Tell us about yourself
I am Nomvuzo Masha, the owner of Ochre Interiors and the current principal decorator. Ochre Interiors is a 100% black female owned business. I started Ochre Interiors in 2015 and have not looked back. After having studied and working in the design field for almost 4 years I decided to take the leap and go on my own. Although I was working in the industry, I was not doing what I actually wanted, which is to design and put schemes together from start to finish and see the final product both in a space and on my clients’ faces.
What problem do you solve for people and why do you do this better than competitors?
Everyone lives in a space, whether it be a rental, house or mansion, but most times they don’t make it a home or office space that reflects them, inspires creativity and sparks joy. I feel that your space should be that place that gives you a hug and makes you want to stay in it and create in it. Most people don’t know how to translate the visions they have in their heads or feelings they have in their hearts into the spaces they wish to occupy. My job is to marry the two in a comfortable, stress-free, efficient and cost-effective way. My designs carry through a subtle African flair infusing it into style aesthetics that are an interplay between traditional and contemporary styles.
What is the best and worst part of being an entrepreneur?
The worst part about being an entrepreneur is that in the beginning everything can feel like it is on you. Taking care of the business side of business can be overwhelming and takes away from the joy of doing what you actually love. By setting up processes and getting in the right support though it can be taken care of.
The best part about being an entrepreneur is the freedom you have to explore your wildest dreams. You are your limit and if you allow yourself the space to dream, explore and actually try new things and exploit opportunities it’s amazing the heights you can reach. It takes belief and persistence but when the balance is right, it’s really right.
What gets you out of bed in the morning when things get tough?
There is a quote that I once read that gets me out of bed on good and bad days. It says something to the effect of “If you are tired of failing, then stop quitting”. There are some things in my life I gave up on when the going got really tough, I jumped ship and it left me feeling like a failure because I didn’t get going through the tough. Ochre Interiors is important to me and it is one thing I am not willing to give up on. I would rather start over a hundred times than to simply quit.
How would you rate your business management skills? Which areas, if any, need improvement?
Hmmm. I think my business management skills are right down the middle. There are aspects that I have a hold on and managing well with but there are also others that I am struggling with. One area that needs improvement is the marketing management. Access to new markets is always a challenge and developing a reputation in this industry is a vital step in getting closer to these. If I can improve my marketing strategy and strengthen the Ochre Interiors brand it would certainly make a difference.
What has been your biggest financial challenge running your business?
My biggest financial challenge has been keeping the financial records in order, keeping track of every little spend on my projects and the related receipts. When working on multiple projects it is essential to keep track of the funds independently for each one. Another challenge is looking after the money that has been realised in the business and making it work for the business and not only in the business.
What has been your greatest frustration with the SME landscape in South Africa?
My biggest frustration in the South African SME landscape is the amount of red tape that small businesses need to cut through to just formalise themselves and once they have done so there is even more red tape to get through to survive and grow. I would like to create jobs and make a difference in the lives of those I will work with. So to ensure this I am doing my best to make sure that the company is compliant and in a position where it can employ people responsibly, observing labour law and the minimum wage bill amongst others.
What would you have done differently if given the chance to start over?
I would have refined my business processes and policies a lot sooner in the business. I found that in the beginning when I was still finding my feet I at times had to improvise (which is not always a bad thing) but then some of these improvisations became habits in the business. Most of these don’t work in the long run and it takes time to unlearn and undo them and to then correct them.
What can we look forward to from you in the next year?
I am in the concept phase of my product line and I am hoping that it will come to life in the coming year. Otherwise more projects and posting on my social pages (*hides*) lol.
What do you do when you are not business-ing?
I am a homebody so I enjoy reading when I am not with my family or friends. I find that it calms me and motivates me. Often times I come across a paragraph or line that I really needed to “hear” when reading. I have started running and I am starting to enjoy the liberating feeling it gives me and when I have pauses between projects I also enjoy yoga.
Where can we find you?
Telephone: 012 764 7212
Physical address: The Club Shopping Centre, Second Floor, Corner Pinaster Avenue & 18th Street, Hazelwood, Pretoria