We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Leed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the success of Simply Spaced has been slow, intentional growth. Fundamentally, I don’t believe in hustling as a business owner. The success I have had in life and business can be attributed to slow, steady, intentional, forward movement. I take a different approach to business by focusing on small achievable goals, one at a time, like laying bricks that build a foundation. Eventually, I build a house. It’s allowed me to maintain a presence in other areas of my life while maintaining a thriving business and keeping up the momentum. It may sound crazy, but I embrace downtime and boundaries by saying no more often than I say yes.
This sort of “slow, intentional entrepreneurship” has really made all the difference for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Ten years ago, I was a typical starving artist with a master’s degree in film and a 17-hour workday that left me depleted, overworked, and underpaid. Then one sunny Saturday, it all changed when a drunk driver hit the car that my fiance and I were in on the way to a concert. We were hit head-on, my intestines burst in 4 places, and I thought that was it. After being rushed to the hospital, saying what I thought would be goodbye to my fiance, and surviving an 11-hour surgery, I lived to tell the story but never looked at my life the same way again. That week I married my husband in the chapel at Cedars Sinai and spent the next six months recovering from our accident and chaotic life. It was definitely one of those moments where you realize that if you’re not ready to learn the lesson, the universe will make sure you do. During those months at home, much like many people experienced during COVID, I was forced to confront my demons and found nothing but chaos and clutter in all corners of my life. As I started to remove the physical clutter from my surroundings and finally take the time to focus on myself, I realized the transformative power of letting go. What started with a bunch of things became a bunch of habits. Then it wasn’t just habits; it was a lifestyle. Eventually, I became aware of the many ways my life was out of balance and let go of all the things that were not serving my greater good, including my job. Soon, I came to embrace a simpler life. I became extremely selective about what I was doing, with whom, and for what. I didn’t want anything or anyone around me that was not aligned with my healing and growth. I started to prioritize simple living in a home that supported me rather than being in service to someone else’s story. In a movie, worlds are built, and stories are told from the words on a page. The same is true in our own homes. But the story I was telling was not in alignment with the person I wanted to be in my life. So I changed. I changed my home, made myself a priority, and decided to tell a different story. I used my home and my surrounding to build the intentional life I so wanted. Then, I started a business that utilized my skill set as a production designer, but that allowed me autonomy over my life and time in my day. Professional organizing was becoming a recognized profession, and I fell in love with it. I realized that I could help other people clear the clutter that consumes them by optimizing their spaces. That’s how Simply Spaced was born. Now, I run a company that helps high performers create space at home to lean more fully into their own gifts. Running this business is my greatest joy, and it feels incredible to have found my calling.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this question. LA is a magical place because it offers so much cultural and topographical diversity. My husband and I are big foodies, so the LA tour de force would definitely start there. Close to home, where we live in Arcadia is Din Tai Fung. The original Taiwanese soup dumplings are a must-try. A far east side visit would also likely include pasta at Union in downtown Pasadena and a day trip to Huntington Gardens and/or the Arboretum. We’d visit the wild peacocks surrounding our neighborhood and possibly do a San Gabriel mountain hike. I am also a beach lover, so I’d take an out of towner for a north coast drive up the 101 through Malibu and maybe even inland a bit through Topanga canyon. We’d stop by to say hello to my friends at the Surfrider Hotel and have a rooftop lunch and watch the surfers. Dinner would include oysters, grilled broccolini, and gourmet pizza at Gjelina.
I absolutely love a day at Sunset Junction. We’d start off with a tour of my old stomping grounds, then hit up lunch and a cocktail at the Silverlake Pool & Inn. We’d snap some pics of the Hollywood sign from the rooftop and the gorgeous patio then walk the neighborhood for shopping at some of my favorite jaunts like Mohawk General Store, Claire V, and The Odells. There are too many great restaurants to count, so we’d probably have to split it up, but Pine & Crane is a must. We’d get coffee at Intelligentsia or Alfred’s and then make our way around the Reservoir. Not too far away is Atwater Village where we’d shop at my favorite boutique, Individual Medley, and grab a snack at one of the many restaurants along the strip.
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’d love to dedicate my shoutout to my incredible clients. Watching their journeys of transformation is the greatest joy of my life. I get to witnesses incredible people leaning into their gifts in such profound ways, it’s hard not to be totally inspired to do the same.
Tess Alexander, Amanda Proudfit, Daniel Hennessy