Making waves and cashing in on interior décor space

Friday, July 17th, 2020 00:00 |
Mukami Mbaabu, Interiors by Tifi. Photo/PD/Harriet James

Harriet James @harriet86jim

Where did your passion for interiors begin? 

I realised that I had an interest in well-designed spaces. My travel experience to various cities and hotels awakened my design passion and I would spend most of my time on the internet researching about designing home interiors.

What challenges did you face starting out?

I started interior design work in 2012. It was difficult convincing clients to give me a chance to work on their homes as I had no papers nor experience in the field. 

I started my company as a single proprietor, but as the needs and demands of the job grew, I took on partners to help run the business.

We now have in-house engineers, marketers and more designers able to handle our client’s needs.

How did you convince them to trust you with designing their homes?

It took a while. One day when I posted on a Facebook group that I was a budding designer and one lady, a close family friend entrusted me with her home, which they were building at the time.

I told her that I had no experience, but I had a good eye for design.

After I did her project, I shared pictures on the page, and we got more clients coming in.

Why is it important for people to consider having an interior designer design their homes and at what stage should they have them?

Interior design is an art and not everyone has an eye for design. It’s important then for people to have someone help them bring their houses to life as well as bring out a balanced space.

If one is building, as soon as the structure is on its feet, that would be the best time to invite the services of a designer.

We, however,are also working with those who have already moved in, or are renting and need an improvement in the soft bits of design. 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and how are you adjusting to the new norm?

When Covid-19 struck, we had to stop operations for the first two months. We even closed shop for the duration.

We got many enquiries from clients, but we shelved or pushed the projects forward.

However, the beginning of June saw us get back to work, albeit under strict safety conditions.

Interestingly, the idea of staying at home has opened many people’s eyes to the need of having a cozy home. We have had a lot of clients seeking our services. 

So how did you self-teach yourself into interior design? 

I mostly study online, but I think in interior design, you just need to have the talent, which then you can fine tune as you go along.

I also love introducing new ideas in the market. I am particularly drawn to traditional and rustic decor designs.

How can one tell if an interior designer is genuine or not?

Through your interaction with them, but ideally, there should be chemistry between the designer and the client, because the designer needs to completely absorb the personality of the client, understand their personal sense of style, and all those who live in that home to best be able to execute.

So if a designer isn’t keen on understanding all this, and also, if they come off as imposing then that should be a sign of trouble.

What’s the latest trend in interior design? 

Every year there’s always something coming up, but I rarely go with the trend. We like to design timeless pieces for our clients.

However, what’s trending now are recliner seats. Last year Chesterfields were in.

More on Lifestyle