When Project Chaboo came to an end, Tomita Designs had several projects lined up and ready to go. With the surplus of jobs, Ken was able to hire Seyi as a paid employee. His first tasks were unglamorous: sanding, sanding, and more sanding. But eventually, the sanding gave way to building, and together they went about constructing Ken’s designs. Using traditional woodworking techniques, they fabricated contemporary Japanese-inspired tables, bookshelves, sideboards, and cabinets. As they continued to work, Tomita Designs won a number of large contracts: one to revamp the interior of the Portland’s Jupiter hotel, the other to construct collapsible teak cabanas for the common area of a Los Angeles condominium development.
During this time, Seyi became Ken’s right hand man, and gained valuable insight into the process of taking a concept and making it real. When Ken cofounded Grovemade a year and a half into his tenure, Seyi became an integral part of the new business.