The young, fluid and dynamic Kojabu team have been challenging the established order in Cape Town's interior design industry for the past four years. A competitive industry. A cutthroat industry. An industry where relinquishing an inch costs you a yard.
Style and vision. Commitment and communication. Purpose and promise. These qualities must all be present, and more. Jacob Crafford-Burger, founder of Kojabu, has them dripping off of him.
"I've always loved all things design. Art, textures, fabrics, all of it," exclaims Jacob. "From the beginning, I knew I belonged in this industry. It's my realm."
Don't be fooled by the fact that Kojabu has only been active for four years. It's been in the pipeline far longer than that.
"I worked at Woolworths as a designer for a while, and that was a while ago. It doesn't feel as long ago as it is," Jacob muses. "But the goal was always to have my own business. To be my own boss. Following someone else's instructions was always the means to an end of my own making. I'm there now and it feels good.
I also have a far greater appreciation for the work that goes into making the IC | IC Cape Town's finest serviced office space."
Forging your own path is not without its challenges.
"The responsibility and pressure is immense. You live and die by your own decisions and actions. With that comes freedom, but you have to stay disciplined. If I'm not back from gym by 08:00, I get stressed because it's time to work."
Working out regularly is a critical component of Jacob's routine. "It's part of my lifestyle balance. It keeps me in check. Being physically healthy sends a message to my clients. I'm telling them that I take care of myself. Subconsciously, it follows that I can take care of them."
That's good and well, but physical fitness isn't going to make clients happy. How does Jacob differentiate his brand from endless competition?
"It has a lot to do with my process," he explains. "I listen to the client. I spend time with them in the space. I try my best to understand them and their needs. A client with young children requires a different approach than a bachelor. An office requires a different touch to a bedroom. Fashion must meet function. Pretty must meet purpose."
What about those pesky people that reckon they know more about interior design than the professional they've hired to do the job?
"They live in the house at the end of the day, so they need to be happy. Most people are quite reasonable. That's why they've sought help in the first place. You do get difficult clients, but that's life. Each challenge is a lesson and each lesson improves you, if you're motivated to learn."
Wise words. Speaking of…
"Word of mouth is critical in this field. You live and die by what people say. People have friends and family. Do a good job and their circle is lining up to work with you. Perform poorly and you alienate yourself from that group."
We'll provide you with an update of Jacob's endeavours in due course. Until then, adieu.