It is difficult to find many who find pleasure in what they have to call a job but after spending few minutes with Mary Uwazota, it will be hard to conclude anything else but that she derives joy from her craft.
Uwazota runs Sazota, a firm which offers high design, premium quality and practical value finishing solutions — in flooring and wall designs.
Having offered finishing solutions to homes, companies, churches, hospitals, hotels, among others – Uwazota has become a highly demanded creative fixer, the first of her name.
In this chat with TheCable Lifestyle, Uwazota speaks about what she does with an infectious charm and an unmissable passion.
Are you an interior designer?
I am not an interior designer; I sell features, material features. Basically, I would like to say we provide solutions. I sell finishes or I provide solutions. I have never believed in titles because it doesn’t define me.
What’s the process for getting your work done?
People’s personalities determine the kind of interiors they choose. We do not just service homes; we do work in commercial spaces as well. Sometimes it depends on function because there are different products, there are products for offices, commercial spaces, and commercial spaces are wide. Sometimes you have hospitals schools, so materials we use vary depending on the place. We give people solutions that they haven’t even thought about.
Before I start any interior work, I always ask my clients what exactly they are using the place for, what their budget is. It will guide me by asking those questions. By doing that, it enables me to know how to restructure the place.
You sound like you really love what you do.
I enjoy meeting people, it doesn’t seem like so much work because I enjoy every bit of what I do. You get to work and you also get to know people.
If you were not doing this, what else will you be doing?
I love selling, right from the days of helping my mother sell in her house. My first job was selling, I sold and marketed services in health and people were like that is actually one of the toughest things to do. To me, it wasn’t work at all.
I was a staff at the company and it was just easy, I didn’t need to do anything extra. I have always sold. I was in employment for 10 years selling interiors, so I eventually decided to venture into this.
How long now?
I got into this officially last year, prior to then I was in employment for 10 years. I left the company in December 2015. I left because I realised it was time to leave.
How convinced were you to take that leap?
I was convinced. It was my client at my former workplace that encouraged me. I didn’t have so much money to start. I was just convinced.
Share the experiences you have had with clients and in-house.
Managing a business in Nigeria is no child’s play. Making all the decisions without having anybody to pass it onto. Attitude to work is not the same, you have to be patient and build your workers to fit the way you want your business to be. It has helped me to learn how to be patient.
Dealing with fights hasn’t been so much of a challenge because of the inter personal relationships I build with my workers.
How do you conceptualise?
I do research. I have a wide array of products and I like working with architect because they have that inner eye. Sometimes it’s easier when you work with them. They ask what I want to do for a client and then I do my research.
Sometimes when I don’t know things, I call and I research. I try my best to consult as many people as possible, so that I can’t have different features for clients to pick from.
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