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Monday, May 9, 2016

Interior Decor+ Inovation and Class: Introducing Kumba Gbenda Bosschique owner of FB Customized, Sierra Leone

Kumba and I met in Sierra Leone in December 2015. She was introduced to me by a sister of mine who values her work. I went to her shop, and in the instance of meeting with her I knew this woman was a Bosschique who was breaking ground and blazing trails in Sierra Leone. Kumba plans some of the grandest, creative events in Sierra Leone and also does interior decor and design. Her out of the box creativity is what sets her part, and her beautiful spirit is what connects her to her market that she works with. One thing I can say from following this woman within the time I have known her is she is a hard worker. Recently this year she was an Honoree for Women Mean Business, an annual honors brunch event held by Royalty Concepts in Sierra Leone that honors and celebrates women entrepreneurs. We hope you learn from the interview and are wow-ed as much as we were by her. 


WCA: Thank you for spending some time with us. I would like for you to describe yourself in 1 word and tell us why you chose that word?

KDB: Resilient 

At the heart of resilience is a belief in myself—yet also I believe in something larger than myself. I do not let adversity define me. I always see the bigger picture and move towards them, transcending pain and grief and I perceive bad times as temporary. 

WCA: Tell us a bit about yourself, your cultural heritage and background, where you grew up and what brings you to the work? 

KDB:  I am from Freetown Sierra Leone, born and raised. As someone who values family I must say that I am the wife of Bernard Dugba, I am a mother of a one, Bernard Thomas Momoh Dugba II.  I am of Kono heritage, and I grew up in the central part of Freetown. I have been involved in youth and community organizations development and management. I am Christian and I love Praise and Worship. My passion for fashion and beauty backed with an ambition to encourage others to achieve greatness and be successful in business led me to my work. My values of patience, endurance and being focused are virtues that have largely contributed to my success. 

 WCA: How do you take care of yourself and what do you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?

KDB:  Being a Christian, I have strong faith in the Lord my God. I look up to God through Jesus for every need and I don’t allow problems to stress me out. I enjoy promoting and supporting young female entrepreneurs. Outside my work I dedicate time to serve God,  do music, and watch movies (especially African stories).  


WCA: Tell us a bit about your company FB Customized.  And why did you decide to enter into business within this specific market? 

KDB:  FB Customized Weddings and Events is a business enterprise FB Customized Wedding and Events which started as a formal business in March 2009. Our aim is to take the Weddings and Events industry to another level.  It is the center of excellence that provides upscale planning and designing services for Wedding and Events. Our desire is to promote a chic culture with class in Sierra Leone. Our key mission is  to provide the best of Customized Weddings and Events Planning services that meet the unique and variant taste of our customers. 

I decided to enter into business because I like  taking risks. I want to be self-reliant and to support development of others and my country. Particularly, I chose the wedding planning and the fashion industry because it brings me closer to and supporting young ladies achieve their goals and make them happy. It also contributes to my self-actualization goal of being part of contributors to women emancipation and development in Africa.  

WCA: Tell us about challenges you face doing business in Africa particularly Sierra Leone? How have you overcome these challenges? 

KDB: Chauvinism amongst our male and even some female business counterparts is a challenge. There are limited loan opportunities and stiff conditions for securing loans especially for young women. The banks usually ask for very high handed collateral that will be practically impossible for women to provide. There are lack of opportunities and events to showcase successful women entrepreneurs as role models and very limited mentoring for young women venturing into entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. 

WCA: What do you love about your company? And what do you believe has contributed to the growth of your business? 

KBD: I love the Teamwork: Everyone at FB Customized Weddings and Events has a passion for excellence and is motivated to do more. There is also excellent Customer Care and communication and these I believe have contributed to the growth of the business. 

WCA: 10 years from now where do you see FB Customized?

KDB: 10 years from now I envisage FB Customized Weddings and Events to be well established in Sierra Leone and to go international, promoting and serving young couples and events management in the Mano River Union, ie, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. 


WCA:  Tell us 3 most important characteristics one must have to be successful in your field?

KDB:  In the events and wedding planning field one must have at least the following characteristics to be successful:  1) Innovation 2) Patience 3) Determination

WCA: What does Sisterhood mean to you and why is it critical to our success as African women?  

KDB: To me Sisterhood is an association, society, or community of women linked by a common interest, religion, or trade. Sisterhood is critical to our success as African women because it promotes dialogue across geographic and ethnic lines, across genders and within gender and also gender solidarity.

WCA: Please complete the sentence “Women Change Africa because…?”

KDB: Women change Africa because they are active law abiding citizens contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of their countries.   

FB Customized is located at  32 Pademba Road, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.

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