For many who choose journalism as a career, it truly is a vocation. But interior designer Tokoloho Masalesa realised after working at two media companies that she had a very different calling.
The founder of Divine Glow Lifestyle told Vutivi News that her love and passion for interior design and décor led to her forming her company in 2017.
“Divine Glow Lifestyle is an interior décor and design firm that designs the interior of everything you can think of, from residential to commercial spaces,” she said.
“Our interior designs include the use of layout plans, tiling, painting, wallpaper, windows, taps, cabinets and soft finishes. These bring the final look and feel of the customer’s space together.”
The company also manufactures custom-made furniture.
Masalesa said before starting her venture, she graduated with a degree in media studies. She worked in the industry for four years.
“I stopped working in media because I realised that my greater passion lay more in interior designing than media,” she said.
Masalesa, who is also a mother and wife, then studied at Inscape.
“While I was studying for my interior design qualification, I found a job within the industry as a fabrics and wallpaper consultant to familiarise myself with it,” she said.
After studying, she was approached by friends who had just bought a house. They asked her to help turn it into a home.
“Later that year I went on maternity leave, and while I was on leave, I received a client referral from my then-colleagues for another job…
“It was while I was working on this particular project that I decided to take a leap of faith and resign from my nine-to-five, throwing myself completely into my new profession as an interior designer,” she said.
She now employs three people on a part-time basis.
Masalesa told Vutivi News that her business was not only about serving her ego.
“I have a lot of people and families relying on me to make it a success so that they can be able to support their loved ones financially,” she said.
And Masalesa is open to sharing the lessons she has learned as an entrepreneur, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, which she believes has anchored her in times of difficulty.
“Running a business is not easy… (but) loving what you do helps tolerate the uphill battle and challenges one faces as an entrepreneur,” she said.
“I also faced challenges such as trying to do everything by myself, from getting clients, the design process and presentations, to sourcing, administrative work, project management and installations.
“I was also trying to grow my business. I later realised that I cannot do everything by myself, and I needed help to get where I want the business to be in the next five years,” she said.
Masalesa said the pandemic has been a steep learning curve, including the ability to be flexible and adapt as fast as possible when necessary.
“One cannot be rigid as a business owner. One has to deal and handle whatever the world throws at one. I also learned the importance of perseverance and that you need to keep it moving no matter how bleak it might look in that moment,” Masalesa said.
“That is why it is important to have a ‘why’ when you start a business because the ‘why is our light through the darkness and uncertainty.”