She heads into the showroom with a cup of tea and a morning snack to start her workday. She begins to check emails and schedules appointments. She later sets up display pieces, maps out a plan for the day and surfs interior design sites for the latest news and trends.
As clients begin to troop in for tours and consultations, she proceeds to presentations of quotations. There are 3D drawings, designs, and perspectives, showing a detailed and professional layout of how a project would look upon completion.
For new clients, she takes them on tours to showcase unique modern and contemporary designs. She always leaves her clients with a lasting wow experience from services rendered.
This is just a peek of the day in the life of Sophie Audu, an Interior Consultant for Nigeria’s leading construction company: Julius Berger.
As glamorous as Sophie’s work is, she tells me that she did not expect to be where she is today. Life has dealt her several challenges but she took it in strides as she fought back to arrive at a state where she says, she’s learned much about herself.
In the interview below, Sophie tells me more about her career. She tells me about “Soph Inspiration,” her blog to impact others. Also, she shares her reasons why she adamantly believes that purpose is born out of pain.
I understand you’re an Interior Consultant for Julius Berger, a leading construction company. What led you to this career path?
It wasn’t my plan to become an Interior Consultant for Julius Berger. I was in the medical field for a while. This is not to say however that I was particularly passionate about the medical path. It was after my first degree that I decided to do my National Youth Service (NYSC). I then decided to explore other options outside of medicine.
For NYSC, I was posted to the American International School where I served as the Assistant School Nurse. After, I was referred to Julius Berger by the School Director who was pleased with my performance and creativity. So, I wouldn’t really say “I was led” to the interior path. It just happened to me and I went with it.
Describe for us some of what your day consists of as an Interior Consultant?
Our showroom is buzzing with clients. Orders are being placed, materials are being selected. Colors, styles, and designs are shared and analyzed. Sales are being made.
I visit my clients’ site at around 4 pm to supervise on installations and interior setup, advising on placement positions, color combinations and accessories.
At around 6 pm, I visit new potential clients’ site for measurements, create a floor plan showcasing the number of doors, wardrobes, and kitchen, size of the rooms and living rooms, colors of tiles and walls to enable me to come up with a theme for the project.
My workday usually ends at 7:30 pm as I return to the office and consolidate on all clients who visited the showroom, calls and site visits that were made. I send out thank you messages and emails to everyone who visited, update reports and shut down.
What are some of the highlights?
The highlights are the interactions and new relationships made
In addition to being an Interior Consultant, you’re also a Blogger for “Soph Inspiration.” How did this blog come about?
“Soph Inspiration,” was born out of an interest. I’ve always had a little problem expressing myself verbally. It’s because I’m a bit scatterbrained so I tend to have a lot of things in my head. I find it difficult to clearly explain things without mixing them up or having them clash. As a result, I developed an interest in writing. I realized I was more expressive that way. The inspirational bit of the blog was born out of lessons learned and the pure desire to make an impact on others.
In a blog post titled “Beautiful Melody,” you’ve said, “Life is beautiful, no matter what you go through, you’ve got to keep living, and when you hit the low notes or feel like giving up, always remember that purpose is always born out of pain.”
Could you share a challenge you faced that justifies your statement about purpose born out of pain?
There are many situations and events that have taken place in my life that justifies that statement. However, the one that justifies it the most was when I made plans to go for my Masters shortly after graduating with my degree in 2013. The plan was to return home from England for a short period and then head straight back for Masters.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out for me. Life hit me unprepared. All of a sudden, I was faced with responsibilities that I hadn’t seen coming from a mile away. I was used to having things done for me and with ease. I was used to getting what I wanted and when I wanted it. I was used to being comfortable but then things changed. I had to be responsible for myself and for my family. It was a difficult phase for me. Coping was tough and depression kicked in at some point. This was painful for me.
Over time, I began to learn how to save. I learned how to fend for myself. I made decisions which I would never have been able to make if not for the untimely exposure and responsibilities I faced. I learned how to be accountable and resourceful. Above all, I learned a lot about myself and began building my relationship with God.
From your blog, it’s clear you love to inspire others but who or what inspires you and why?
I gain inspiration from the flowers, nature, food. What inspires me the most are people that keep living this life, no matter how hard, in hopes to finally find some meaning, to figure out what their life is worth and give whatever they can to the world.
I am inspired by people like you. You who spends your time on blogs, sites, books, learning, improving and trying to find a way to live a better life.
Whatever hardships you have gone through, wherever life may have taken you, whatever pain you had to experience, you are still here fighting. That alone is the most inspiring thing in the world to me.
What do you hope to achieve in your career and life?
At the moment, I would say I am exploring the different career options even though interior design seems interesting and engaging. I am hoping to get more opportunities to really discover more about myself and possible potentials.
In the long run, however, I hope to set up my own business in line with my desired career path. As for life, I only hope for peace and happiness.