We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Sage Kalayjian and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emma Sage, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up, I always thought I wanted to go into automotive advertising. I know, weirdly specific, but I always liked cars and I always had a creative streak, so the combination made sense. Fast forward to what I do today – User Experience Design – and although this is another field that i thoroughly enjoy, I found that something was still missing. I wanted to still scratch the itch with storytelling and media, and so I decided, “why not start my own company to do just that?”. Fast forward to today and I officially have my LLC: Spicy Carrot. I plan for my company to focus mainly on creating car content, but deliver it in a more cinematic and unorthodox way. I want to emphasize the way that the automobile has become a core fixture in our daily lives…something that we have a relationship with rather than a monologue. We don’t all need to be enthusiasts to appreciate how these hunks of metal help shape our lives. After all, there’s a reason you remember your first car and not your first toaster.

What should our readers know about your business?
Growing up, I’ve always been fascinated with automotive design. When I was really little, it started out with tail lights. I really enjoyed seeing how different components could be designed all to ultimately relay information. Though as much as I was a fan of cars at the time, I really didn’t see any representation in the media (like Top Gear) or day-to-day life. I thought my interest was the equivalent of being fascinated with toasters. In other words, that’s not something people are into and I should focus elsewhere. It really wasn’t until college that I first started meeting other young women who shared the same interests as me. Really, it was the first time I felt as if I had “permission” if you will to openly explore that interest. Aside from cars, however, I had lots of other interests. Coding was one, design was another. A good example of how I combined these two was making custom Myspace layouts for my friends back in middle school. I’ve also always enjoyed media and storytelling, so much so that I initially thought my dream job was to be an Art Director for car commercials. I have to say, there were quite a few things that my sixteen-year-old self didn’t have as accurately as I thought, but that one was spot on. Fast forward to today, and I’ve just started Spicy Carrot, a media company that specializes in creating unorthodox content. While there are going to be several different productions living there, my first series makes a full circle by emphasizing the future of mobility as a whole and the humans behind the machines. I’m making this entire thought process sound rather quick and fluid, but honestly, this is only the result of after years of trial and error topped with a solid quarter-life crisis. I majored in IT in college to become a UX Designer, initially for automotive but currently in aerospace (which is a whole other story). My background is not in film, so a lot of this is learning as I go and building a team of subject matter experts who do have that industry experience. Ultimately I’m aiming to get this series on a streaming platform…Netflix, Motor Trend, Peacock, etc. because there needs to be more female representation in this space. It’s not an option, it’s an imperative. More importantly, having that representation in a completely different way is key. Everyone has seen “Top Gear” and this is not that. This form of programming is going to be so far left field from all the mainstream car content that it attracts the outliers; the beauty gurus, the sorority girls, the ultra-feminine…that’s my ideal appeal. Why? Because I used to be one of those women who felt I had to sacrifice my femininity in order to be taken seriously and succeed in the masculine world that is automotive. There’s so much more I could say about what’s to come, but I’ll leave it at this: this is not going to be your dad’s car show, and you can check out spicycarrot.co to keep up with the latest developments.

My two cents? Do the weird thing. You’ll stand out more and automatically have more attention brought to whatever you’re pursuing.

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?
If my best friend were in town, I’d start the day off with a good cup of coffee (naturally). There’s quite a few coffee shops that I like, so I’ll list them off: Crumbs & Whiskers in Melrose for some cute kitty playtime, Awesome Coffee in Koreatown for unique drinks in a chill atmosphere, or if it’s Sunday, a classic Cars & Coffee up in Malibu to pair some octane with the caffeine.

Afternoon is adventure time, when I’d go and check out the Swan Boats in Echo Park if the weather is nice out or if it’s not, then we could play a two-person escape room at Maze Rooms Escape Rooms LA.

For Dinner, can’t go wrong with Bestia, Laurel Hardware, Perch, or literally any KBBQ spot in Koreatown.

Finish off the night with a scenic sunset drive up Angeles Crest Highway for stargazing and some amazing city views.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Although there have been so many people I’ve met in my life who have contributed to my growth, there are three women in particular that come to mind: Hannah Potts, Krys Blackwood and Lynn Boyden.

Hannah has been a close friend of mine for about eight years now, and we’ve only grown closer over the years. She truly is like a sister to me at this point and her support of me over the years knows no bounds. Personally, she and I have so much in common that it’s almost effortless for us to relate or vent with each other, but then it’s equally easy for us to hold each other accountable. While I’m a User Experience Designer, she’s an Interior Designer. Our roles are both similar enough and different enough from each other that we can also collaborate as designers while learning from each other in the process.

Professionally, Krys and Lynn are both mentors of mine whom I look up to in the highest regard. Both of them are not only legends in the UX world but are simply amazing humans with rich life stories. They’re resilient and elegantly tenacious women, both of whom I’d like to be at least somewhat like when I grow up.

Website: spicycarrot.co

Instagram: instagram.com/spicycarrot_

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/ekalayjian

Other: emmasage.com (for my portfolio)

Image Credits
Tamar Abrilian, Garrett Salmi

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