Irene Kajubi always loved transforming spaces. This passion drove her to drop her salaried job to fully venture into the world of interior designing.
On our first meeting, Irene Kajubi is dressed in a corporate attire, something that leaves me thinking that interior designing and décor is a profession full of glamour. To my disappointment, she tells me she is not always dressed that way because the kind of work she does will leave her dirty at the end of the day.
Kajubi, a mother of two, is the proprietor of Interior Expressions and a professional interior designer, who is passionate about her work. She also gives internship opportunities to aspiring interior designers.
Although Kajubi has a degree in Developmental Science and a diploma in Public Administration and Management, her passion is interior designing. it is this passion that drove her to enrol for an interior designing course at the British college of interior designers.
“It all started when I decorated my space and many people who visited always complemented it and asked me to venture into interior designing, something that I was already passionate about. All I did was to take the course but before I left, I informed my friends that I was venturing into interior designing and hoped they would use my skill after, something they readily did,” says Kajubi.
For her to achieve her dream, she had to quit her salaried job at an advertising company to enrol for the interior designing course.
After the course, she printed business cards, which she supplied to her friends and furniture shops.
Her first project was a referral by a friend who believed in her. She was tasked to design and decorate big apartment.
“When I reached the place, it was a very big apartment and this left me wondering why my friend could let me handle such a project yet I had never done any. I put myself together and gave the project my all and it turned out to be a success and since then, I have never looked back,” Kajubi says.
What her typical day is like
She says her day is usually hectic, especially when she has a client because she has to get the right service providers and connect with them, make sure the materials she needs are of quality and they get to the sight.
Who is an interior designer and decorator?
She personally thinks anyone can be a decorator but for one to become a designer, they should have studied the course because it involves a lot of art.
“It is always nice for someone who has a passion for interior decoration to spice it up with blackboard knowledge because this is what upholds your work,” Kajubi advises.
She, however, says she personally has learnt a lot on her own and uses less of the classroom knowledge.
This, she does by doing a lot of research, reading a lot of décor and designing books both online and manually but that needs a lot of investment.
She is very passionate about decorating residential houses because it gives her more room for creativity although she can also design office spaces.
How she gets her clients
She says her well done projects have always been her source of clients since many people who she works for keep referring people to her. She has mostly got her clients from her first project.
Her clients have been the constant referrals and her friend who works at a furniture shops contacts her each time a customer needs their interior worked on.
She says she has not really come across very many challenges in this field. She got a client in her first three months and since then, she has not turned back and in cases where there are challenges, she handles the situation well according to how they were taught at school.
Kajubi says interior designing does not really have a lot of money that is why the people who venture into it should do it because they are passionate about it but not because they think it brings in a lot of money.
She says at the start there is not really much money but the work you do will be the one to bring you clients and dictate on how much you are needed and increase you value.
How she overcomes her huddles
She advises that people try to develop good interpersonal skills given the fact that interior designing and decorating involves working with many people of different fields and when one does that, then they will find it easier do their work.
“That goes way back to the way you communicate with the clients regardless of how harsh and bossy they maybe, but with that quality, you can calm them down,”
She says it also takes a lot of patience because sometimes some clients pile more work for her but she takes it positively because she knows that behind a specific client could come more clients so being at her best behaviour is one of her assets.
What she charges per project
She cannot specify a price for the work but usually it depends on how huge the project is, the distance of the site, time and the bigger the place the more work.
Tips for aspiring interior designers
Kajubi says the millennials have a wrong perception about interior designing because they think it is easy but there is nothing fancy about the job because involves hard dirty work.
She advises them not to just go for it because they think there is money but because they are passionate about it. Interior designing work may come once a year so one who thinks there is a lot of money in it may as well give up earlier.
More to that, she says they should do more research, be critical when it comes to details, renew their knowledge, be obstinate and quit being mediocre if they are to succeed.
She says they should not go in for the money but take up what they can handle if they are to do an excellent job and also keep their clients.
Finally, she says they should try as much as possible to look good when they are going to meet a client for the first time because impression plays a greater role.