For Taiye Doughty, the spirit of entrepreneurship in his family began back in 1875 when his great-grandfather Hector Walker was born. He was the first entrepreneur from their family in America. He started as a sharecropper and grew to become a modest farmer which ignited a bold spirit of business ownership that he passed down through generations to come. Adopting Walker’s drive, Taiye’s grandparents also became farmers and grew to acquire over 900 acres of farmland in the segregated state of South Carolina. His mother and father also had a spirit for entrepreneurship and moved from South Carolina to New York City where they grew to own two businesses.
Through the generations, ambitiousness and perseverance were handed down through the family line. Taiye was shown by example the risks and rewards of building a brand with integrity and sticking to your principles no matter the cost.
Taiye was given a great opportunity to study architecture at Pratt Institute and Interior Design at the Art Institute of Atlanta. After he completed his studies, he started a career in construction management. While working in corporate America, he completed projects that totaled over a million square feet in the greater New York City area for many Fortune 500 companies.
Despite all of his achievements, he knew that something was missing from his life. He leaned on the entrepreneurial spirit that he had inherited from his ancestors and departed from his executive corporate position to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur, creator, and fabricator. From this transition, Walker Studios was born, using his great-grandfather’s name to proudly carry on his legacy.
About Walker Design Studios
Walker Design Studios is a minority-owned full-service furniture fabrication company that specializes in the design and fabrication of custom furniture, casework, furnishings, and home goods. They work with interior designers, architects, and construction managers on residential, retail, and corporate projects. They design and fabricate their goods in-house utilizing state of the art equipment, tools, and their hands. In addition to offering their furniture collection, they also custom fabricate furniture pieces for end users, interior designers, and architects.
At Walker Design Studios, they believe in providing an experience that is an unparalleled sense of gratification, fulfillment, and enjoyment. The products that they make are beautifully crafted and aesthetically timeless.
A partial list of furniture items they fabricate are:
- Conference tables
- Dining tables
- Side tables
- Case pieces
Walker Design Studios is guided by a philosophy of experience, equality, and fairness. This spreads throughout all aspects of their business and to all people they encounter in their daily business routine. They treat all people equally and with fairness: clients, staff members, and vendors alike. They listen to what is being said and pay careful attention to details. Equality and fairness matter – everyone has a voice that will be heard. These principles are the building blocks of their long-lasting relationships.
What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?
For me, being a minority business means representing the greatness of my ancestral history and combining that with creativity, experience, and specialized business acumen. It means competing and running a hard race where I was not given a head start and doing it with a winning attitude. I recognize the legacy and that I stand on the shoulders of giants who were enslaved people who persevered despite being stripped of their culture and human dignity. It means being a trailblazer and making a clearer path for those who come behind me. It means being a depository of information based on my experiences and distributing the knowledge to our brethren. Being a minority business means having a commitment to excellence in our operations while uplifting our community and embracing our heritage.
How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?
Being certified with the NMSDC has provided me with access to a community and network of some amazing entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, creators, financers, designers, and the list goes on. Since becoming a member I feel like I have landed in a safe environment for sharing, learning, and giving. I call it a safe environment because we all have something in common as a minority group. Sameness in our experiences, challenges, and traumas that we have endured here in our nation and globally. When sharing stories about our challenges and successes in business there’s an underlying inherent understanding of our traumas and the stakes that are against us. In other words, the folks around you get it!
But even more than that, the NMSDC has opened up access to a wealth of information, networking, mentorship, coaching, and of course business opportunities. Being regularly engaged with the folks at NMSDC keeps me focused, engaged, and energized. No matter the size of the company, its business leaders always have open arms and welcome access to them. I have only been a member for 4 months, however, in a year I will likely be able to fill a book with how NMSDC has helped Walker Studios.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?
Starting out in my career, I wish that I had known the importance of networking and building a community. You can have a great education, hopes, and dreams but networking, exposure, and developing your tribe is a crucial key in personal and business development.