Marion Wanjiru Mwangi, 32, is a single mother of a four year old daughter called Lyasera. She also has two other kids whom she has taken in as her own children, that is her househelp Esther and the son Lewis, and together they are one happy family. Marion runs Malya Interiors, an Interior Design and furniture supply company, which seeks to design and transform your house to a beautiful and unique look. Malya Interiors is about home improvement, a Kenyan version of extreme home make-over.
I was born in Uthiru and we later moved to Ongata Rongai when I was only four years old. This is where I was raised though most of the time I was in school since I enrolled in a boarding school when I was in Class Four. Basically, school has played a big role in who I am today. I am the last born in a family of three siblings. My eldest brother is a Lecturer in Economics at Pioneer School while my second born brother works as the IT Manager at Microsoft Kenya.
I have a Higher Diploma in Computer Science and a Diploma in Mass Communication. However, rather than search for a job in relation to Computer Science, I chose to follow my passion in hair, beauty and design. This is what I have been from 2009 to 2016 before Malya Interiors began.
It came about when I redesigned my house years ago. I had always had this dream of going to school and pursuing a course in Interior Design but I had my hands full juggling between motherhood and work. I could not quit work to go to school and yet I had mouths to feed. Hence when I redesigned my house, I didn’t know it would turn out to attract so many people. I was just doing it for fun since I was busy with my work which involved hair and make-up.
From then on, my friends started tagging me on posts on Facebook that highlighted beautiful homes. I then started receiving calls from people who sought to find out how I went about designing homes and whether I could offer my services to them. At first, I was a bit reluctant but my confidence would later grow.
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WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
The first client I got was based in Nakuru. To date, I still wonder how I did it but I know God saw me through. This is because all she did was send me pictures of what her house and furniture looked like. At that time, I could not go all the way to Nakuru to take the measurements. We just did some little guessing and fortunately, we got everything right. After all the works had been completed, everything turned out superb. After Nakuru, I got eight other clients who wanted their homes to be revamped. It now became an interesting affair and, sooner than later, the business started growing. I then started focusing on it more and slowly by slowly it overtook what I was previously doing. I started getting referrals from clients and did everything that entails interior décor. I also got into new furniture business and with time I hardly had time for anything else apart from offering interior décor services. It went from getting two clients a month to working on up to three houses in a day to date.
RUNNING A START UP
I must say that it wasn’t very hard for me since I started with one client at a time and would easily work with their deposits. But as the business grows, the money given as deposit is never enough hence you find yourself needing extra cash to complete a client’s job. Fortunately, the business has been saving up for such cases hence am able to meet a client’s expectations without us having to disagree on financial terms.
WHERE I AM NOW
One year down the line, I can say that what I have achieved is stability and credibility while running the business. I continue to get more and more referrals which keep Malya Interiors going. I am now more confident and nothing can stop me from giving my best to ensure that my clients are satisfied with the services we offer.
I have employed a team of 15 people who include carpenters, painters, electricians, a fundi who is in charge of fixing the wallpapers and another one who does the gypsum walls. It all depends on what is being done in a particular house. Together, we have strived to produce high quality results which in turn have landed us more business opportunities. I am currently working on multiple houses in a day which is quite some good progress and am grateful to God for that.
To other entrepreneurs, don’t focus on the challenges you face while running your business but rather let them be a stepping stone to make you work extra hard so as to achieve better results. Challenges are there to make you stronger, but not to give up. You have all it takes to succeed. Focus on growth. When starting a business, do not focus so much on the money that you will earn from it. Money will come when you have invested all your energy on the right things, which are positivity, growth and above all God.