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This is Why I Started My Interior Design Business

I started my interior design business by first taking the road less traveled.

Think of your dream job, write it down, and create it.

I started my interior design business by first taking the road less traveled. 

I didn't get a formal education to be an interior designer. That's right, you can read that again. 

If I had not told you my degree wasn't in interior design, you would have never guessed it! 

My passion for design was not solidified or established with education. Instead, it became a reality for me through experience. 

Have you ever thought something was for you, made for you, only to decide that your heart belongs somewhere else later on? 

Let me make it super clear here. You DO NOT need to go to college to become a successful interior designer. Of course, you need dedication, love, and practice, among other things, but you do not need a degree. 

This is My Story

When I was in college, a piece of advice from a professor stuck with me. "Think of your dream job, write it down, and create it." His/Her words lived in me. Unfortunately, although I did not realize it then, my dream job was not the one I was getting my degrees for. 

My dream in college was to be a bureaucrat working in government or for an international NGO. Instead, after getting my degree, I worked and traveled internationally, became fluent in Spanish, and earned myself a master's degree in Global Leadership and Management. 

After years of feeling like a cog in the machine, frustrated, exhausted, and unfulfilled, my negative thoughts manifested/turned into physical pain. Anxiety and "Sunday Scaries" had me crying myself to sleep all because of a job. 

I don't know what you would do in this situation, but I thought enough is enough. Our life ends the same whether you are happy or unhappy. And where do we spend most of our life? 

At work.


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If I was going to find happiness in my career, I knew I needed to re-evaluate. Because if you have to motivate yourself to enjoy your day at work, your life will be miserable. 

I decided to heed my university professor's advice. So I wrote qualities of what I would consider my ideal job and let myself DREAM and imagine! 

In pursuit of allowing myself to think outside the box and explore a significant challenge, I came up with the traits my heart desires to be happy in a job. 

I knew I wanted to have a job where I could…

  • Enlighten my creative side with interior design
  • Educate myself through travel experiences
  • Serve others by applying the skills I developed through my recent career and education in social entrepreneurship. 
  • Collaborate with female artists, and become educated in textile design and history

I had no experience or formal education when I wrote my list. But little did I know, two important things happened that thrust me onto the journey my heart wanted: A breakup and a miscarriage.

First, the breakup that started it all. A close friend of mine went through a breakup and did what we all wish we could do after a split: go on vacation!  

She wanted a fresh start and a new beginning when she got back. She could have dyed her hair a different color, changed her wardrobe, or got a tattoo, but she needed a more profound change. So she asked me to redesign her house! She gave me money, all creative freedom, the keys to her place, and left. I felt honored to have the opportunity and ecstatic that my creative dreams were becoming a reality. 

It was the most amazing experience. 

I went to bed each night that week with electricity running through me. All I could think about was how much fun I was having and how badly I wanted to do this for a living.

My friend loved the transformation her home went through with the help of design. My excitement became energy and propelled me into action. I started an Instagram account, subscribed to all design magazines, and researched my favorite designers. 

There was one thing that stood out to me among all my favorite designers: None of them had a degree in interior design. 

This meant I did not have to invest in a degree to pursue my dream. Instead, I could use that money to help my business come to life and support my husband, and I's shared dream of one day being parents.  

When we got pregnant right away, we felt on top of the world.

I was finally following my dreams and seemed to be achieving them. Nothing could stop me. 

But sometimes, the road less traveled has unfilled potholes causing damage along the way. 

We were devastated and miserable when my pregnancy ended too early. We proceeded with an unfortunate string of other pregnancy losses. 

Despite being depressed, I persisted and became brazen as I created a meaningful career. Finally, I quit my job and decided to make it on my own as an interior designer without a degree and minimal experience. Fast forward eight years later, and I'm in awe of the 32-year-old me that dared to do what others consider to be an impossible, risky decision. 

I kept my dream list close by as I created a business that reflects all of my passions and interests. Helping a friend find a reset through a significant life change was the starting point of my career. 

Our homes are our forever safe spaces. So why not make it beautiful, functional, and fun? This motivation allowed me to share my mission with more than just people who can afford an interior designer. With my program, The Homemaker Collective, I create sanctuaries for women and children transitioning to stable housing and help them feel at ease in their homes. 

After a while, I realized that design became therapeutic. It was transformative after my losses with infertility and divorce. As a result, I grew rather than allowing my sense of self to be challenged and disrupted. 

I created a backdrop for a new life while creating a community that supports bespoke design through the collaboration of female artisans and tradespeople. 

I recognized my purpose is to give women the gift of transformation and renewal to help them create the sanctuary they truly desire and deserve. None of this would have been possible if I had not taken the risk of starting my interior design business. Emilia Interior Design & Decor has been more than a good business decision. It was a door opening to a fulfilled present and future. 

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