We had the good fortune of connecting with Sybille Zimmermann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sybille, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Starting my own company was always a dream. To be “free” and make my own schedule sounded alluring to me. I always had a job, working for many kinds of companies, big corporations to smaller boutique type places. Not just in Interior Design. I started my career in banking back in Switzerland where I grew up. It was a typcial 9-5 job, clock in clock out kind of thing. Thinking back, it was nice to not have to think about my job once I clocked out. I was “free”. We also had plenty of paid vacations unlike here in the US. I clearly didn’t know any better and didn’t fully appreciate it. I am all about work/life balance. I love traveling and going on vacations and my weekends are my everything. Spending time with friends and family is very important to my happiness and well being. By starting my own company I was sure that I will be able to achieve all that. And after many years I did, but it came with a lot of sacrifices as well. There is no clocking out ever, I’m always thinking about my clients and projects. I’m pretty much always available.
It really starts creeping into your personal life and it’s hard to separate work and family. Now I don’t check emails anymore once I get home from work and start dinner. I put the phone away for the night and don’t check emails until the next morning unless I’m on a deadline of course.
A lot of times I have to take long client meetings on weekends or after hours to work around their work schedules and I miss out on family stuff.
Usually the minute I book a family vacation I get a call with a new project. I used to postpone my vacations worrying I would not have anymore work. Over the years I learned plan my vacations around my existing projects and ask new clients to work with my schedule. It took years to get that kind of confidence.
Now I balance my work schedule with taking client meetings sometimes afterhours and make up family and personal time sometimes during the week. I’ll go to a yoga class or on a hike in the middle of a weekday or take my daughter to the Pier or to some other fun outing on a random Monday. I even blocked out my Friday mornings and been taking a Watecolor class since the beginning of the Pandemic.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business has been easy to adapt to changes quickly over the past years due to having a background across all sectors of Interior Design. I had worked in healthcare, hospitality, retail, corporate, multi-family to high end residential. The last few years I heavely concentrated on multi-family rehabs but after covid hit, while that came to a sudden stop, high end residential flourished and we are busy in that department. Over the years I have learned to adapt and not to freak out, work always comes, so I now enjoy the times when things are not so busy and not stress out about the next job, because they always come. We are a multi faceted company that works in both commercial and residential design.
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 LA and I get a lot of foreign visitors. I like to show them a good time that is less touristy and more local.
A day in Venice starts with breakfast at Gjusta and shopping and people watching at Abbot Kinney. For a quick lunch and the best Burgers in town I love the Window on Rose Ave. Dinner at Lula’s on Main Street is my all time favorite Mexican Restaurant in LA. They have some of the best and strongest Margaritas.
Obviously you can never go wrong with a beach day. I like to go early, start with a yoga class on the beach and then go for a swim in the ocean rent bikes and bike along the strand. Get drinks and watch the sunset at the beautiful Casa Del Mar and enjoy some live music.
I recently fell in love with Culver City and like to start with a hike up the stairs to Baldwin lookout for a great workout, amazing views and people watching. The Platform is nearby and is a great place for eating and shopping. I also love Margot for dinner with a lively, happening atmosphere.The Culver Hotel is great for drinks and live music.
The Rosebowl flea market if in town at the right time makes for great shopping and some of the best people watching there is in LA, but there are tons of other flea markets in LA and I’d say, if you are into it, just pick anyone.
For history and art, I like to take people to The Watts Towers. Make sure you take the guided tour to hear all the fascinating details behind it’s story.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband to being my biggest cheerleader, not ever letting me give up even when I was out of work for months and we had to live with one income. The most supportive husband I can imagine.
Devang Shah, my good friend and client over the past 10 years that gave me my first project and kept believing in me through all these years with keeping me engaged with all his endeavors.
Claudio Santini Nico Marques