Lungile Nkosi is the entrepreneur behind The Pillow Fluffer Interiors, a black female-owned full interior design services company and content platform. She has over eight years of experience in the industry which she's shared through platforms including Elle Decoration SA and SA Home Owner magazine.
Lungile Nkosi, owner, The Pillow Fluffer Interiors
Her love and flair for bringing dull, empty spaces to life stems from a rich history of artistic influence from sources including her family and the broader creative industry. Nkosi shares with us a bit about her background, her journey so far with The Pillow Fluffer, and her message of encouragement this Women's Month.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself - your background?
Lungile Nkosi: I come from a big, loud, expressive and colourful family. My upbringing was always full of people, most being family members from everywhere and others family friends who became as close as family. My home, I would describe as an entertainer’s home. My family loves to entertain, so good food, good music and lots of laughter is basically my foundation.
My grandfather, who was the absolute love of my life, was a music producer as well as an art lover and very passionate about our heritage and culture, not to mention people. My grandmother, judging from her beautiful collection of furniture, cutlery, crockery and glassware was a fancy lady. A woman of style. Most people inherited clothing from their grandparents. I inherited furniture. Talk about the stars aligning... *lol*.
My mom, who is a single parent, is honestly one of the sweetest, most thoughtful and truly hilarious people I know. She puts her heart in everything she does and has a very strong work ethic. Her impeccable organisational skills and love for beautiful things landed her in the eventing industry. So I basically come from a bubbling pot of creatives with a love for beautiful things and beautiful people. I believe I am a lovely mix of all these people.
Tell us about your journey so far with The Pillow Fluffer.
Nkosi: The Pillow Fluffer has been rewarding as much as it has been challenging. The Pillow Fluffer is a true reflection of faith, passion and perseverance. My brand has been received so well by the industry and interior enthusiasts, and for that I am really humbled. But running a business is hard. Remaining motivated during the hard times and days when you are just emotionally exhausted is tough. It is really a beautiful thing to work on something you love so much and watch it grow.
This journey with my brand is emotional. She is my baby. Her wins bring me so much joy and fulfilment and her not-so-great days take a knock at me. Overall, my journey with The Pillow Fluffer has been beautiful. I am in awe at how many lives my baby has touched, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else but right here building this brand one day at a time.
Describe what a typical work day looks like for you?
Nkosi: I am a morning person so on most days I wake up at around 4.30am, take time to pray, journal and meditate, then try squeeze in a morning run where I literally plan my day and movements. I then jump into the shower, then have my breakfast, check my mails and create some social media content, then spend the rest of the day planning how to make the rest of my business aspirations come true through strategising.
I am also a mom to a very busy baby girl, so on other days, she really determines how my day starts. Some days we take it slow and spend some time bonding, then I get started with my day around midday.
Nkosi: I have so many. The truth is I draw a lot of inspiration from the women in my life. My mom is my greatest source of inspiration - she is so gracious and approaches all situations with a full and giving heart. My sister, who is also my manager, is super hyped about everything so, a lot like my mother, she does things with a full and open heart, but don’t be fooled she is also super hardcore. Her no’s are no’s and her yeses are yeses. I admire that a lot. It shows stability.
My aunt Pula and cousin Didi are so balanced. I really draw so much inspiration from how seriously they take their health, and their ability to be so supportive and present for the people in their lives. They are so consistent in everything they do and do it with absolute precision. I love that so much.
My grandmother Boli was also the first woman I remember taking up space in male-dominated industries while in six-inch heels. She was my first example of being a powerhouse and not compromising who you are and what you believe while doing it.
As a businesswoman, how do you keep a work-life balance?
Nkosi: What’s that? Honestly, I am still trying to find a balance. The people in my life would probably describe me as an extremist. I push myself to exhaustion on most days and fear that rest will result in a delay of my dreams until I crash. So I am still working on that work-life balance for myself, my daughter and those around me. It is necessary.
How can government help promote female entrepreneurship in SA?
Nkosi: Firstly, can we put more women in decision-making positions within government? We cannot expect men to fully support us because they really don’t fully understand how we operate as women, never mind as female entrepreneurs. Putting more women in executive positions will completely change the lives of female entrepreneurs. Women are communal. The upliftment of women in government, I believe, will have a domino effect on women in business. We know how to uplift each other, so move over and let us. The future of the economy lies in the hands of women.
As we celebrate Women's Month in South Africa, do you have any words of encouragement for others?
Nkosi: There is so much strength that lies in us supporting one another. We know how to stand together in tragedy, it is time for us to stand together in triumph. A win for one is literally a win for all, so collaborate with one another. We have enough knowledge, strength, talent and charisma amongst ourselves. It is time that we combine our brilliance. Generations to come are dependent on our unity.
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