This is Women in Business by Maudhui House and we go beyond newsroom to bring you interesting perspectives of women in the industry. What they’ve been through their own experiences and the lessons we can pick up from them.
Today we have Tracy Wairimu an entrepreneur who specializes on interior deco for AirBnB and runs her own units under the brand Polea Hapa.
Tell us a little more about your work?
I furnish Airbnb‘s in normal apartments and I am also into Airbnb business, if you want to start an Airbnb business, you can talk to me.
Oh nice, you consult as well, so mostly your business is real estate and interior design. So is this something that she studied for in school?
I did not study interior designer. It was an artistic way of living. I actually did communications in school but after one month of internship, I was like this is not for me. Because I was following a system and I don’t like following systems when it is not bringing the artistic side of me.
I also felt I was not helping anyone, but with this furnishing thing, the house hunting for people brings out the artistic side of me and I help people and I’m happy when I help people.
You told me your AirBnBs are called Polea Hapa, that is a very interesting name, how di you come up with it?
Well number one it was a Swahili name and we are we are African so I normally find places named in Spanish names but we actually in Kenya, so why don’t we give the place a Kenyan name. So Polea is like relax, Polea Hapa, you can leave your worries aside and just come and relax.
Besides bring out your artistic side, you mentioned that one of the things that made you go into real estate in Airbnb was your own experience yes?
I am somebody who likes to travel so when you’re traveling a lot, I don’t like staying in hotels. With Airbnb you can cook for yourself you can check out your own time.
But some of the AirBnBs have really disappointed me and I was like why can’t I do something different and my guest will experience something incredible.
So I started my own, including this one in Ngong, called Polea AirBnB and got min in place. Then I thought why cant I also help other People.
So that is when I come in when you want to start your Airbnb I help you with furnishing because remember the colors have to match if you are you using earthy colours like brown white cream, you can chose white and blue, blue and something else that go, or rhyme together like black and white.
So the colours have to coordinate because remember your guests are not clowns.
Do you think that being a woman has helped you in this industry in the creativeness and even the color coordination?
Absolutely, being a woman helps you think in a creative way, we are nurturing and we love order we place things in order we know how to arrange things you know we think outside the box so it really helps.
We’ve had so many crazy stories about the Airbnb. I remember one of the ones I herd trending a while back that some guests were booking AirBnBs so they can just boil their beans?
Imagine! And you can see the effect it has on the host.
Yes I have seen you have been forced to make adjustments in your own Air BnB that I noticed, you had to place some items.
Yeah with some glue, those decorations, yes, because there are thieves. Yes there are people who will come and see this as a souvenir, so you have to make adjustments.
As a woman in the industry have you even felt sidelined or treated differently just because you are a woman?
Yeah it happens. It happens a lot especially house-hunting business, with men, they look at you like, do you really understand what I am saying.
So I really want to convince them, you want a house with a balcony, parking.
Some of the challenges?
Some people are not serious I had this client in Juja, you know when I am furnishing for you there are these stages, there is that consultation stage, then there is that stage where I come and review your place.
And this guy was not serous and I did not know the motive, so we drove and drove into interior and the minute he realized I was with somebody else he made up and excuse, the keys are lost
I kept on telling him with Airbnb, it has to be closer to the road but he kept insisting and I didn’t feel safe.
That’s a scary thought it is very important that even as you consult you go with someone else?
Yes for your safety
Watch full interview in video