Joseph Erughe’s Inspiring Journey in Interior Decor – 25under25 Award Winner 2022

25under25 Award Winner 2022 Spotlight for a Campaign titled Dreamers to Doers
  • Congratulations on winning the 25under25 Awards in the Environment & Interior Decor category! Can you share with us a bit about your journey and what inspired you to pursue this field?

Yes, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the organizers of the 25 Under 25 Awards. The recognition greatly boosted my confidence as a businessperson and provided me the opportunity to meet other young individuals who are also achieving remarkable things. It has been and continues to be a wonderful experience.

To address your question about my early interests, as a child, I simply enjoyed rearranging spaces with whatever was available at the time. I wasn’t doing much, but I wanted to create something unusual in our home. Whether it was moving a couch, I aimed to see it in a different light. My love for this grew as I watched TV shows about interior designers transforming homes, from demolishing walls to making various improvements. Although I wasn’t sure of my future path, my interest deepened over time. When the chance to learn a skill arose, interior design immediately came to mind, and I pursued that path. That’s essentially how it all started.

  • SME100 Africa is a platform that recognizes young entrepreneurs. How has winning this award impacted your career and your vision for your business’s future?

Winning an award like this, amidst such a diverse and competitive group from across Nigeria, has been an amazing experience. Over time, observing the achievements of past winners has been both inspiring and challenging. It’s truly a unique opportunity. One aspect I particularly value is the chance to meet and connect with others, though I wish the award facilitated more collegiate interactions. However, I have still been able to meet many incredible individuals in the community I now belong to after receiving the award.

I must say, the experience has been tremendously positive so far. Receiving this award instills a kind of confidence in your business practices; you begin to see yourself as an award winner, a title that carries significant weight and expectations. Being an award winner means there’s a lot expected of you, and you feel compelled to meet these expectations. You can’t simply claim the title without striving to maintain the standards it demands. So, it is both a privilege and, let’s say, a hefty responsibility to be given this award. It constantly pushes you to stay on the edge of your seat, ensuring you meet the high standards expected of you.

  • Your work seems to intertwine environmental consciousness with interior design. Could you elaborate on how you integrate sustainability into your projects and the importance of this approach in today’s world?

Yes, my work has allowed me to promote environmental consciousness. I’m continually learning and discovering new ways to create spaces that are eco-friendly and sustainably designed. One key practice in our work environment is the use of sustainable materials, such as wood and sometimes metal, which can be repurposed into other items if necessary. This approach is crucial for us because we aim to reduce the world’s reliance on producing goods that quickly turn into waste. I believe in fostering productivity in every aspect, and the concept of a sustainable or circular environment supports this.

Interior design is a powerful tool through which I can influence the world from my corner and help reduce waste. I’m particularly passionate about incorporating plants into my clients’ spaces to enhance the green environment. Essentially, sustainability is woven into the fabric of our business. It doesn’t feel like a challenge; rather, it’s an integral part of our approach, allowing us to contribute to sustainability in every space we design.

  • In what ways do your designs positively impact the aesthetics of interior spaces and the environment?

Our designs positively impact our clients’ environments because we prioritize their well-being just as much as the functionality and aesthetics of the space. We carefully consider our clients’ desires, fears, and aspirations in our designs, using these as key points in crafting each space. This approach allows us to analyze what will work best in a given area. For instance, if a client wants to create a home office to save costs, we extensively consider the best solutions for their needs. We think about the necessary colors that stimulate activity, the appropriate lighting features, and the optimal organization and layout for their workspace. All these considerations are factored in while serving the client, providing them with a holistic concept that not only makes them more productive and efficient but also proud of their environment.

  • What made your projects stand out and deserving of recognition?

Yes, the competition was tough, but having a strong support base of people who believed in us truly made a difference. I think one of the major factors that made us stand out was our commitment to our vision, which involves creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces in homes and offices. We focus on using materials that are readily available in our environment and can promote sustainability. This vision is something we hold dearly, and even at that time, everyone familiar with our brand knew that we were dedicated to pursuing this focus. This commitment, I believe, was key in helping us stand out among the many talented nominees for the award.

  • Collaboration often plays an essential role in creative work. Could you share any partnerships or collaborations that have helped you succeed?

Certainly. Recently, I collaborated with the founder of Mindshift consultancy, Mr John Iyoha, and the founder of Ri planet & solution Mr Raphael Itoya, for one of my training programs. They helped train individuals who registered for my course, “The Business of Interior Design.” It was a successful collaboration that provided everything one would need to become an interior designer. I would say this project collaboration has been very prominent for me, and I am always in favor of collaboration, especially when it benefits the client by giving added value.

  • What obstacles have you faced as a young entrepreneur, and how have you overcome them?

Yes, in my view, being a young entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily present unique challenges; I believe everyone faces similar hurdles, regardless of age. As an entrepreneur, the responsibility ultimately falls on you, testing your leadership skills, sales abilities, and overall competence. Like everyone else, I’ve encountered these challenges, and they have been instrumental in my growth and development. Progressing from one stage to another, I’ve prioritized acquiring knowledge, which I consider paramount. The right knowledge is crucial, it’s everything, and it’s what helps you navigate these challenges. So far, my experience has mirrored that of many others.

  • What advice would you give to young professionals who want to make a difference in environmental design and interior decor?

As an interior designer in Nigeria, there are specific challenges that everyone in the industry faces. One major issue is finding jobs that allow you to fully express your creativity. Often, we find ourselves having to adhere to a specific pattern dictated by the client’s preferences. This is a common frustration, and I frequently discuss it with newcomers to the industry or those who view me as a mentor. My advice to them is consistent: keep pushing forward. Continue learning and take lessons from the mistakes of others so you don’t have to make them yourself.
For instance, if you start your career specializing in painting, stick with it and strive to improve. The opportunities will eventually broaden, allowing you to demonstrate your full capabilities. It’s crucial to be prepared for these opportunities because failing to meet expectations when they arise can harm your reputation. Instead, aim to exceed your client’s expectations and leave them amazed at the value you deliver.

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