“The biggest lesson is to adapt, and to adapt fast.”
Zita Jesus is an entrepreneur, and the co-founder & creative director of Orange Peel Interior Designs. The young businesswoman grew up in Oshivelo, in the northern part of Namibia. She then moved from Oshivelo to Windhoek in 2013, to pursue her tertiary education.
Zita studied Communications & Marketing at the then Polytechnic of Namibia, now known as the Namibia University of Science Technology (NUST). Her first job was as a teacher at Uukumwe Combined School. She then went on to work in the Commercial Property Management industry for roughly four (4) years before she moved to Ohlthaver & List Group. There, Zita worked in Leisure as a Marketing Executive. She couldn’t stay there forever knowing her passion was calling and she now works as a full-time interior designer.”
Tell us more about Orange Peel Interior Designs, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).
“I founded Orange Peel Interior Designs in 2016. I have always been one to make my place beautiful; I always shopped according to themes but I didn’t know that what I was doing was actually interior design then, even less that I could make a living out of it.
I initially began working on the spaces of my friends and family. It took a lot of trial and error to find our niche, value proposition and our core services.
Doing this work from a place of passion, just for the love of it, allowed me to see a gap in the market and this has become a big part of why we do what we do. Making interior design accessible to the average Namibian. Hence our tagline – “Interior Design, Redefined.”
What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
“Finding a local mentor in the Namibian interior design space, that I could relate to, has been and still is a challenge. That’s definitely been a challenge entering a niche industry.
Right now, my mentors are all online: mainly Claire Jefford and Darren Palmer. My personal and business growth mentors are Joe Dispenza and Bob Proctor.”
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
“Start with your own space and google the rest.”
Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?
“I serve the average Namibian; they are my target market. With the average Namibian being my target market, I adopted the Chinese Pricing model. I just love the flexibility that it gives both me and my clients. The social, authentic business model is the heartbeat of Orange Peel and this has allowed me to share my world as is unfiltered and somehow doing just that didn’t require a well-defined marketing strategy. This has made us relatable and brought us a lot of business.”
What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?
Daring to be different;
One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in startups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?
“Any project we take on is personal, never transactional. This really drives our attitude towards the work and our clients. I’d say we get better with every project as we learn, fix and continue pushing.”
How do you see charity and nonprofit work overlapping with your business?
“We have already launched our signature community project, ‘Pimp My Shack’ last year in partnership with Pupkewitz Megabuild. This initiative is very close to my heart because it pays homage to my childhood and where I am from.”
What role does your startup play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“Inspiration. We really hope to motivate and mentor others to take the first step, just as we did.”
How significant is collaboration in the growth & scaling of a start-up?
“Collaboration is key to growing; we have had numerous partnerships with fellow start-ups like Greyco Architects, Newgen Media, Netreg Electical and many local craftsmen and women. They have all helped grow our business. My biggest collaboration to date has been the one with Pupkewitz Megabuild.”
In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID- 19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?
“For OPID, 2020 was the best year of growth. In fact, COVID-19 and its effects helped us birth new realities that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. However, the biggest lesson we learnt was to adapt, and to adapt fast.”
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