What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?
Many of my friends are architects and designers. Some are older and very successful while others are building their businesses like I am. What I have noticed is that everyone has the same problems, at least in my industry. Problems with vendors, delicate situations with clients - everyone has dealt with similar issues at some point in their career. And they still do! This builds camaraderie and support.
How did you discover your creativity?
It's always been there. But the biggest challenge I faced was figuring out that I could do it as a career when I was in my mid Twenties. I wish I had figured that out in high school and gone to architecture or design school. I started out in the fashion industry, which I loved because it was also creative. So I still started in a creative place, it just took a few years to get in to the right industry.
Name the biggest challenge you have had in your career to date. How did you solve it?
The biggest challenge was gathering the courage to start my own firm. I solved it by getting as much top notch experience as I could and doing freelance projects on the side because it was important that I start my own firm with a body of work that was entirely my own. I also found the right business partner, which was a surprise and a huge gift. It made taking the plunge much less scary.
What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
To save money, we started working out of my apartment. On the first day, we had all these IT issues - our computers wouldn't work, the internet kept going down. It was a mess and my business partner started to cry. We thought, "what did we do?!" Then on the second day in business, we got a phone call that we were being hired to design a ground-up house in the Hamptons. To get the call on the second day was definitely our big break. Some months later, Architectural Digest told us they were going to feature us in their prestigious, "Ones To Watch" story which comes out every other year. We were beyond thrilled and grateful.
What would be your DREAM ASSIGNMENT?
I love Japan. The design, colors, textures and spirit of the way they live is completely inspiring. My dream assignment would be to design a house or apartment in Tokyo. Or Paris!
Who are the people that have been instrumental in your success as a creative professional?
Firstly, my business partner, Katrina Hernandez. What we've accomplished as a team these last two years wouldn't be possible without her creative and business collaboration. Other influential people include my former bosses: David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor; the talented people at Ralph Lauren who taught me the foundation for project management, styling and luxury: Alfredo Paredes, Dennis Adler, Stacy Garrett, Cristina Sonneman and Perry Smith; the incredibly talented designer and businessman Michael Smith; and John Berson and Brian Sawyer of Sawyer Berson who are both brilliant. Not to mention all the colleagues and friends I've collaborated with over the years.
What would be your last supper?
As my dear friend William Clukies would say about me: a cheeseburger or fish tacos.
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