Morung Express News
Dimapur | October 31
The most inspiring stories are those with chronicles of starting the journey with zero capital or funding and sometimes no learning or experience. People who starts with nothing yet despite the odds are still able to accomplish unlikely feats are always motivating.
One such story with great lessons hidden for aspiring entrepreneurs that needs to be celebrated is about Temsukaba T Ao. As an aspiring entrepreneur in the making, he has managed to weather a great share of hurdles and is still dealing with his fair share of struggles. Nevertheless, his journey is not short of any inspiration.
Temsukaba is the founder of ‘Temsu KBL’, a home based unit that deals with manufacturing and refurbishing guitar and ukulele.
Rewriting the story
“Growing up I was always drawn towards guitar. When I was in class 12, I wanted to learn to play it but could not afford a new one and also there was no one to lend me,” Temsu narrates to The Morung Express during an exclusive conversation at his manufacturing unit located in Kevijau Colony in Dimapur.
Temsu recollects the days of visiting his friend’s place after class to watch YouTube tutorials in his computer since he did not have one at home. “Almost every day, I would download a video on how to built guitar and take it home so that I can watch later. Slowly I started taking interest in guitar repairing, refurbishing and even manufacturing,” he says.
Temsu’s passion for guitar caught the attention of his cousin brother who gifted him a used guitar. “That guitar became my field of experiment. I did not just learn how to strum the strings but it also led me to discover new things about this musical instrument,” he adds.
Reminiscing one of his first experiences, Temsu shares, “One day out of curiosity, I tried to replicate the old guitar bar. It was not 100% successful but I managed to get it done. It made me realized it was possible to repair and even create a new guitar by myself.”
“At that moment, I decided to learn how to make a guitar for myself so that I don’t have to borrow from others. After I made the sample, Luther of Encore Music Store in Dimapur was kind enough to display the product in his shop. People started noticing and appreciated the sample. Their appreciation motivated me to pursue it further,” acknowledges Temsu.
Reflecting on his journey, Temsu says that when he first started, the family support was not there as they thought there was no scope. “However, it been four years or so now, my family understands and sees that this is something which not only can support us financially but also something I am passionate about. Now they are all in support.”
Having zero knowledge about the trade was another obstacle. But his will lead him to find a place to be trained.
“I attended a three-month course on constructing guitar with uncle Yanger Aier of Yahuya Guitars in Dimapur. I learned all the technical aspects from him. He has been one of the greatest sources to built confidence in my skills. That is the only professional training I have till date. As much as I would want to learn more, right now due to certain constraints I could not pursue further,” he states.
After the training, Temsu shifted his focus more on repairing. By the end of 2014, he could set up a small workshop in his house with the income he earned from the repairing works.
Since then, Temsu has single handedly manufactured around 25 brand new acoustic guitars and three electric guitars from scratch. He takes around 2 weeks to complete one acoustic guitar while electric guitar takes almost 3 weeks.
He has also manufactured over 100 ukuleles till date. “I started ukulele production in full swing only this year. In a month, I try to manufacture 10-15 ukuleles in batches,” he said.
Talking about his work routine, Temsu says that in the morning, he works until he goes to the office at 9:00 am. In the evening, after office he visits music stores to collect guitars for repair. “My shift in my workshop usually starts between 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm and I work till I am satisfied with the result,” he shares.
He adds that due to the limited working hours, his production scale is low. Nonetheless, he is grateful to various music stores who trust his work and connects him to customers.
For Temsu, the greatest challenge has been the fact that his trade is not a popular one.
Since it is a new venture it is difficult to get private investors or government support, he stresses while adding, “So far I have done everything on my own which is the reason why production is quite limited. Apart from this, tools and materials are hard to come by.”
“Another setback would be the mindset of our people that imported products have more value than locally made merchandise,” he laments.
He also adds that like any others, the lockdown has adversely affected his work. “The worse is scarcity of raw materials which is hampering the production.”
The greatest strength for Temsu is found in his passion and dedication to do what he loves doing. “Right now I am functioning like a one-man force. But I am driven by my passion and I finish what I have started.”
He also does not shy away from admitting his greatest weakness. “Impatience is my greatest weakness. Few of my work have been victim to it. I won't say I am proud of it, but when you invest all your time and energy, and your work isn't satisfying you end up exploding,” he shares.
Despite the odd, Temsu never stops having dreams for his work. “I would want to get to a certain point where I will be able to provide job opportunities. Also, in the days to come, I would want my brand to be competing globally,” he hopefully expresses.
Highlights from temsukbl instagram page
Everything in the 8x8 feet size room screams originality and innovation. From the indigenously invented machineries to hand crafted gadgets, the bamboo woven walls to the wooden devices put on show of uniqueness.
As small as the room may seem, it is the launch pad of a thousand dreams and aspiration for this 28 year old entrepreneur. This is the manufacturing unit where all the magic happens for Temsukaba T Ao.
“I plan to expand my manufacturing unit and start full production very soon,” he shares while pointing towards a plot of land adjacent to his home which he says the land owner has been kind enough to give permission for the expansion.
With a grateful heart, Temsu acknowledges that a close neigbour who believed in his dreams and arranged a part time job in his office where he works during day time.
However, Temsu is also not sightless to the many challenges that wait on his course. He recounts the disappointing experience of running around from the bank to the departments and offices concerned with the hope to get help for loans, schemes, trade registration and so on but did not make any breakthrough.
“I have zero knowledge and there is no one to guide or show me the way. I have no knowledge of schemes or loan for small industries like the one I am running. It is exasperating and discouraging. I need someone to show me the way to find resources and get my trade registered,” Temsu puts across with the hope to find any possible help soon.
He went on to share, “I can create job opportunities for Naga youths in this sector but right now I am struggling to find ways to get financial resources and support.”
“I dream of making the guitar and ukulele production unit a full time profession and very soon I will be there,” Temsu states with confidence.