Every so often you hear the inspirational story of someone who makes you stop and marvel. Many of us harbour an ambition that’s close to our heart, but never get round to achieving that dream and the reasons for that could be completely valid.
Self-doubt, lack of confidence or funding can all seem like insurmountable obstacles, but 29-year old Medina King-Sam used all of these hurdles as stepping stones to realising her long-time aspiration of being her own boss. Today, she is the CEO of MK Kids Interiors: www.mkkidsinteriors.com: which creates personalised, colourful and fun bedrooms and playrooms for children. She also runs two further businesses, Felt Goodness – handmade nursery décor such as felt garlands, mobiles, rugs or storage baskets and Nesting Properties a design, build and property maintenance company for residential and commercial properties.
But she wasn’t always a highflying success. Medina, who grew up in Hackney, London, felt she had hit rock bottom, career wise, before she had her lightbulb moment to create her own destiny.
“My dream had always been to own a business. I initially thought it would be a restaurant business as I love food and you’re almost guaranteed to make money with food. The plan was to work for a design company after leaving university, and then open a restaurant, employ people to run it, and continue with my first love, design interiors. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to manage a restaurant. It was hard work, but rewarding to see it progress. I loved being my own boss, making decisions and having freedom to be creative. However due to a dispute between the owners, the restaurant was closed down. I started job hunting for interior design jobs but I was constantly rejected. The final interview that I went for saw me being introduced to the business owners dog! I felt so humiliated and deflated. I decided there and then not to apply for any more design jobs, but to make my business happen.”
It was by no means plain sailing after that. Channelling her fighting spirit, perhaps a legacy from her maternal ancestors; “My grandmother’s mother was a Maroon descendent (Africans who escaped slavery in Jamaica).” Medina rolled up her sleeves and started her business planning for MK Kids Interiors. She financed her business by working part time in a furniture store, and a hostel doing night shifts. It was a tough time, what got her through? “Determination or ‘my stubborn ways’ as my husband would say [she chuckles]. Probably also my desire to be creative and not afraid to take risks. I am happy to take chances; I think that’s the only way you can succeed.”
Medina has paid for her success with hard work and determination. A qualified Interior Designer with more than seven years of experience in the profession, she now has an enviable client base of successful professionals across London and Surrey. She is deservedly proud of what she has achieved. “I love seeing my feltball garlands hung in nurseries all over the world. I am also proud to be designing children’s rooms for high profile and high net worth individuals, with a business that I started from home with no word of mouth referrals or big investment.”
The age old struggle of juggling family and business is a familiar refrain among female entrepreneurs. How did she cope?: “I worked late nights at times to get orders packaged. My lovely cousin was always there to help with making and packaging garlands. My family also helped out with my daughter. I try to do bulk cooking, which lasts for a few days. But honestly, some things get left because I just can’t do everything. And that’s okay.”
Medina also credits the sisterhood and support of other women, mothers from all over the world, who were also making their own journey with helping her along her journey.
“While I was nursing. I discovered the brilliant Business Mums podcast, it’s basically a podcast that interviews ‘work at home mums’, who share how they balance a business and manage the home. Since then I’ve discovered many other fantastic podcasts such as Mums with Hustle, Etsy Conversations, and The Chaise Lounge. The stories of all these amazing people really encouraged and inspired me to keep going!”
We asked Medina to share her greatest challenge with readers who are embarking on their own entrepreneurial journey, and she said:
“Without a doubt it has been continually pushing for something that I couldn’t see or feel, even when the people around me thought I was wasting my time. But today I can look back and say that I established a business from nothing; no funds, no investment, no referrals but just the grace of God.”
So there you go. Keep striving, maintain the passion and you will get there.