When did you start in the business and what are some of the highlights of your journey to where you are today? My journey started at the age of 23 and it has been an amazing and rewarding experience. I founded and was the president of Otium Dubai, a company that provided me with exposure on an international level. I joined international designer and architect, Tony Ashai, as vice president of Ashai Design. That partnership has provided me with the opportunity to build a multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio. I am now the founder and CEO of PermaTrends, Inc. and I feel as though I am just getting started.
What was your experience working in the United Arab Emirates(UAE)? Working in the UAE was an eye-opening experience for me. As an American woman in an industry dominated by men, I was presented with unique challenges that have made me a stronger entrepreneur. The sheer opulence and sparkling architecture of Dubai is nothing short of inspiring. Simply put, it is a cultural hub of dreams. It taught me to not put a limit on my vision as an artist and a designer.
What is next for you, your career? This is an extraordinary time for my business. The current conditions have created unique challenges that my company is addressing head on. We are laser focused on developing luxury homes that anticipate the intricate needs of our homeowners and exceed the expectations of our investors. In times of uncertainty, there is no better time to reflect and measure how true you are staying to your vision.
What is the current state of design in California? California has always been where new ideas are created and perfected. So, in turbulent times, it stands to reason that the design industry would solve new problems in a fabulous way. That really is actually what is happening in this moment. We are in the midst of a modern renaissance in design from the clothes we wear to thoughtful furniture pieces. I cannot begin to stress enough how incredibly important sustainable design is right now. I prefer collaborating tech- forward with sustainable design. We strive to be green and include futuristic technology to elevate the client's experience.
How will it be different in a post-COVID world? Wow, this is exciting as we need to stay socially connected during turbulent times. One heavy demand I am hearing is the desire for a more functional kitchen as families are spending more time in the home. Coincidently, my company pioneered this through our work in Dubai. I pride myself on my ability to create custom kitchens through a blend of Italian design elements and modern artisan technology. Secondly, Americans are once again rediscovering and falling in love the outdoors. I am emphasizing thoughtful and warm indoor-outdoor spaces to allow for more in-person gatherings. I am prioritizing these elements along with more creative space planning in all our current and future designs to account for human connectivity.
What can women learn about individual empowerment form your experience? Anything is possible with dreams, determination, grit, and hustle. We have to believe in the ladder we are climbing and that begins by first believing in yourself. Let’s face it, business is tough for women. I learned that first-hand in the Middle East. Every woman entrepreneur should find a strong mentor, someone with which you connect, trust and can share the truth. Hard work is what differentiates those who excel from everyone else. I raised two children while simultaneously building my business and my professional brand, brick by brick. I could not have done that without the support of my family. Through fate I met my mentor, Tony Ashai, who believed in me and taught me so much along the way. To my fellow women entrepreneurs who are doubting themselves, grab the hand of a mentor, accept the help and pay it forward when you have the opportunity to do so.
Photography by: Samantha Lopez