We had the good fortune of connecting with Alida Coury and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alida, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
To me the most important factor that drives my business is how much I care about my clients’ and their projects. Most clients can see this and appreciate that. And therefore pass along my name. Referrals from happy clients are the biggest part of how I succeed. I am not sure if every client knows that I treat each project as if it was for my own family and it is a priority regardless of how big or small the project is. So when I see that a client does truly see themself in the final product and what my intention is in working for them, then that is the biggest reward. It is not always easy trying to crawl inside their mind to create for their style, household functions, and budget. I learned this work ethic from my father. No matter what job my Dad had, he has always showed me that you must truly care about the people you work with, stay transparent, and make sure to put in the work. He always worked so late into the night and late into life. He put in the long hours because he had a passion for his work, and because he cared so much about his clients. He truly wears his heart on his sleeve. It is one of my favorite things about him. I think that is where I get my sensitive side from. I can only hope it is a reason why clients can relate to me and allow me into their world.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The part of my job that I am most passionate about is combining different styles and design concepts for my clients. I love living through their lens and looking to create around their influences, styles, and how they function through a space. It is what makes each design unique from the next and keeps me excited. I love being able to work different vibes to keep things from getting formulaic in my work. ..Also it is not my hope to set myself apart from my peers, but just for them to appreciate what I do-as I do of all artists and people that influence/inspire me. That is enough for me.

In regards to my journey- my path I was on and still am on is not easy. But I get a thrill from the art of it. If you don’t feel that drive I don’t think you are on the right path. And I did not know what I was meant to do right away, even though there were signs as a 5 year old rearranging my room. After graduation from design school I turned to my influences of J Lo and moved to Hollywood before I gave serious effort to the design grind. I think it was my husband looking at me working in the television industry and seeing me not feeling creative that made me realize I was not pursuing my real passion. So after he questioned how I felt about my work and asked what excited me, then I was able to see that I was most moved by design. When I began reflecting on times of joy, I recognized the things that gave me life were when I designed any time we moved, or after getting bored with our place and revamping it, or when I was working for friends on their spaces. So I moved back to Chicago and worked under my Mom. It was starting all over again, but at least I was working under the best and working in something I was excited about. I took up several jobs to supplement my income by doing staging, make up, and being my Mom’s mini me. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to grow from that. Carving out your own path for your authentic self is never easy.

I think learning about yourself and from others is what creates a clearer path to success. There are jobs and people who will challenge you or not appreciate you. And you just have to take the high road and keep class. There is no point in trying to explain what they refuse to see in you. So just do your best and move on. That is my hardest lesson. Some people are just determined to find fault in you and not believe you have their best interests at heart. And for someone who lives from their heart that can be very difficult to swallow. Because sometimes my living in my truth and trying to convince others I want the best solution for them can be confused as ego. But I guess if you really know me, then you know the difference. I hope I’m hired because they trust I want to do my best work for them.

For my future I just want to continue to learn and expand my business with those who are also passionate about design + art and have a heart towards people of all paths. I try to attract clients, trades, and vendors who are kind and caring through what I present of my story. I see connection in others and appreciating their differences as the bridge to what is beautiful and true. Our stories help one another. So the honesty I see happening lately in social media is giving me new life. Because I try to live from that place of truth, and feel more comfortable as I see more of this happening out there on IG…. I don’t know ..or maybe it is the fact that I’m closer to 50 than I am 40. Time makes you grow into your skin through all that experience. But I am beginning to be proud of that. That I made it this far and that I can still try to make a difference. At least we all have that no matter how old we are. 🙂

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love the coast line and it is why I moved here. So I would make sure to head to Laguna Beach and peruse the shops and restaurants there. I usually pick something like Nick’s. It has a very chill vibe and great flavors + cocktails. I also love taking visitors to eat by the marina at SOL Mexican Cocina in Newport Beach. Its just a pretty dining view. What is better than a delicious margarita, tacos, and boats floating by? And if you want to venture out on one, they also have boat rentals there. So you can go take a ride and check out all the beautiful homes dotting the marina and coastline.

