Ebony started a business to make interior design affordable for everyone

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A few years ago, the number of professional interior designers in Uganda could be counted on one hand. This scarcity made hiring professional services for homes prohibitively expensive and it became a reserve of the wealthy.

Years later, the landscape has changed and almost every mall in Kampala boasts of having an interior design company or two.

Some of them just deal in home decor items, while others, like Bedazzle Interiors, also offer services. Located in Kigoowa, a suburb of Kampala, the business opened in 2018 and offers full decoration services.

Winnie Ebony, the owner, says she was inspired to open a boutique because she noticed a gap in her type of services.

“More and more people are inspired by what they see online. They dream of chic and trendy homes or offices. This is the gap I wanted to fill by helping them turn their dreams into reality “, she says.

Before going into freelance work, Ebony worked for nine years at MTN Uganda.

Ebony who describes herself as an avid and passionate gardener owns a greenhouse where she grows plants and helps customers who want to include them in their decor make the right choices.

Knowing that including nature in her environment has many benefits, she wanted every client to be able to afford it despite their income. So she started a greenhouse that has a variety of plants, herbs, spices and flowers.

Although she could easily manage a successful greenhouse, she needed to improve her interior design skills, which she did by taking an online interior design course.

Ebony’s most popular service is helping customers learn how to care for their plants.

“Plants need proper care to thrive, so I teach my clients when to water, when to add fertilizer, and how to deal with them when attacked by pests,” she says.

Because many customers are hesitant to use artificial fertilizers, Ebony teaches them how to make their own at home using household waste such as kitchen peelings, kitchen scraps and coffee grounds.

Ebony also helps customers select plants that are beneficial to each other. She says plants such as philodendron, peace lily, pothos, snake plants and spider plants grow well together.

Ebony’s goal is to help every customer access quality decorating or design advice at an affordable cost. The process begins with helping them identify their lifestyle needs, understanding their aesthetics and the possibilities of their space.

“You need to pay attention to your client during the planning phase, it will help you discover things about them that they are unable to communicate effectively. The client will be pleasantly surprised when the finished project can reflect their personality or culture of business. That’s what sets successful decorating experts apart from the rest,” she says.

She says being able to offer a variety of services is a great way to build a clientele when starting out.

“The trick is to make sure your customers are happy and can refer you to others. You also need to build a relationship with your customers so they can come back,” she says.

Ebony advises entrepreneurs to go for businesses they are passionate about and not because they think they are lucrative.

“When you do something you’re really passionate about, the results are more impressive because you’re able to combine your inherent gift with a trained instinct,” she says.

In the modern world where technology is continually evolving, the most successful interior designers also continue to reinvent themselves through continuous training and research in order to stay relevant.

Before hiring an interior designer, you need to be clear about the nature of the services they offer and what your budget can afford. Here is a range of services offered by interior designers.

This one-day one-time service allows clients to hire an interior designer for a specific project, such as the interior design of a specific room. You can set a fixed price for this service, which typically involves four to six hours of design work.

This service is usually for a specific project. You can go to the client’s home or office, but the session can also take place in your own office. These sessions usually last between one and three hours.

One-day shopping trips are a popular service offered by interior designers. You can take your client to your preferred vendors that you have established relationships with. Trips can be used to purchase furniture, fixtures, or artwork, or for fixtures and materials needed to renovate a kitchen or bathroom.

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