This time the Education Ambassadors SA team caught up with Boitsheko Ganyane who is a founder and owner of Distinguished Living. Boitseko is a hardworking entrepreneur with great passion for interior design.
My name is Boitsheko Ganyane. I work at Hollard as a Strategy consultant and I have an interior design business which has recently started looking at property investment.
I was born in Pretoria and raised in Johannesburg. I have an undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Pretoria and an honours in Business Science from Wits.
What were the challenges and great things about growing up?
To be quite honest, I cannot think of anything that felt like a major challenge when I was growing up. I think that for the most part it was really good. What I do miss, however, is the innocence that comes with being a child. There was something really comforting about seeing the world from an untainted lense and don’t get me started on this business of paying bills hahahaha. If there is anything that I have really tried to keep it is my playful nature. There is always time to have a good laugh and a little fun.
Your career? What is it that you do? What inspired you to do what you do?
I started my career as a strategy consultant. It was always my idea of a dream job even though at the time it wasn’t a very popular career in South Africa. I was inspired by the types of skills learned in this field. I knew that they were be very good skills to have once I decided to start my business. On the other hand though I found that I also had a very big passion for interior design. So after a year or two in corporate I decided to start an interior design company called Distinguished Living. When I started it I always knew that it would be something I would like to grow and eventually do full time. However, I have found that the more time I spend exploring my own creative style and learning from others in the industry the idea of it being something I pursue in the long run will change. It is hard to ignore your love for something if you are in a space where you are constantly inspired by others and what they create.
What do you like most about yourself and the work that you do?
I think life has a really good way of teaching us things about ourselves, whether they are good or bad. I think the one thing I have learned about myself is that I am very determined. When I set my mind to something, there is nothing that can stop me from achieving it. That is not to say that I don’t experience setbacks, it just means that I am very cognisant of the fact that dreams and goals are never sold without obstacles. If you are aware of this then you will always realise that your obstacles are there to grow you and not break you. I found that consulting had the power to either break you or shape you. The greatest thing about it is that it forces one to decide if they are going to sink or swim and I think that is where I learned to stay resilient and focused on where and what I wanted to be.
What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
Balancing everything has definitely been difficult for me, the busier I get the harder it gets to juggle everything without dropping a ball. I have found though that time has done its magic and helped me to adjust and get used to the busyness. So I think it is still something I am trying to figure out but currently I have resolved to just keep putting in more time. I always tell people that I literally clock out of my day job at 5pm and clock into my business at 6pm every day. The weekends have also become my time to push Distinguished Living so there isn’t much time for anything else, but I don’t mind. I mean you can’t complain about having a lot on your plate if your goal was to eat.
What are some of your life highlights for you so far? What are you most proud of?
I have recently just managed to land my first big commercial project, which involves designing an office space for a can manufacturing company. This is a really big step for my business as it opens the doors to growing towards commercial interior and of course presents its own challenges and expectations so I am quite excited for the new level. I think also just finally being able to get into the property space, it has been a rocky journey but slowly it is coming together. For me it is a really big thing to have people asking me to share my story and what I think about certain things. It really is humbling.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to keep in mind to make it in your career or life in general?
As someone who strongly believes in God, I would be doing a great disservice not to mention him as one of the most important factors contributing to making it in one’s career or in life. Without going all “preachy” I must say there is a lot of power in putting God first in every area of your life. I think another very important factor is being willing to put in the work. A lot of us think that our dreams are just going to manifest themselves, but honestly being successful takes some serious work. So do yourself a favour and be humble enough to put in those hours. Lastly, I think we need to be willing to learn. There is always someone out there who has done something before, whether they were good or bad at it. Recognise that there are lessons to learn from both scenarios and that sometimes you don’t have to make mistakes to learn from them.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next three years?
In the next 3 years I will be successfully running my businesses full time. By then I expect to have a design studio that employs about 5-6 people. By then I should have developed a solid presence in both the residential and commercial markets in South Africa. With regards to property I am planning to have gotten a solid footing into the property development market. I want to have a few properties under my brand which we can continue to grow across the country over time.
If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be?
I think if I could take back all the days when I used to stress about the future and worry about whether I was good enough, I would. I do, however, think that it was a necessary process and lesson for me to go through. It has definitely taught me that I am worthy and that nothing great comes from trying to force things to happen.
Are there any specific people or organisations that you look up to and draw inspiration from and why?
I would definitely have to say that Pam Golding is one of my inspirations. I love that she didn’t just build a business, she built a brand that has carried on to become a household name in South Africa and other parts of the world. Like Pam, I too want to build a brand, something that will stand long after I am gone. As a design enthusiast, I draw a lot of influence from Kelly Wearstler. She has done a very good job in developing her very own signature style which goes a long way in separating her from the pack.
Are there any inspiring projects which you’re involved in?
Despite what I am doing in my business, nothing as yet. I would love to get involved in women empowerment projects. I think there is still a lot that we can learn from each other.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others out there looking to follow in your footsteps?
Trust your journey and believe that you will be great. If you can do that you are already half way to achieving your goals. Always be humble enough to put in the work and no matter how hectic things get never neglect to lend a hand, even if it is just to give someone advice because you don’t know how impactful your support is. Lastly, protect your dreams. Not everyone deserves to get a breakdown of your plans, it is a very personal journey so only share with those whom you can truly trust.
How can the public contact you?
Facebook: Boitsheko Ganyane
Website if available: https://dlivingza.co.za/