I Am Creative With Titi Fowora
I am a die-hard fan of humility and intelligence and having these traits in one person will always impress me. I met Titi few years ago and the first thing that caught my eye was her smile and humility and when we finally got to talking I knew I must make more time to converse with her and share her wealth of knowledge with people. Most importantly considering she just launched an interior design Reality TV project called Interior by Designs.
I apologize for my absence from this page, truth is ko easy to live in Lagos and run a business when economic factors beyond a man’s control hits you hard but in the midst of it all I found my way to Titi’s studio somewhere on the mainland after squeezing into her busy schedule.
So I quickly settled in to get things rolling before her next meeting. She introduces herself.
“My name is Titi Fowora. I am an interior designer and Principal interior designer at Inu Designs. Inu is an interior design consultancy, we sell our services, skills and creativity. We don’t sell furniture or any physical products but we sell ideas and I always say without ideas, nothing happens.”
She coos on.
“I studied Economics at the University of Kent at Cantenbury as my first degree and I went into tax consulting. My parents are accountants so I am a numbers person. Numbers for me are straight forward, a number is always a number, you add them up, they don’t change, it’s very clear what you get, you make a mistake, you go back and a number is always a number. I practiced as a tax consultant in the U.K with a good firm, which was one of the top 10 in the world. The money was good, the career path was clear, I was working in central London, some of our clients were famous British people and we handled their accounts. One day I woke up and decided, if I don’t stop now, this was going to be my life. I resigned on a Friday and enrolled in a design course on a Monday and it was the best decision, apart from marrying my husband that I have ever made.”
Explaining her venture into school again, she explains.
“Unfortunately I never started out studying anything creative. As I went to design school, someone said “if you are going to do this, find the best school you can go to.” I could afford it so I did a diploma in Interior design for a year. It was the hardest year of my life but yet the most enjoyable year I have spent doing anything. I told myself when I was in university that I was never stepping into school again but I was happy doing this, because I was learning something I was passionate about. I did not want to go into interior design as a hobby, I wanted to apply the necessary skills. I wanted to do it properly because I wanted it to become a business.”
The importance of knowledge being a creative.
“It’s important to arm yourself with the necessary skills if you want to go to the next level because everybody can have a passion for something but knowledge sets you apart. Every Creative field has its language, you must learn the language and be able to translate it, and you would be paid based on this translation.”
She goes on to expatiate on creative art.
“Every creative art is actually science you must know and understand the parameters, the dimensions, the depth sometimes you see it as space that must be filled. I have been an interior Designer for over 13 years and I learn every day. Design is Science, spaces has to be filled, people will live within this space, how do you make that space work for them? As a creative you must be willing to learn continuously. I read magazines, I read books on fashion, on photography, on shapes, on patterns even strategic behaviours.”
“Creativity is not like someone sprinkling dust and you are done, you have to be passionate, it’s the passion that keeps you going despite clients and economic situation. The passion would keep the smile on your face permanently. Marry passion with learning.”
Interior design as a creative field in Titi’s words.
“Interior designs as a creative field has its own growth challenges due to non-certified schools in Nigeria. The Interior Designers Association of Nigeria the foremost Interior design body in Nigeria which I happen to be on its Education committee is working on having a degree program in Interior Design run by one of Nigeria’s leading universities. We hope to get it across to the Senate, so hopefully in about a year we should have the first university running it as a Degree course in Nigeria. But for now studying Architecture, technical drawing, space planning and building blocks and other closely related courses would help people interested in the profession. If you can’t afford to go abroad it doesn’t stop you from succeeding. Take a closely related course, go online, there’s a lot of information about space planning, color theory, interior decorating which is an aspect of decorating, lighting, start learning the building blocks, investigate what makes one an interior designer. Learn the business aspect of it because that’s another thing creatives tend to ignore. Learn to properly present and market yourself, there is no point in having a brilliant idea with poor packaging, learn to develop your brand, find your unique selling point, every creative is a monopoly, define yourself and create a niche.”
Her advice to creatives.
“Write a business plan and act on it. I recently stumbled upon plans I wrote down 12 years ago and I have been able to actualize a lot of them. Make the most of your time. Develop your brand. Decide your own design language and start to communicate it. For anyone who’s already a success in other discipline and would want to be a Creative, success is success. It’s a currency and a lot of people don’t have that currency yet. No knowledge is lost every skill will become applicable somehow. You already have the basics that made you a success in your current field just bring that in and study more to be better. I still utilize some of the skills I learnt as a tax consultant to better my art as well as business. Don’t be limited by anything everything is possible as long as you are willing to take a step towards achieving it.”