Nightclub business is never as easy as it may seem.
It takes hard work and constant innovation to create a brand that resonates in with the interests of the public.
But Sarah Ssebugwawo, 30, has managed to break through this glass ceiling of a predominantly male dominated industry. She is the marketing manager and publicist for Club Ambiance, one of the biggest nightclubs in Uganda, located in Bukesa. Her position requires her to identify new partners for the club, suggest theme nights and market the club among the public.
These, she has ably done since the club flung open its doors in July this year.
“My job is the most enjoyable because music keeps it lively, and it enables me meet new people and make new friends,” says Ssebugwawo.
The club is open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the clubbing is spiced by theme nights such as ‘Oldies Night’ every last Friday of the month, ‘Afrigo Band Live,’ every first Friday of the month and ‘Campus Night’ with DJ Shiru.
Ambiance hosts all classes of people who either belong to the very, very, important persons (VVIP) (these pay Shs 30,000 for entry), the executive (Shs 20,000) and the ordinary that pay Shs 10,000.
Readjusting to night life:
As most people are thinking of retiring home at 5pm, Ssebugwawo is arriving at the club for the day’s work. This trawls on until 5am when the club is almost clear of all and sundry. Having previously worked at an 8am to 5pm job as a business administrator at Jeff amp Tinn Consults, adjusting to a night-time job was no piece of cake.
“These days I do not have free time and I sleep for very short spells because I have meetings during the day and when I go back home in the morning, I have to ready my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter for school,” she says.
Besides, there are other challenges that come with being a woman manning a nightclub. One of these, Ssebugwawo says, is that some men always want a piece of her body.
“As a woman, you have to be very sensitive because some people will come to you in the name of creating business for the organisation and yet they are after other things.”
Also, there are risks associated with moving around late in the night and one has to deal with drunkards.
A day in her life:
Ssebugwawo’s day begins after she leaves the club at 5am. She returns home in Luzira to prepare her daughter for school before turning in for about three hours of sleep. Thereafter, she meets various clients and business partners and ensures that she is at work by 5pm.
As a young girl, Ssebugwawo’s cherished dream was becoming a midwife after her mother, Verona Ssebugwawo, who has been in the trade for more than 30 years. Little did she know that fate would twirl her round and thrust her into the entertainment industry.
“We had visitors come over at home to mum for delivering babies. I fell in love with the occupation at a young age, and during the holidays, I would spend days at her clinic, Verona Clinic and Midwifery in Masaka,” Ssebugwawo recalls.
This dream faded when she got to A-level at St Lawrence Schools, Creamland campus, where she pursued History, Economics, Geography and Divinity. This propelled her to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration at Makerere University Business School (Mubs) from where she graduated in 2006.
“This remarkably redirected my journey into the world of marketing that I have come to greatly enjoy,” she said.
After university, Ssebugwawo worked as a marketing executive at Record TV for three years and left in 2010. She then joined NBS TV in the same position and left in 2011 to work in a reflexology spa in Ntinda. She then joined Jeff amp Tinn Consults in January this year until Ambiance opened shop in July.
Scooping the Ambiance job has been her biggest achievement this year. For the future, she is looking to taking the club to greater heights and owning a marketing agency. Besides working at the club, Ssebugwawo is also a poultry farmer, mostly dealing in broilers.
During her free time, Ssebugwawo loves to listen to oldies music and spend time with her daughter. In the soundtrack of her life, ‘It’s Your Night’ by James Ingram and ‘Ye Gwe’ by Aziz Azion, feature more prominently.
Source : The Observer