Furniture Design Consultant

  • Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Interested applicants should email: with a cover letter, CV (including pertinent certifications), and, if applicable, a portfolio of their work.

WorkShop is a World Bank funded organization that aims to support small-scale Kenyan furniture manufacturers by increasing their productivity and creating marketing strategies for their products. WorkShop will create various lines of furniture and home decoration products that will be marketed and sold locally, regionally and internationally. Production of these products will be outsourced to small and medium-sized enterprises, who will be supported by WorkShop with training, tool access, quality assurance and marketing support.

About the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics:

The Busara Center is a research organization in Nairobi that seeks to understand what factors people consider when making decisions and how they arrive at the choices they make. Through collaborations with organizations and researchers it works to identify core human biases and find ways to structure programs, products, and policies around these barriers. Busara conducts field and laboratory studies in economics, and provides advisory services to the private, non-profit and public sectors. Jeremy Shapiro is the President of the Busara Center, and will be working closely on the tool library project. He is an MIT-trained economist who specializes in aid effectiveness and behavioral economics. He was the co-founder and a director of GiveDirectly from 2009 to 2012. He has also worked as an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company, an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton, and as a Post Doctoral Associate at Yale.

Job Description.

Formally, the Furniture Design Consultant – WorkShop, will be volunteering for a period of up to 3 months. Depending on the financial and operational success of WorkShop, there is a possibility to transition into an employment position. The Furniture Design Consultant will work closely with Jeremy Shapiro, lead on this project, and Michael Nyambura, Senior Operations Manager, as well as coordinate extensively with the Busara Center, which will be leading a concurrent impact evaluation of the project. WorkShop is in its early stages, and the Furniture Design Consultant will be responsible for creating a product portfolio and curriculum, work with clients to design and layout furniture projects, build prototypes, teach apprentices, generate orders, liaise with furniture-makers, identify risks in production and be able to design cost effective / alternative methods of production to reduce costs, as well as assisting in the production of high quality furniture.

The volunteer position requires someone who is highly entrepreneurial with a strong understanding of the furniture industry and materials. A successful Furniture Design Consultant will be highly organized, energetic, flexible, and able to work independently.

Required qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Relevant degree or 5+ years of experience in the Kenyan furniture industry
  • In-depth understanding of manufacturing process and how to design and create high-quality products
  • Wide knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes, both for state-of-the-art, but also for the local context
  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to maintain efficiency in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Excellent customer service and client relationship skills

Candidates with the following qualifications are highly encouraged to apply:

  • Experience running a furniture business in Kenya
  • Experience exporting furniture
  • Experience sourcing materials and tools necessary for furniture production
  • Design and manufacturing experience, including costing
  • Intimate knowledge, or existing relationships with furniture makers on Ngong Road.
  • Experience developing and teaching design or manufacturing courses
  • History of successfully turning product ideas into finished work
  • Experience collaborating with other designers, manufacturers locally and globally

WorkShop Nairobi WorkShop Nairobi logo

Areas of focus:

  • Jonathan Court, Ngong Road
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
    See Map
  • Duration:

    3 months or longer
  • Time commitment:

    A lot (10+ hours/week)
  • Times of day:

    Mornings Afternoons
  • Days of week:

  • Schedule:

    Flexible schedule
  • Extra details:

    Stipend provided
  • International volunteer options:

    International volunteers welcome

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WorkShop Nairobi WorkShop Nairobi logo

Areas of focus:

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