KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
AS A young girl Keziah Mumba- Mukena always wanted to look beautiful and be surrounded by beautiful things. She recalls how she always wanted to make alterations on her dresses so that they met her style.
â€œFrom a young age, I always wanted to be creative with fashion and the things I wore. I remember my parents would buy us dresses and everybody would be content but I always modified the dresses,â€ she says.
It was presumed that Mrs Mukena would end up becoming a fashion designer but she grew up in an era when fashion designing was not considered a career. Societal beliefs hindered her from pursuing her passion in preference to a white-collar job.
However, as she grew older, she developed a fascination towards fashion, interior designing and dÃ©cor with beautiful curtains being her favourite accessory in a home.
Despite being an Evelyn Hone College-trained journalist, Mrs Mukena opted to work in customer service and corporate communications departments for a blue chip company between 2002 and 2011.
A degree holder in communication management from Edith Cowan University, Mrs Mukena used her spare time to beautify her house until one day she decided to quit her job in the corporate world to pursue her passion for interior design and dÃ©cor.
Armed with a passion for interior dÃ©cor and experience in customer service and public relations, Mrs Mukena formed Fabulous Lifestyle Limited in 2015, a company that specialises in custom-made curtains, blinds, wallpaper, rugs, beds and headboards.
â€œI did not start Fabulous Lifestyle Limited immediately, I first joined my husband, who is in the construction industry, and it was there where my talent developed as I had flexible hours,â€ she says.
Prior to establishing Fabulous Lifestyle Limited, Mrs Mukena opened a Facebook page under the name â€˜colour me fabâ€™, the objective of which was to conduct image consultancy by providing tips on personal grooming and style for job interviews and other special events.
However, when she went to the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) to register it as a business, she hit a snag when she was told that she had to find a better name.
â€œI was told I could not register a business with such a name and had to re-organise my thoughts and ideas. Eventually, I came up with Fabulous Lifestyle Limited, which specialises in custom-made curtains, blinds, wallpaper, rugs, beds and headboards,â€ she says.
With the booming housing industry, she is upbeat that the company, which started operating this year, will reach greater heights as more people are eager to live in beautiful homes with customised dÃ©cor.
Mrs Mukena, a wife and a mother of three, who is also passionate about flowers, believes that a home should be a complete package, with beautiful dÃ©cor such as curtains and other accessories and a beautiful landscape.
â€œI love to â€˜dress windowsâ€™, I cannot stand seeing curtains sagging that is why I want to dress peopleâ€™s windows with beautiful curtains and make their homes fabulous,â€ she says.
She currently imports curtains, blinds and fabric from South Africa. The curtains are made according to customersâ€™ specifications.
For her, meeting customers needs remains key in the success of any business because it is through quality service delivery that a business is able to maintain old customers and attract new ones.
Mrs Mukena has so far employed three workers with plans to increase the workforce as the business grows.
Plans are also under way to engage local tailors to make the curtains as she aspires to empower local entrepreneurs.
She is also in the process of engaging local carpenters who will make beds and headboards.
During her spare time, Mrs Mukena loves to travel both locally and abroad and being around nature saying being around water, beautiful plants calms her.
She believes that people need to follow their passion if they are to live their dreams.
â€œIf passion is strong, go for it because it is yours. It is the only way you will be able to live your dreams,â€ she says.
Mrs Mukena is also happy that a lot of women are now following their passion and are contributing greatly to their communities. She said this motivates her to even work harder so that she can be part of a group of women contributing to the well-being of their families and the nation as a whole.
KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka