#MelaninMagic: Blaque Pearl Lifestyle talk interior design

Blaque Pearl Lifestyle, the brainchild of interior design duo Zimkita Sidumo and
Siyabesho Thutha, is combining lifestyle and design to create dream spaces with a

What inspired you to start Blaque Pearl Lifestyle?

ZS: My business partner, Siyabesho, and I decidedto study for a decorating diploma at
Inscape Design School to finally take our “hobby” seriously and turn into something real. We figured we had nothing to lose because, we were so passionate about interior décor and we were willing to invest to turn our passion into something tangible. During our course that we gained the confidence to start offering our expertise to potential clients.

Why did you give your business this particular name?

ZS: Because we’re black, and pearls are precious, classy, and resilient. The lifestyle part
is all-inclusive.

What makes Blaque Pearl distinct?

ZS: Blaque Pearl Lifestyle is a fully integrated interior décor and design company with a san offering that incorporates lifestyle into design. We provide bespoke design solutions for private, corporate, and commercial clients, both locally and internationally. We are fresh, dynamic, young black designers, and both of are from a financial background, so we are very prudent when working with clients’ budgets.

Where were you born and raised?

ZS: I was born in Mthatha and grew up in Welkom.
ST: I was born and grew up in Mthatha.

Why did you decide to go into interiors and décor?

ZS: We would spend our weekends lurking in décor stores and admiring beautiful
furniture and accessories that we dreamed we could afford, appreciating the different
styles and designs. We used this interest to advise our friends, and, after a multitude of rave reviews from our friends and family, we could no longer ignore our creative calling.

What did you study?

ZS: I studied a B.Comm in financial accounting at UCT, a diploma in investment
analysis and portfolio management at UJ and a certificate in interior decorating at Inscape Design School.
ST: I studied a B.Comm in accounting at UJ, with honours in corporate governance
research and tax, and a certificate in interior decorating at Inscape Design School.

What is your personal design aesthetic?

ZS: My personal design style is luxe contemporary Art Deco, with a pinch of transitional styling — I’m hard to please. Siyabesho is the eccentric one. We marry our different styles and bring our heads together so well that it creates a niche style for our clients.

What are the top skills needed to be an interior and décor designer?

ZS: As clichéd as it sounds, it’s creativity — being a colourful conceptualist of ideas and solutions. Follow your creativity with tenacity, add an eye for detail, and you’re good to go.

What are the highlights of working in your industry?
ZS: It’s definitely the connections you make, and not necessarily from a business-
transaction perspective only. You’re constantly learning and discovering new ways of
doing things, or finding secret antique basements.

How do you work with your clients to make their dream spaces a reality?

ZS: We do detailed client analysis with our specialist consultations, to ensure we
understand the client’s functional requirements, style, and spatial-planning needs.
Once we’ve established the client’s requirements, we begin conceptualising ideas and
designs. When those have been approved, we execute, and build, source, and create to
bring the idea to life.

How do you navigate being black in the interior-design and decorating industry?

ZS: It’s a hack when we’re bidding for corporate projects because we’re a small, young
company trying to compete with the larger, white, and more established interior design companies. On a positive note, I find that it makes interior design services more accessible to black folk, because we’re obviously relatable to them.

What are your top tips for creating the perfect space?

ZS: 1. Invest in good-quality basics, such as a bed, sofa, TV unit, and so on. If furniture is solid to begin with, it will last, and it’s easier to revamp it. I’ve had the same sofa for
years: I just reupholstered, it and it looks new again.
2. Keep your larger furniture pieces, such your sofa, neutral in colour.
3. Use the same or similar type and colour wood for furniture in the same space: it looks more purposeful and thought out.
3. Add pops of colour with accessories such as cushions, throws, and vases.
4. Use the 60:30:10 colour ratio. Choose three colours — a main colour, a secondary colour and an accent colour — and use them in that ratio.

What advice can you give to aspiring interior and décor designers?

ZS: Get into interior design and décor with your heart and spirit, because it is your
passion. All the hard work that you pour into that passion will show in your results. Do it and go for it! Study, put yourself out there, and speak about your brand to anyone who’s willing to listen.