It was interesting to get to know how Suzana, an interior designer, turned her passion into a business and continues to juggle her family, demanding corporate job and Studio Eclectica.
Can you give us a brief description of your business and when it started?
I am an interior stylist and my work includes design consultation, furnishing selection and sourcing as well as installation and styling.
I found myself enjoying interior styling when I moved into our first house 16 years ago. I guess you could say that I found my passion then. Though the thought of starting a business did come up, it didn’t seem like the right time as I was just starting a family and had a full time day job in the corporate world (I still do). So interior styling became just one of those things I did when I felt like indulging myself – more of a personal project.
When a dear friend of mine moved to Malaysia, she insisted that I do the decor for the house that she was about to move into. Of course I jumped at the chance and that became the start of the journey of Studio Eclectica.
Turning Studio Eclectica into a business
What made you decide to turn your interest into a business?
I guess what really inspired me to start the business was when I realised how I could be of service to others whilst doing something that I love. Every time I present a complete styling job, I get to experience seeing the joy on people’s faces – that is just so rewarding. At the same time, I get to impart my design philosophies which I believe has made a difference in my own life:
- A beautiful home that reflects the unique you, nurtures the soul can be achieved with a small investment without breaking the bank
- What you love will never go out of style
- It is possible to merge the preferred styles of all the occupants in the house and it is important that everyone who lives in the house has his/her own sanctuary within it.
How do you balance your time between the other aspects of your life (i.e. being a mum) and being an entrepreneur
I am blessed that my family is fully supportive of what I do. In fact, my children sometimes help me out. With kids being so IT savvy these days and the fact that you can do anything with an app, I can rely on my 9 year old daughter – who seems to be showing an interest in design-to draw simple layout plans. And I have also been blessed to have clients that are very understanding of the fact that I do have a day job. I manage their expectations from the onset to ensure there is mutual understanding.
I must say what has helped is that I am clear on what my priorities are at any point in time. So there have been times when I have had to turn down jobs and there have been times when I had to defer family outings. My me-time is something that I don’t compromise on.
What challenges did face getting your business started?
People generally tend to think that in order to make a home beautiful, one needs to make big changes and that it will be a costly affair. So my job is to create the awareness that it doesn’t have to be the case and that small changes can make a huge difference. Typical homeowners would be for example:
- Those who do not want to undertake renovation or put built-in cabinetry in place but need some help to pull things together or wanted to select a few pieces of furniture.
- Those who were just overwhelmed by the many choices of furniture available in the market but can’t find the right piece for them in accordance to their budget or preference.
- Those who want to update their home with a limited budget.
- Those who have inherited furniture and don’t how to fit it into their homes.
What tips do you have for other hobbyists or creatives who are thinking about setting up their own business?
I believe that where I am right now is exactly where I should be. I am happy with what I have achieved, and am enjoying my path as it is unfolding and at the same time am eager to do more. Ultimately self-belief is very important and you must belief that everything will work out for you if you put your mind to it.