Gigi Sebsibe: In a class of her own!

Gigi Sebsibe was born and raised In Addis Ababa. After living and working in the USA for more than 30 years, she has come back home to contribute to Ethiopia’s economic development.  Gigi’s current position is as an owner & GM of a successful business, “Interior Motifs & Design (IMD) PLC, furniture manufacturing, interior designing & interior decorating company.

Gigi performs dual responsibility in line with the interior design and furniture production tasks of IMD. In the manufacturing field and designing,  she deals with the manufacturing staff, insures that customer orders are met as per the required specifications and pays a visit to the manufacturing plant two to three times a week to check the production line, quality control and motivate workers. On the interior design, she supervises the discipline of the architects’ and the designers’ works closely to get the best possible design concept and change it into a reality. Eighty percent of the time she does the design herself according to the specifications and she makes sure everything is up to the highest standard. Controlling the quality, color, texture of raw materials during purchase are strictly done by her alone to ensure her customers’ discriminating taste . 

Interior Motifs & Design (IMD) PLC, has been in business since 2007. Gigi established the company to create a sophisticated, vibrant and eye catching interiors that meet the needs of discerning customers. IMD designs and manufactures furniture items that are modern, yet retro, and a unique line embellished lightly with the touches of rich African accents called “Ethno-Chic”. “Our collection of luxury furnishings is drafted in our design studio, and made in our furniture manufacturing facility by highly skilled carpenters, upholsterers, painters, and artisans. Treating our workers fairly and with respect is a trademark of IMD”, says Gigi. At her company, Gigi makes sure that professionalism and outstanding customer service accompanied with honest and hard work ensured. IMD’s values are: honesty, direct and open communication, customer-driven service, strict follow through to keep the customers update of every progress.

Her extensive experience in the states as an employee of home furnishing companies, managing of top furniture design stores for more than eight years and as a real estate agent for two and half years has led her to establish her own company. Here in Ethiopia she has provided assistance to a family business to formulate a furniture importing company from inception to implementation stage.  Gigi’s Passion is her profession. Her value are her life, her principles and her creativity.  She has followed her passion and achieved good results.

Her plan in the near future is to focus on empowering disadvantaged women through training and creating job opportunities. She has started the process with the sub city of her business district on how to train the less disadvantaged women in designing and manufacturing. Her plan includes providing employment opportunity for the women after practical training in the manufacturing plant itself.

Along with helping a few college students with their expenses to be able to complete their education without any interruption for lack of finance, she helps those who are in need of support creating a business of their own. Gigi, a critic of the traditional way of assisting the needy by just giving money on the streets says “our traditional way of assisting never improves their lives in a sustainable way; it should be changed to life changing assistance.”

Following her conviction, Gigi recruits from the unemployed youth from the community where the plant located and trains them at the plant; on completion of a successful training, they are given job opportunity to work at IMD.  She doesn’t just give them technical training but also works to make sure that they are being trained on the life skills and work ethics.   

What Gigi wants to share with the young is the important principles of her life. She wants to pass on the values important to life like integrity, transparency, honesty. She believes when we have the core values: principle, decency & discipline, we can accomplish what we want in life. “I don’t believe in quick gain or quick fixes”.

She also wants to share with the young generation her knowledge and experience in areas of work ethics, life skills, family life and team work.” People tend to come together when crises occurs, but we need to work in team beforehand in order to avoid problems before they occur”, she says.

Gigi claims the business incentives, infrastructure and readiness for investors differ from the reality. The ongoing development of physical infrastructure such as roads which is extremely important for the country’s development doesn’t translate for actual doing business and the ease of doing business which makes simple and inherent business challenges seem insurmountable. Gigi puts it as “Ethiopia has a gentle, sincere side in the social aspect but diametrically opposite when you it comes to the business world”.  She says, however, persistence is the key; she advises those having the dream of becoming part of the business world in Ethiopia, to follow their passion and to be the best at it; to do what they love and the rest would follow.

AWiB wishes this indefatigable personality the best that our world has to offer.

The AWiB Team.

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