People who have gone through a career change will admit that it is one of the most difficult things one can ever experience. Although many who go through this transition do so having realised their true passion, they still question whether their decision is right, informed and whether it contributes towards their personal development or growth.
Kefentse Mongwe, a 27-year old entrepreneur from Pretoria, had all these questions yet still risked everything and pursued her goal. She is now the proud owner of an interior design company called Bazzi Designs, which specialises in full interior design services such as: custom-made furniture and/or accessories, art procurement, installation and lighting.
Aiming to help her clients tell their stories and bring out their personalities through design and art, Mongwe says that her vision for the company is to become the leading interior design house in both residential and commercial housing projects in the Gauteng region.
The Information Systems graduate says that her friends, who knew that she had a knack for designing exquisite cushions and other small décor items, would always ask her to make some of the interior designs they saw online before going to the shops. She says many of them were doable, and often times she created the same designs with her own personal touch.
However, it wasn’t until Mongwe made cushions for one of her aunt’s friends, and later decorating her friend’s place (both at a fee) that she began to take her craft seriously and monetised it. While this was going on, she was still working as an analyst at a bank and it was also at a time when she received numerous opportunities to form companies with friends in the IT world.
“I knew that being a black educated female looks good when submitting board member papers but at that time I didn’t want to sacrifice the time for my designs. It is when I made this sacrifice that I realised it was all real.”
Knowing all the risks involved (including a huge loss of profit) she was fortunate to have a very supportive partner who encouraged her to propel and also assisted her to help grow the budding design business.
“As much as passion is enough, there are bills to be paid and start-ups don’t necessarily make profits in the beginning stages. I am grateful to my partner who gave me the confidence to make the leap. He is in the business world and he kept on emphasizing the freedom of working for yourself and he wanted that for me,” she says.
Having experienced the corporate and entrepreneurial sphere, Mongwe explains that both worlds consist of deadlines and allow room for growth, but the thought of building something for herself and her future offspring is more fulfilling.
Currently working on three projects in different cities, she successfully juggles her projects by managing time well. She also has a team of students from interior design schools who are looking for experience, so whenever things get hectic, she allocates a budget for the extra help.
Mongwe encourages other entrepreneurs not to give up on their business ideas and emphasizes the importance of keeping a circle of strong-willed people that want to see you succeed. She further cites the saying; do what you must do so you can do what you want to do, which she says rang true to her.
For Mongwe’s interior design services, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her business accounts on Facebook: Bazzi Designs and Instagram: @bazzidesigns
~ Thabile Shange