Hello Kgahlego! It’s great to have you on LLA, Can you briefly describe yourself and your business –Interior Bubble?
Hi, Thank you for having me. I am really honoured to be one of the chosen LLA Boss Ladies. My name is Kgahlego Rasebotsa and I am 29 years old, born and bred in South Africa, Limpopo from a small town called Polokwane. I am passionate about creating content and spaces that evokes happy and peaceful emotions from people. I am a Business Administration Graduate and I recently opened my own Interior Design and Decorating company called Interior Bubble which is based in Polokwane, Standard Bank Square. We help people transform their houses into beautiful homes and we also manufacture our own furniture where we supply both furniture and interior decorating services to big corporates as well as other residential and commercial properties. I am a public speaker and I also made it to the list of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019 under the business category.
The name of your business is unique, tell me what does it mean to you, can you share what inspired you to go into this type of business?
It’s simple – Interior Bubble simply means being in a world where you could be as creative and expressive in your own bubble without seeking any validation from anyone, and that is exactly what we give to our clients, A space where we allow ourselves to be inspired by their stories and what they want for their spaces. In this Bubble, we get to know our client a little more so that we are able to achieve our creative goals through what we know about our clients.
You worked a bit before going into entrepreneurship, when you launched your business, did you have prior knowledge on how you could run one? How did you make it work?
Growing up I have always known that I was going to have my own business, infact I thought I was going to go into fashion design but since I was very little, I was obsessed with creative art products, especially paint and coloring krayons and my Dad would always purchase all these products for me. I knew I was creative and that I enjoyed being around beautiful spaces hence I started Interior Bubble. I loved creating beautiful spaces. I genuinely believe that nothing is impossible in life if you work hard and having started with just selling scatter cushions, I knew deep down that I had to make it work, I didn’t have any knowledge of how to start and keep a successful business running, it is the conscious of my business acumen that keeps me going, the fact that I have a social responsibility to my people, a responsibility to help and bring peace into their lives by creating spaces that evokes such emotions in their lives is what allows us to grow daily, that on its own motivates my team and I every day to continue doing our best and giving our best to our clients one day at a time.
How would you describe entrepreneurship and what’s the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship that you’ve heard?
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED, you need to have a
willing heart, a heart that is big enough to handle the highs and the lows of the business throughout the year, a heart that knows when is the right to remove your emotions from any situation and to quickly switch to being logical. It takes great mental power for one to do this because at that moment, you realize that whatever decision you take, it’s not in the interest of the DIRECTOR but it’s in the interest of its PEOPLE in this case being both the EMPLOYEES and CLIENTS.
My biggest misconception that I have heard about entrepreneurship is that “ENTREPRENEURS ARE BORN THAT WAY” – There are certain traits that entrepreneurs develop along the way while growing up and most of the time these traits are practiced throughout the years up until a moment where you fully practice them in your desired passion that you would have turned it into a business. We are born with characteristics that help and aid us into achieving what we want for ourselves when we grow up. You are not born an entrepreneur but you are born with a talent to be creative which evokes a passionate feeling towards creativity therefore you taking it upon yourself to use that to start a business where you have identified a gap in the market that you will close or fill up by assisting people. Entrepreneurship are groomed determination and diligent work.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business recently and how has that worked out?
Because we are creatives and usually whatever concept we come with at face value, most of our clients have a problem imagining our concept so we have now resulted in using digital platforms where we can place our ideas on a board with all the colour paints, wall coverings, curtains and all interior decorating finishes as well as furniture. This helps the client to visualize the idea of how their house will look after completion, it has helped us a lot and we have
gained trust in our clients since using this route.
As an entrepreneur, you must have encountered different kinds of people, what have you learnt most and what will you say has been the highlight of your journey so far?
ALWAYS BE TEACHABLE – Something I keep close to my heart. You are
not always right, nobody is.
You made it to Forbes 30 under 30 list, that’s huge! What will you say is responsible for your success?
Being determined and always being prepared. Being focused and always working hard. I started Interior Bubble 3 years ago and even though the journey wasn’t smooth sailing, I had goals I needed to achieve before turning 3 years and being on the Forbes list was one of the goals I had written down at the beginning of the year. When I found out I had made it to the list, the feeling was so warm deep inside my heart because I knew that I could be an inspiration to a lot of young girls that have lost hope in our system, to a lot of girls who are unemployed but are graduates, I could inspire those that feel hopeless and helpless, I knew that I could use this as a platform to teach and inspire young girls to keep dreaming and nurturing their dreams. To teach them that good things come to those who work hard for them, what you can achieve easily will be taken away easily. This is the reason why Interior Bubble was never profit driven, It is the passion and integrity I put into my business that has pushed thus far, it is the conscious of our business that brought me this far, the social responsibility to serve our people.
What unique challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurship journey, and what’s kept you going?
Having to understand that no everyone is your client, at some point it became a huge challenge because at the time I couldn’t understand why people weren’t going for my services until I had to understand that we live in a country where everyone is entitled to their own taste and it doesn’t mean they anything wrong with what you are offering, it’s just they are not your clients and that is ok. Being a young business woman is very challenging, especially in the field that I am in because I am required to get into someone’s personal space which some people will find it hard to trust me or some will look down on your business and even go to the extent of asking for discounts, at times you are undermined or you are disrespected one way or another, As much as you have applied the business language into your business, you will always get people that will make you feel unworthy and people that will bully you into running things the way they want you to. Over the 3 years I was forced to grow up and see each and every challenge Interior Bubble faces in a more logical manner and respond in a more strategic way. I have responsibility to fulfil to the people is my motivation. I cannot afford to let anyone down, above everything else the power of God keeps me going.
What are your aspirations for Interior Bubble and can you share your five-year plan for your business?
We are currently looking into opening more stores in and around Africa. We are also looking into employing more craftsman who will assist us in the manufacturing of furniture. We are looking to opening more factories and supplying to more corporates throughout the country.
Can you share some strategic helpful tips for upcoming female entrepreneurs to be successful in this path?
Do not be afraid to fail – Failure is a lesson that teaches how to be an expert at what you do. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable, you speak to more people when you are more open to them, always be teachable and most importantly BE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR PRODUCT or
SERVICE. BE CONFIDENT!
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.