Design and the arts have been lifelong passions of mine. After college, I started a career as a business executive in the fashion industry, working for Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Traveling to Europe for business and wearing couture to work was exciting. However, I was not fully satisfied because what I really wanted to do was to be on the creative end.
After four years, I decided to pursue that dream – I enrolled at the Interior Design program at UCLA Extension and moved to Los Angeles.
The first year was the hardest, having to give up a “glamorous” job and be a student again. No more Paris six times a year, or the newest “It” bags. But having a vision of what I eventually wanted helped me stick to my plan.
One thing of which I was very sure when I changed my career was that I wanted to ultimately start my own business. So, throughout the design program, I interned as well as worked with some of the top architectural and interior design firms in Los Angeles.
My goal was to learn and gain as much experience as I could in the shortest amount of time, so that I could start my own business as soon as I could. I founded Seyie Design after four years of moving to Los Angeles.
In December 2007, I got the opportunity to design a salon & spa. It was a new business with a wonderful concept. I figured the timing was perfect to launch my own business.
Although the budget was very minimal for the project, I spent months of unpaid hours so that I could create a beautiful space to showcase my talent. It worked out because the salon & spa garnered press, established credibility for me as a designer, and also helped me get additional projects.
Since then, I have had the pleasure to work on some wonderful private homes as well as beauty, fashion & lifestyle retail boutiques in California and abroad.
I really enjoy creating fashionable and functional environments for my clients, while enhancing their brand identity, specifically, in the case of business clients. A very recent and exciting project was designing the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards® Official Talent Gift Lounge.
Although being an entrepreneur is very rewarding, it is also a tough road. But, I think there are tools and tips that help with navigating the process. A few things that have helped me with the successes in my business are:
Connect with like-minded people. Since starting my company, I have made close friendships with other women entrepreneurs. It’s wonderful because not only can you share your excitement and vision with someone who gets it, but they can also be sources of encouragement during challenging periods. Shortly after first starting my company, I became particularly close with two women who were both new business owners as well. The three of us would meet on a regular basis to share ideas and inspire each other. At times when I wasn’t feeling so motivated, hearing about their business progress would energize me. If I was stuck with a marketing idea they were wonderful at brainstorming with me to come up with a solution.
Focus. I think of new ideas constantly, which can be a great source of inspiration but also a distraction. My business coach called that the “shiny object syndrome,” and finds that most entrepreneurs tend to have it. She emphasized the importance of focusing on one business at a time, which has helped me realize benefits in the last couple of years.
Reach out for counsel. I find having mentors to be extremely beneficial. It doesn’t even have to be an official mentor, just someone you look up to in your field or a related field who is willing to counsel you and help you grow your business.
During the early stages of my company, I found a business mentor who I met through an organization called Step Up Women’s Network. She and I met every week for 3 months to explore ways to develop my business. She not only helped guide me through my business development, but also held me accountable to the goals that I set for myself. Having that sounding board as well as someone who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone was instrumental in taking my business to the next level.