Today we’d like to introduce you to Amala Raj Swenson.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I always say I grew up “design adjacent” as my family has been in the remodeling industry for years on the material supply end (they are natural stone suppliers). During college, I worked part-time at my parent’s shop helping interior designers find their perfect stone slabs. I loved learning from designers and seeing the entire project come together from just a simple idea.
I ended up moving to NYC in 2013 to taking courses at the New York School of Interior design and I fell completely in love with all aspects of architecture and design. From creating floor plans, colors, learning about products, and classical architectural history- I was completely engulfed with how inspiring it all was!
In 2016, my husband and I moved down to San Diego and I launched Amala Raj Interiors to be a place for all the things I love to come to fruition and grow. With a mix of commercial and residential interior design, the San Diego community has been a wonderful canvas to create some remarkable projects with.
We currently live and work in UTC with our two fur babies, Brooklyn, and Tails. I enjoy being part of this amazing community and love serving my neighbors with any design help they need! When I’m not working, I enjoy kayaking, walking thru Torrey Pines and exploring the many great eateries in our area.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any new business, there was definitely a learning curve to getting started. Being new to San Diego, I had to start completely from scratch with creating relationships with vendors and getting myself out there to meet my future clients.
Over the last few years though, I have met some of the kindest and hardest working people in my industry that have helped launch my dream into a reality. I started out very small with a bathroom design job and that had led me through referrals to now working on full homes and commercial spaces.
Since launching my business, I have become so aware of how many other entrepreneurs are out there. With all the help that I received along the way, I hope to pass the good spirit along and help others succeed in their paths as well.
Please tell us about Amala Raj Interiors.
Amala Raj Interiors does full-service interior design. From full house remodels to bedroom decor, ARI can assist with all aspects. On the commercial side, ARI can help businesses have uniquely curated, and fun stores, showrooms, and workspaces for their customers and employees.
I think what I’m most proud of and what really sets me apart from others is my knowledge in kitchen and bath design. I grew up in the industry and have the first-hand experience especially with all the hard surface options out there on the market. I take time every year to travel to a few industry conventions like the annual KBIS show, take classes, and meet with suppliers to learn what the newest and greatest products are out on the market. My specialized focus on hard surfaces, appliances, and plumbing gives me a unique advantage as being a purchaser and a designer.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I wish I would have been as confident at the beginning of my journey. I was so nervous about starting a business that it took some time for me to really feel comfortable in my own skin. I think a lot of people my age have “imposter syndrome” where we sometimes doubt ourselves and hold ourselves back.
- Hourly rates start at $75 per hour
- Contracted rates vary depending on job size
- E-Design available with flat rate by room
- Website: www.amalaraj.com
- Email: AmalaRajInteriors@gmail.com
- Instagram: @AmalaRajInteriors@gmail.com
Photography by CMudlo Photography and Rancho Photos