Interview with interior Medina King-Sam

Read how enforced bed rest led to Medina King-Sam learning AutoCad, and launching her own children’s interior design business MK Kids Interiors.

What’s your career background?

I studied Interior Design at UAL but have worked in retail, hospitality and the public sector.

How did your career change after having children?

I became more hungry for success in my business as I saw the importance of being able to raise my child and instill the values I hold. I always wanted to have the flexibility to work around my children.

Trethowans

I never liked the idea of being completely drained working for someone else and not being able to spend quality time with my child, so I told my husband that once I got pregnant, I wasn’t going back to work.

Unintentionally I didn’t go back to work, I was put on bed rest. In that time I took on two freelance projects which forced me to learn AutoCAD.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Ever since I was 13, I wanted to become an interior designer, so I studied towards it. When I completed my degree in Interior Design, I tried to find a job in the field of interior design and it became clear to me that if I wanted to succeed in the industry, I would have to make a way for myself.

Interior design companies in England are made up of mostly white middle aged women or gay men. I didn’t fit that description. I was told that my portfolio was amazing but never got the job. The more I got rejected the more it drove me to start my own company.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

I was hungry, and desperate until it showed. While working in retail I always found a way to speak to customers about interior design.

I would offer a free consultation. I posted on pages where mums gossiped and I also did rooms for free in order to build my portfolio. I blogged to increase my visibility online, until some one saw me, my business grew from there. Now most of my clients find me through Google.

What’s your USP?

MK Kids Interiors is interior design for children. As I also have experience and a soft spot for working with children on the autistic spectrum. Nesting Properties is a one stop shop for your property maintenance needs.

Who’s your target audience? MK Kids Interiors target audience are middle aged mothers with a reasonable disposable income. Nesting Properties’ target audience is home and business owners.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

I use Facebook, and instagram. I blog, and I attend fetes and markets.

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

Blogging has worked wonders for me. It has ranked me pretty high on google. I blog about children’s interiors, rooms that I have designed and products.

I’m also active on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve realised that I could use my Facebook page to market my business and I think it helped boost sales over the Christmas period.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

The fear of rejection. My first job after school was telesales. I would call people in the evenings after 6pm to sell them kitchens. Obviously at that time people were generally busy with their families and didn’t want to discuss a kitchen at that time, so almost all the calls ended with someone hanging up the phone or yelling at me.

That scared me for years, making it difficult for me to call people. I’ve realised that it’s essential to speak with people over the phone if I want to build their trust and win contracts. And I would much rather call someone to explain something that to spend time writing an email.

And your proudest moment so far?

Working for high profile clients. I think to myself: “I have done this without the help of another firm or referrals.”

Why is work so important to you?

I love what I do, interior design gives me joy and a sense of peace, (when the project is complete) Work allows me to be expressive, and that is extremely important for my creative mind.

Who inspires you?

God, sometimes I have ideas and I can only give credit to God for them. Nature has a lot to do with how I combine colours and textures.

My husband is extremely persistent (a quality which I admire). I’ve learnt to adopt his persistence to get what I want. If I didn’t I would still be an employee in a job I had no interest in.

How do you balance your business with your family?

It’s a struggle! I’m still learning. I do most of my work at night after baby has gone to sleep. My family helps with child care. I spend time with family and friends when I’m less busy.

What’s your advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

It’s very simple:

  • Know what kind of interiors you would like to do (residential, commercial or hospitality).
  • Stay focused and work on building your portfolio and blogging.

You can find out more about MK Kids Interiors on their website