This is an interview with Alisha Taylor, Owner & Design Director of Alisha Taylor Interiors.
Where were you at 22, and how did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from NAU with an Interior Design degree then quickly had the opportunity to work with a custom home builder in Sedona to design stunning homes that focused on the views of the Red Rocks. After spending time in Sedona learning all I could about new builds and desert design, I moved to the Phoenix & started my own full-service boutique interior design firm. For the past sixteen years as owner and design director, I am honored to create beautiful homes for my clients and to see their face light up when they walk through the front door of their finished home. I love what I do!
When did you really decide to “take ownership” of your career? What inspired you to pursue your passion?
In the 6th grade, on the back of a school assignment paper, I ‘redesigned’ my classroom, doodling a new floor plan for all the desks and my teacher’s space. I arrived at school the next day to find the classroom rearranged based on my plan with a note from my teacher that read, “You should think about being an architect or designer some day.” I have been designing ever since! In 2007, as a mom of four young kids and still in the beginning stages of my design business, I found myself going through a divorce. I had no choice but to take ownership of my career and my future! With A LOT of hard work, a sense of humor, a willingness to learn, and yes, a few tears along the way, with my love and passion for design, my interior design business not only survived but thrived.
All good career stories include some aspect of “risk.” Was there a moment in your career where you felt that you were risking something, but looking back on it now, that move made all the difference?
There was a moment during the housing crash that as an owner of a luxury residential interior design business, I realized I could be close to losing it all. Other design firms were closing their doors, no one seemed to be building a custom home, no one wanted to spend money on furniture and yet I somehow needed to move my business to the next level. I made the decision to take on extra overhead and move my little design business from a home office set up to a professional studio space in old town Scottsdale. The numbers didn’t make sense, I didn’t even have a month of reserves in my account, but I signed a 3 year lease on a new studio in my ideal zip code for my clientele. That leap of faith made all the difference, it put my business on the map and the clients came! Nine years later we are still in the same building but now with a lot more square footage and a larger staff.
Where do you find significance in your work? What gives you the most satisfaction?
My favorite part of the design process is the reveal. After months of design work and waiting for all the gorgeous furnishings, we send the clients out and get all the finishing furniture in place… to see their face light up when they walk into their home finished and furnished is the best feeling!
How do you measure success in your role? How do you know you’re succeeding?
When employees love coming to work and clients aren’t afraid to send a thank you card or nice text… success isn’t about the numbers as much as it is bettering people’s lives.
If you could offer your 22-year old self one piece of advice, what would you say?
Be patient… you’ll learn lessons, some pretty hard ones, you’ll grow and stretch and you WILL create something special!