s eyes they were in good form, but just needed a little clean.
It came to a point where he would just be sitting in the bus, in a cab, or even walking and see discarded furniture near bins, local estates and near road sides. Seeing all these things really frustrated him and he use to say to himself ‘what’s wrong with our consumer society today’, as we no longer appreciate and valued what we had, when there are so many people who would value the things that we throw away. This inspired Yinka to set up his own design consultancy ‘yinksdesigns’ supported by the Princes Trust. He started collecting unwanted furniture and re-designing them into something new, quirky, funky and innovative, giving every old piece of furniture a second life and new beginning.
Yinka’s biggest obstacle strangely enough has to be the negative comments, from the people who never really believed in his dreams and never thought that he was serious about designing recycled furniture or starting his own business. At times peoples negative comments would bring him down, but it was ‘either you sit down and let the comments affect you or get up and make your dreams become a reality.’ yinka says.
Yinka overcame the negativity by working like a maniac everyday for 6months perfecting his business plan in conjunction with the Princes Trust who provided him with the funds to support his business proposal. He also had a great mentor who helped him with his plan before being given the funding’s. He remembers being so nervous when applying for the funding’s, as it felt like Dragons Den but the panels being a lot nicer obviously. Taking the step to join the Princes Trust and starting his own business has really changed Yinka’s life and is happy that his business is gradually growing.
‘I mean people have been tweeting, and featuring my work in their blogs from London to New York! It’s nice to see people are finally recognising me for my recycled furniture designs and that’s what makes me smile. Its funny because those people who didn’t believe in me are now seeing the quality of my work, and the publicity it has been receiving, now they want to do collaborations.’, says Yinka.
Yinka, who is very grateful in his achievements so far, gives thanks to God, his family, friends, The Princes Trust and the AACDD (Afro- Caribbean Design Diaspora) for believing in him.
Although the industry is very much competitive, Yinka says having his own design consultancy was definitely one of his visions, since that was his major focus. Though he has come really far and sometimes has to slap himself to make sure that its all real, he also says that running your own business is very hard, but at least he’s doing something that makes him happy and is passionate about.
In 10yrs time Yinka plans to open his own retail shop somewhere in West London, North London or Shoreditch, where his designs will be accessible to a wide range of people. He would also like to open up a branch in Nigeria, as the demand for my work is gradually increasing day by day.
Wish him all the best!
Yinka’s contact details
Checkout some of Yinka’s fantastic designs below!