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Home / Money

I often shortchanged myself by quoting low prices

 Yvonne Kendi, 24, founder of YK Homestyle on transforming her childhood love for beautifying spaces into a business (Courtesy)

Yvonne Kendi, the 24-year-old founder of home décor company YK Home Style, tells Annie Awuor about transforming her childhood love for beautifying spaces into a business

My background

I studied Human Resource at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, but even as I did it, I knew that I did not want a career in that particular field.

So, after campus, I tried my hand at different jobs and did everything from modelling to marketing before deciding that I wanted to be a content creator and started my YouTube channel in 2019.

The idea

I did not have a fancy camera or even a location to shoot, so I did videos with what I had. I used my phone and shot videos in my room.

I did not even know what content I wanted to create so for three months, I played around with different types of content with everything from cooking because I love to cook, to home décor because, ever since I can remember, I have always loved to beautify spaces.

I made content about anything and everything that I loved during that season.

However, I noticed that people were interested in my content whenever I did a video about home décor.

I quickly noticed there was a gap and room for me to create a niche for myself.

What happened next

Previously, when I was creating content about different subjects, I was not really consisted with my videos, but when I decided that I was going to focus on home décor, in February 2020, I became serious and would consistently release videos.

I guess you can say YK Home Style was born in 2020.

I also invested some money in decorating my bedroom. I would then post videos to show people the steps I had taken and videos of the stores where I had bought the things I had used.

Slowly but surely, I was able to grow my subscribers and even got to partner with companies like Vish Electric.

Then I started receiving calls to do home installations and, at first, I refused because, although I know I have a gift in beautifying spaces, I had only done it for my personal space and never for someone.

I had also not studied  interior design in school.

However, the calls were persistent and I decided to dip my toes in it, but cautiously as I only agreed to do what I call E-design consultations where I do mood boards.

Here, I come up with a digital image of the space a client would want me do decorate and then they would have to look for everything and put the room together without me.

In October last year, I finally decided to do the first home installation and I not only learnt a lot, but I enjoyed the whole experience so much so that I now offer it as a service. Now, if a client wants me to go and decorate their home, I take up the job.

Interestingly, my business has actually grown during the pandemic. I guess it’s because people had to work from home and so, for the first time, needed to create an office space, or because they spent more time at home and felt that they needed to beautify their spaces.


Running a start up

It has been a very liberating but also a challenging experience. I have grown in that I now have 14,000 subscribers up from 1,000.

Also, apart from creating home décor content on my vlog, I now also do mood boards and home installations depending on what a client wants. However, growth comes with its share of challenges.

The main challenge is usually finding dependable fundis to work with, especially when I have a home installation project. However, having worked on a number of projects, I have now identified different people I can work with well.

At the beginning, I struggled with quoting prices. I would originally undercut myself by quoting a low price and then later discover that the work is more demanding and costly than what I charged. However, I am learning and have a better idea of how to charge.

Where I am now

It has only been a year now and I have not broken even yet, but I have grown and learnt a lot about running a business.

Plus, I have expanded my services and, as a result, I am at the point where I need to hire an assistant especially when I am doing a home installation and I need to physically decorate a client’s home.

Additionally, an assistant would help me balance being a content creator and working on projects. Currently, it is not easy to balance both.

My tips

To begin with, if you want to be a content creator, you do not need the best equipment or perfect studio space to shoot. Just start with what you have.

For example, when I began, I would shoot videos using my phone and when I was able to earn some money, I bought a camera and lighting equipment.

Secondly, come up with a niche, believe in yourself and be consistent. Lastly, find a business that deals with a service or product that you love since it makes it easier for you to enjoy your work.

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