How to make it in the interior design business : The Standard

After completing a course in interior design, Claire found herself in the corporate world. It only took a year for her to get fed up with the daily routine and her urge to plunge into business grew by the day.

When her contract ended, she decided not to renew it and took the “big risk” by getting into business. She set up Interior by Claire, an interior design company out to rebirth spaces.
Her initial clients were friends and colleagues. Through referrals, she started growing, and in less than an year she had started serving corporate clients as well.
Three years into the business she has made considerable strides. She desires to be a renowned brand in the interior design business.
I linked her up with Clara Mwanje, the founder of Interior Perspective Studio – an all-round interior design company.
Clara holds over a decade of experience in the interior design business and here are some of the business lessons she shared with Claire.
Go into employment to learn the trade

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Prior to setting up Interior Perspective Studio, Clara was employed for three years. During that period, she learnt the business, which was sufficient for her to set up her shop. Clara terms it critical to learn in an existing business environment before setting up your own shop.
Surround yourself with experienced people
To succeed in the interior design business, one needs to be around experienced persons for guidance and mentorship, which is crucial to see out the start-up phase.
Have rules and procedures to guide your business
Systems and processes are crucial in scaling up a business. In order to ensure a sustainable business growth, an entrepreneur should set out guiding rules and procedures that are understandable and can be easily implemented by anyone who gets into the business to ensure smooth transition in case anybody is leaving or joining the business
Involve a quantity surveyor in the costing process
Costing is a pivotal factor in the interior design business and one can easily get it wrong. It is vital that one involves a quantity surveyor in the costing process to ensure that unforeseen expenditure is factored in the costing process. To also get client buy-in, involve them during the process.  


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