Interior design entrepreneur carves out unique path
JOHANNESBURG - Nthabi Taukobong makes money out of designing. Taukobong is the founder and managing director of interior design outfit, Ditau Interiors.
In her 23 years journey to stardom, Takubong has designed for luxury homes, trains, five-star hotels and casinos in South Africa, Mauritius, Angola, Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Her client list includes presidents, royalty, corporations and captains of industry who want personal touch for their homes and holiday houses.
She says her work can be seen in luxury rail service The Blue Train and Sun City, Table Bay Hotel and Sugar Beach Hotel in Mauritius.
Taukobong says she was founded Ditau Interiors in 1999 after a three year contract on a nine-to-five job ended.
“I was pursuing more the sense of freedom than the courage of starting and running a business.”
She says the decision to go alone was the best she had taken but the problem was she had no clients. However, she says she was determined to make a success of the business.
The challenges she faced forced her to focus more and soldier on in her chosen path of entrepreneurship. She says when the business was not making money, she panicked and ventured into the retail space which failed dismally.
She describes her failure as a sobering experience.
“I was driven by my ego. I did not have enough retail knowledge to keep the doors open for long,” she says. “I had the money, and I literally flushed it down the toilet with that short sighted business move.”
Taukobong says that the collapse of the business made her understand keeping her eye on one operation and make that work.
That is what has made Ditau Interiors to thrive in its space, especially in the luxury residential space.
“I have been through enough business challenges in the 23 years of my career to now know what works,” says Taukobong.
“At the core, I am a consultant and creative. I sell my creative intellect and that is what I get paid for. My business model now is to evolve and handle my design processes more online to reach a far wider global audience.”
Taukobong attributes her success to her parents, who she says created a home environment that allowed her to believe she could do whatever she loved and succeed at it.
“My parents gave us the tools to life and equipped us with the knowledge and understanding of how each tool would be applied,” she says. “It turns out that I have always been bold and assertive, going for what I wanted, and displaying immense bravery in the process.”
Taukobong says Ditau Interior has taught her that interior design is about a deeper purpose which she has come to understand instinctively.
“When I began my career as an Interior designer, I worked on the understanding that my job was to create beautiful interiors for high-end luxury clients. But 20 years later that has changed. At its core my business now is to help people live and experience spaces more comfortably in their chosen environment,” Taukobong says.
To remain focused on her unique path, she has vision boards all over her to remind her of her purpose in the business.
Taukobong says while women like herself are making it big in business, there is still a long way to go for South Africa.
“It’s not just rules and regulations that have to change, but the mindset of those we engage with and do business with that also has to be empowered and transformed for true change,” Taukobong says.
“Success to me is waking up and doing what I love, regardless if I fail or succeed. The rest is a business journey that I am happy to walk.”
An avid read since she was 9 years old. “I am reading Mystery of The White Lions – Children Of The Sun God by Linda Tucker with deep and cultural insight from Credo Mutwa,” says Taukobong.