I also love a good walk with a view. So any of the trails/walkways by the shoreline of Laguna and Huntington Beach are always a calming way to spend the day. Back when I lived in LA one of my favorite spots (I still try to get to) is the trail in Griffith Park by the Observatory. It was always less congested and had this feeling like you were almost in another country. I love the Art Deco lines of the Observatory and the views from there on a clear day are just beautiful. If I was already out by LA I would have lunch by the Santa Monica Proper designed by Kelly Wearstler. And I would suggest they stay there to enjoy the beautifully designed hotel if they were not staying by me in Costa Mesa.

If I had time off, which never happens, then I would love to take my guest on a day trip to Catalina Island. It has such a European vibe to me. There are super cute villas you can rent with amazing views. If you can stay a night or two those views would be worth it. Avalon is a gorgeous city on the island and is calling to me. I hope to stay there one day so I can take in all the vibes-especially the nighttime magic. It is something I always wanted to do. So what better excuse than to show a visitor!

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?

This is funny because I did not know this was coming and answered in the previous question. But truly my Dad, Al Bartkus, deserves the recognition for being such a great business owner and mentor. I am lucky that I was raised in two households with both my parents mentoring me- one on the business side and one in interior design. My Mother, Vida Murray, is an interior designer as well and showed me the art and design ropes since I was a little girl. I would say I am lucky to have insight on this business at such an early age from one of the most talented and professional designers I know. She is such a class act and her friends and clients will not let her retire. And I would be remiss not to mention my step father, Charlie Murray, for teaching me the art of planning as a kid. Even if it was something small he had me set my goals on paper and work on each step. That works for everything- not just business.

And while I’m being thankful… most people would not know that for many many years I did makeup at Chanel for my side hustle. A company I love artistically and chose to work for because I admire the rebellious and innovative spirit of Gabrielle Chanel. And I bring that up because if I had not met a customer, Laura Murphy, at the counter, then I might never have had the confidence to go down the design path on my own. She was a realtor, and later a client, who became a friend to me. It was thanks to her that she shared my name around town and generated enough business that I was able to finally concentrate on my design career. I will forever be grateful to her. She was just a funny and clever woman who recognized people’s talent. She appreciated their abilities and was generous in sharing those talents with those around her. So much that I could get off food stamps and narrow down to one job instead of 3. I miss her dearly and wish she was still with us.

Another person who helped me along my path became like a brother to me. It is Chicago contractor Jake Sugrue. We started working together through a friend and client, Olivia Hein, who I met while working for Crate & Barrel in LA. She paired us up to design her home in the Chicago suburbs. And for years my strength is in that Jake cares about the details and our clients as much as I do. I know that I can only create as strongly as my team builds. So I try to surround myself with people who love their craft and the people they work with. We honestly lose money sometimes at the benefit of trying to get to the smile of a client. But it is worth it. Because they are why we are a success.

Lastly my design sister, Aimee Wertepny, who I met at Harrington College of Design, Chicago has always been there for me. She has walked the business journey a few steps ahead of me. When I was out chasing the entertainment industry in Hollywood with stars in my eyes, she had already continued her path in design. So being first to start her own firm, she was able to have honest conversations with me about the hardships of growing your own business and gave insight on how to wear the many hats of design. I love that she sees there is enough space for all designers and is willing to help you succeed. She is someone who truly wants the best for those around her (both in her work and personal life). She inspires me as an innovator, spiritual soul, and for how truly talented she is. We grew into a women together and I cherish having a friend who has always been real with me. And it is nice to have someone who understands what I’m going through at my job. It gets me through the tougher times and has been someone who helped me grow my business through her advice.

Website: www.alidacoury.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alidacouryinteriors/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alida-coury-interiors-3089a5a

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