Simon Eze tells us how he went from a being a labourer in a rental company to running a multimillion naira Venue Decorations business.
A native of Oruzo in Izo North local government area of Ebonyi State, Simon’s artistic tendencies were obvious from his childhood. He started out making sketches amongst other odd jobs to pay his way through primary and secondary school.
After his secondary school education in 2003, Simon joined Liet-Nuel Ltd. (a pioneer events rental company in Enugu) as a labourer. His job at the company included setting out canopies, arranging tables and chairs as well as light decorations for events.
Unfortunately, Liet-Nuel Ltd. closed down a few years later. The experiences garnered from working with Liet-Nuel helped propel Simon into the world of Venue Decoration.
In 2005, Simon began studying for a degree in Civil Engineering at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology(ESUT). That same year, his firm SimonGrace began operations under the slogan “You can’t beat the style”. It didn’t have much in terms of infrastructure but Simon had a passion to succeed in the industry.
He told us, “My phone is my office. My past jobs speak for me. When you walk into a venue that has been decorated by SimonGrace, you can see the difference immediately”. Popular opinion has it that the company name was coined from that of the founder Simon Eze and his then girlfriend Grace. Simon however insists that the name is in appreciation of the ‘Grace of God’ upon his life.
His big break came during the election campaigns in 2007. He had previously decorated venues for government events as a sub contractor. Whilst in the process of executing one of these contracts, he came in contact with a high profile government official who was impressed with the quality of work and requested a meeting with the young decorator.
“He asked me if I could decorate some venues that would be used during the President’s campaign visit to Enugu as well as roads leading to them. He wanted all decorations in place within 24 hours. I agreed that it was possible and then he asked me to prepare a quote. I had never done a job that big so I just calculated the cost of materials and labour that would be needed. I didn’t expect to get paid all that money. When I was presented with all that cash, I nearly collapsed. I had never seen that much money in my entire life. I didn’t have a bank account at the time so I took the money home and hid it in my fridge”.
Each venue presents a new challenge to the decorator. Innovation is the key to remaining relevant in a highly competitive industry. A good venue decorator must always maintain high standards of professionalism as well as excellent customer relations, said Simon.
Venue decorators typically have their busiest period during festivities such as Christmas, Easter, and Ramadan. They decorate venues for events ranging from weddings, birthdays, funerals to corporate events, campaigns among others. Most social events take place on the weekends so you can run a Venue Decorating service along side your studies or a full time job.
Simon encourages any young person who is passionate about venue decoration to go for it. “When I started decorating events, a senior friend who I looked up to advised me to find something else to do in the long run. He told me that venue decoration will not feed my family. Today, I have been able to prove him wrong. As long as you don’t see it as a meal ticket or as something to while away time with, Venue decoration can take you to anywhere you want to go to”.
As a way of giving back to society, SimonGrace currently organizes weekly trainings on the fundamentals of venue decoration. The training holds on Mondays and Wednesdays at their Enugu Office and is open to all young people who have a passion for Venue decoration.
Simon can be reached with BB Pin 21FD580C.