It is often said that when you follow your passion, you will never have to work one day in your life. Such is the story of Ms. Gail Fajembola a phenomenal Interior Decorator. She is beautiful, smart and hospitable. Happenings Magazine correspondents, Odunayo Adeneye and Kikelomo Onigbanjo were let into her world, her passion and business:
Happenings Magazine: personal Details:
Gail: My name is Gail Fajembola. I am the MMD/CEO of Cynosure. Cynosure is an interior decoration firm. I have a Masters degree in Communication Arts from University of Ibadan and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from University of Maiduguri. Though I am not doing anything related to what I studied. I am following my passion. This is what I enjoy doing. I am a single mum to a baby girl.
Happenings Magazine: Why Interior decoration?
Gail: I was what you call ‘a lazy student’, I chose English Literature because it was something that came naturally to me. I did not want to stress myself, I wanted to do law, but I saw that Law involved a lot of reading. Communication Arts came naturally to me. I really disliked Mathematics so I could not study a course in any field relating to that. Interior Decoration has always been my passion. People discovered their passion in their young age, but I finally knew it was interior decoration when I was quite old. When I was growing up, I knew I had a flair for housekeeping and combining colours and patterns. My late father even pointed that out one day that I was scrubbing the carpet. When I relocated to Lagos from London someone came to my home and asked me who did my home? I told the person I did. The person was the one that advertised me and I picked it up from there.
Happenings Magazine: How did Cynosure start?
Gail: I started by doing jobs for people and I was quite good at it. But I always had to go and purchase from other interior decor shops. I have always had a dream to have my own store and I had a small store where I was selling stationery. My friends advised me to convert my stationery shop to an interior decor shop but it was too small. The dream I had for the type of shop I wanted was big. Even this location is God-sent. It was like a dream come true. When I got this store my goods were not even ready. And there was a store here. But I held on and here we are. Cynosure sells some world-standard, one-in-a-kind luxury items and it’s not for everybody. This is because they are expensive and classy. We created an atmosphere befitting the luxury items we are selling.
Happenings Magazine: Did you design these items yourself?
Gail: No. I represent a company called Christopher Guy. He is an English man who trained in Italy and lived in Spain and New York. He now lives in Singapore. Christopher Guy is a person that wants to be seen as an internationally known designer. A lot of these materials are hand-made. There are videos here showing that. I also must add that Christopher Guy furniture is transitional somewhere between traditional and contemporary.
Happenings Magazine: Since you started business, how has it been?
Gail: This business is going to be a year next month. Like I said before, what we sell here are high end materials. They are expensive. I am not being a snob when I say that they are not for everybody. They are used to decorate the Vatican in Rome. Business hasn’t been as great as I wanted it to be. This is because of the situation in the country. But people who can still afford it come here and we deliver. I do the drawings and show them what to expect. It’s been quite fulfilling.
Happenings Magazine: What are the requirements to be a successful interior decorator?
Gail: You have to have fabulous taste. You have to travel wide. You can’t be stagnant in one place and expect a different result. Travelling will open your eyes to different things and imaginations. Know your client. Have a vivid imagination. Be creative. Always be ready to take risks like I did. Stay focused. Keep an open mind. People study this course but it comes naturally to me. I could have studied a course in Interior Decoration but I did not. I have professionals here though. I have employed a skilled interior decorator, I also have an architect.
Happenings Magazine: Any plans to expand?
Gail: Yes, I am planning to expand. We do not have a factory here in Nigeria yet; we can do that. Also I love using made in Nigeria products. There is nothing bad in made in Nigeria products, so I am looking to start producing our own locally made products.
Happenings Magazine: How do you combine work and family?
Gail: Well, I am single but I have a daughter, and she is eighteen months. She is starting play group next month. I have a big enough store for her to roam around and play (general laughter) and I have a good nanny who takes care of her. It’s quite easy.
Happenings Magazine: Word for the youths
Gail: There is no fast way to life. Take each day as it comes. Keep good friends and stay focused to achieve the best.
Happenings Magazine: How do you unwind?
Gail: I unwind with friends. I like people to come to my home. I don’t go out much, but I like people who went out to clubs or parties to come over to my place and tell me how it went (general laughter). We do this over wine and food. I have a good cook. I also like my Yoruba movies a lot (general laughter)
Happenings Magazine: Thank you very much ma
Gail: You are welcome