Ruth Njoki Njoroge is the founder of Rembesha Interior Décor, a business that specialises in interior décor, architectural and structural drawings, construction, and real estate consultancy.
Njoki shares some valuable lessons she has picked up from her line of business.
I run a business whose workforce is female-oriented.
This means that I have deliberately chosen to have mainly female employees as a way of encouraging women and young girls to get into the real estate design and construction field. The business has partnered with multiple stakeholders and established a construction school where our workers are trained in order to equip them with the requisite skills and certifications.
I started my company in the year 2015 with about Sh50,000.
I had been doing interior design for more than seven years. Then some of my clients started to encourage me to broaden my scope by getting into architectural designs, construction, and construction supervision. I went back to school and studied a degree course in Civil and Structural Engineering and acquired the necessary skills and certifications. Prior to starting my own business, I had worked at MultiChoice and later at a construction company where I honed my interior design skills.
It took me almost five years to break even.
Most of the challenges I faced especially when I was just doing interior design were working on poorly constructed projects. These can mess up your final product and the customer will hardly understand that it is not your fault.
I once worked for a client using my own money.
We hadn’t signed any legal contract and the client ended up conning me of a lot of money. I couldn’t pursue the case in court because we had done the work on a gentleman’s agreement. Since then, I have always opted to work with a legal contract and memorandum of understanding.
My greatest business moment was working with the late Dr. Chris Kirubi.
This truly gave me a great impact and platform to showcase my talents. It was an eye-opener. Also getting to build Hotel Sebs in Nakuru was a great milestone for my company at a time when we were still growing. The owner trusted me with the entire project and we delivered.
If I could start all over again, I would go back to school earlier than I did.
I wasted a lot of time and years chasing money instead of knowledge.
I save my money by investing in assets such as land.
This has worked well for me as it has helped me to have a series of assets that are appreciating. I also have movable assets that have also come in handy when I have needed some quick cash to do some projects. Previously, I used to keep my money in the bank. The effect of inflation meant that I was losing more.
I’ve learnt to write my own story with my own pen.
Nobody should tell your story. I learnt to do it my way. Not to be a photocopy of someone else. I want to leave a legacy for my children. When I went back to school, I knew that it would not only be a stepping stone for me to get into the construction field, but it would also be an inspiration to my children that it is possible to turn your life around when you put your mind to it and invest in knowledge.