We had the good fortune of connecting with Aja Levi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aja, why did you pursue a creative career?
This career really chose me more than I chose it. Ever since I can remember I have known that I was meant to be an Interior Designer – It was like there was no other option. And with that strong force guiding me, I focused all my energy on getting there. I watched HGTV religiously as a kid, stole my mom’s home decor magazines, and re-arranged the furniture in my bedroom regularly. Not everyone has that urge to create something, and if you have it, you need to feed your fire and do it as often as you can. But I think the real reason I pursued this career is when I realized how much a well-designed interior can affect your mood and positively impact your life. I wanted to give that feeling to other people.
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?
My company Aja Levi Design is only about 2 and a half years old, but it took many years of education and hard work to get to a place where I felt ready to take that leap into the unknown of entrepreneurship. I started my design career in Toronto, where I was born and raised, and did so many different jobs trying to learn as much as I could there. I moved to LA at 23 and didn’t know anyone besides my fiancé (now husband). I had to hustle and put myself out there to get interviews and eventually hired as a Designer. Years later I knew I had to take the next step in my career and start my business. Building Aja Levi Design wasn’t easy and there were times when I didn’t know if I’d ever have a paying client. I believe that you can manifest your destiny and focusing on what I wanted for this company is what helped me in those uncertain times. I think I am the most proud of myself for taking that step to go out on my own, no matter how terrifying it was. I have built a really great client base of people that I enjoy working with, and I’m so grateful for that. I think what sets me apart from others, is that I am not motivated by money. I turn down a lot of work that I don’t feel is a good fit, whether it be on a creative or personal level, and that’s not something a business book will tell you to do – especially as a new company. I think that if you focus your efforts on projects that you’re genuinely excited about, the money will come naturally. I say this all the time and it’s just very true for me: If I’m not having fun, I don’t want to do it!
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.
Day 1 – Hit Cha Cha Matcha or Alfreds for a caffeine fix, and do some light shopping. Dinner at my favorite restaurant Crossroads Kitchen. Day 2 – Spend the day in Malibu, have lunch on the pier and watch the sunset on the beach. Day 3 – Go to a museum and then out to dinner at Majordomo in DTLA. Day 4 & 5 – Road trip to Santa Barbara to enjoy the beautiful scenery and get some R&R. Day 6 – Lunch or drinks on the rooftop at the Waldorf Astoria to take in the amazing views, and a late show at The Comedy Store Day 7 – Visit The Japanese Garden then have lunch at Hummus Bar (best Israeli food in town). Relax and order-in Chinese from Bamboo or Wokshop.
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 would like to dedicate my shoutout to my High School Design Technology teacher Mr. Tadrus back home in Ontario, Canada. I learned so many valuable skills and lessons from him, and I’m grateful to have had his encouragement in pursuing this dream that is now a reality.
Madeline Tolle Wayne Ford Films