We had the good fortune of connecting with Aja Duran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aja, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my business because I’m passionate about inspiring and uplifting women to go after their dreams. Which is why I felt that the best way for me to make an impact was to start my own design business that values quality and intentional design that is crafted for long-term success. The big thing for me is making branding and website design more accessible to small businesses.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started my studio in 2020 and decided to name my studio Adoro Secco Design after the city in New Mexico where my great grandparents grew up and got married. They were always a huge part of my life and always supported me through everything. Since their passing, I wanted to do something to keep their memory alive, so I thought it would be fitting to name my dream business after their little desert town.
My intention with Adoro Secco was to help elevate purpose-driven small businesses with intentional branding & web design. We do this by creating custom websites and branding for our clients that make them stand out from their competitors, tells their story, and speaks to their dream audience. We believe in making elevated design accessible to everyone so we offer projects at several different price points.
As a self-taught designer and developer, I hit a lot of mental roadblocks in the beginning years. I had to learn how to cope with Imposter syndrome and learn to shift my mindset around money beliefs and even learn how to structure my days to hold myself accountable. I continuously got stuck in the comparison trap, I thought things worked out for everyone else except me. But, once I started implementing a healthy and balanced routine for myself, and started counting all of my little successes I was able to get to a point where I felt comfortable with being uncomfortable, I was okay with being on my own timeline, and I started to accept that some seasons will be easier than others and that’s okay!
Once I reframed my mindset, I was able to grow my business exponentially. I am happy to say that my studio is undergoing a refresh as we are going to be launching some big things within the coming months. We are also expanding our team, which is CRAZY because I never thought I would be capable of doing this.
Starting Adoro Secco Design has been one of the most difficult, yet rewarding journeys that I have been on. I am so grateful for everything that I’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see what’s next for us!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ah this is my favorite! Okay so if my friend was visiting I would definitely take her to all of my favorite restaurants and cafes. I am a HUGE lover of aesthetic cafes, restaurants, shops, and buildings. So with that being said, I would plan for us to have brunch at the Santa Monica Proper to bask in all the beautiful mid-century modern interiors. Another day I would take her to The Row DTLA to go shopping and hang out around all the cute little shops and cafes. For our next day, I would take her to have brunch at my all-time favorite place- Urth Cafe (I’ll take two matcha lattes please!) then watch the sunset at the Griffith Observatory. On our last day, I would take her to spend the day at my favorite art gallery- The Getty. We would walk through all the rooms and end our day having a picnic in the garden and taking photos of all the scenery.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I seriously owe my success to my incredibly supportive family, friends, and partner. They have been with me since day one and are always by my side when I need some encouragement, support, feedback, and new ideas! I definitely could not have done this on my own and I am so grateful to have them by my side.
Aside from my fav people, I owe a lot of my success to a few books and podcasts that I have on repeat! Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass” and “You Are a Badass At Making Money” have seriously helped me shift my mindset around charging my value and increasing my confidence around my ability to be a badass business owner. I also love everything Sophia Amuroso creates for Girlboss. Her book and podcast have really helped me step into my best “GirlBoss” self and I am always learning something new about the business world, marketing, and self-help tips!