Tarik Yousef has been a hobby woodworker since he was 12 years old. He began by building furniture out of his basement in Ohio. Then, he decided to pursue engineering in college, which got him interested in the technical aspects of making furniture. So he continued to craft pieces on the side. His hobby got the attention of several local businesses and friends, who began requesting custom furniture from him, and that is what sparked the beginning of his eventual career.
After five years of designing stamping tools for Honda, Yousef decided to take a risk and launched TY Fine Furniture m as an online furniture store in 2008, offering his own handmade pieces. He eventually hired some staff—though he was and still remains the company’s only furniture designer and master woodworker—and opened the first showroom in July 2013 in Columbus, OH. As his success grew, he opened up a bigger showroom in mid-2017. He continues to sell his products online across the US, as well.
His engineering skills gave him his technical precision, which he combines with artistry to handcraft platform beds, dining and side tables, chairs, cabinets, and more, all made with solid wood and organic finishes.
“We focus on domestic hardwoods,” Yousef says. “Cherry, walnut, and maple are our most popular species.”
Yousef never imports wood. In fact, in an effort to be as sustainable as possible, he selects all the wood he uses for the furniture from naturally fallen trees from Ohio forests. In other words, no trees are ever cut to make TY Fine Furniture.
“The importing process is so wasteful and destructive, all for very little benefit,” he says.
Yousef uses organic, nontoxic, and zero-VOC finishes on his furniture that he researches and concocts himself, with some scientific assistance from his microbiologist dad. Yousef processes, mixes, and bottles the finishes in house, including his signature oil-and-wax blend finish, which helps minimize or erase scratches and creates a smooth, matte look. Certain oil bases in the finishes are food grade, because that guarantees the safest ingredients, says Yousef. He did not want to breathe in nasty chemical fumes while working on his furniture—nor did he want his customers to be exposed to toxins.
“You’re getting your money’s worth—you’re not getting crap,” he says of his products. TY Fine Furnishings also sells medically approved massage chairs, which means that they were tested by various associations to make sure that they can help you and your body. And the brick-and-mortar store offers a selection of Naturepedic m organic mattresses for the bedroom. Yousef also takes pride in taking care of his employees, he says: “My goal isn’t to buy myself a mansion. Everyone gets elevated together—our salaries are the same. We pay well.”
He says he often sees the same customers repeatedly and develops a relationship with them. He notes that their loyalty may be due to the fact that they care about the durability and sustainability of their furniture, and they know Yousef cares about these things as well.
“Almost every customer will call or e-mail a thank-you note once they receive an item,” says Yousef. “Those customers are typically shocked by the level of quality and workmanship that their money bought.”