After years of doing consulting work as an interior designer, self-starter Angela Ocker (29), started her own interior design company, Trait Décor, earlier this year.2016 is definitely a year full of new beginnings for this creative and determined young entrepreneur. Apart from taking the leap to enter the competitive world of interior design, she also tied the knot about 3 months ago with longtime boyfriend.
Despite the fact that she graduated with honors in interior design, she admits that theoretical knowledge is by far not enough to guarantee success in the industry. Angela is the first to admit that nothing beats the value of experience.
This self-professed perfectionist says one of the key elements to success as an entrepreneur is definitely the willingness to fail but at the same time recognizing the apparent ‘failure’ as a learning curve.
Angela believes that an entrepreneur should know the basics of everything pertaining to his/her business. This, she achieved by doing various basic online courses like business management, accounting as well as web design.
This not only helped her to design her own webpage for her company, but also enables her to earn extra money by managing social media accounts for clients. Given the fact that she had her first part-time job at the age of 13 [as a stable groom], it comes as no surprise that Angela values a high work ethic and leads her team of contractors with a hands-on approach – yes she does get her hands dirty [despite her well-manicured nails].
Angela believes in the field of interior design, ‘your contractors are your best friends and need to be treated with dignity and respect’. This approach of professional respect enables her to deal with the challenges facing a young female having to manage men that are most often much older than her.
Angela’s take on SA interior design trends…
Although she has a personal preference for Scandinavian design – ‘for the simplicity, warmth and use of textures’, she believes it is her responsibility as an interior designer to guide her clients to what’s best for them. Her moto, ‘a house should be home’, helps her to achieve this.
She believes the simpler the design, the less room for mistakes.
According to Angela, SA interior designers do not need to try and copy European trends because there are so many excellent young and upcoming designers. She says that South Africans are generally scared of colors and prefer a fresh clean pallet [neutral colors].
Looking at future trends in SA interior design, she thinks because spaces have become smaller, more attention to detail in design will become paramount. Designs needs to be adaptable and multi-functional.
This is why she strongly believes that an interior designer needs to cater for his/her client holistically – ‘everything needs to work together’.
Angela’s Tips for Young Entrepeneurs starting out:
Planning is absolutely essential!!! [it took her +/- 18 months to plan Trait Décor].
Save up as much capital as you can from the moment you decide to start your enterprise.
Have a clear vision of what you want your business to be and the quality of service you want to deliver.
Keep focused and always keep your vision in mind.
Be determined, passionate and committed.
Be honest about what you know and don’t know and educate yourself about the business aspect of your venture.
Gain as much experience as you can in your field of expertise before venturing out on your own and respect for and pride in what you do.
Network, network, network!!! – you need to be seen and make connections! Don’t underestimate the value and power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Invest in yourself and your business – basic things like business cards, professional appearance, etc.
Don’t worry about being too right or too wrong – see every experience /encounter as a learning curve on your road to success.