From Postal Worker to Interior Designer: Baltimore Native Re-Designs Her Career Path
While some attend colleges and universities to study interior design, there are those like Baltimore native Ajia Monet who is a natural talent. Her creativity, style, and ability to master spatial arrangements to transform spaces afford her an advantage in such a growing and competitive industry.
It’s no surprise that her design work has captured the attention of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac star, Robyn Dixon, not to mention 55,000 Instagram followers.
(Ajia Monet, founder of A’Blige Interior Design. Image: Ricky Codio)
However, prior to Monet starting A’Blige Interior Designs she felt, as do many people, that she was not fulfilling her passion. She was simply working a job to make ends meet. Nonetheless, she believed in herself and stepped out on faith to pursue her passion for interior design. Black Enterprise caught up with Monet to learn how she redesigned her own career path.
When did you start A’Blige Interior Designs?
I started my business in March 2015, after working for the U.S. Postal Service for five years.
What motivated you to change your career path and follow your passion?
My friends always admired my home and how I designed it. My father is an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry. Working for him, I saw the dedication he gave to his business and I adopted his work ethic. He inspired me and I knew that I could also create something great too. Working for someone else was no longer an option.
(L-R: Denise Cooper, Ajia Monet) Image: A’Blige Interior Design)
Was being an interior designer always a part of your career plan?
No, I actually wanted to become an architect. However, I quickly realized math was not my strong suit.
When did you realize interior design was your passion?
It’s funny; I thought I loved real estate. But I realized I could care less if a house sold. What excited me most was walking into a listing and seeing how creative the homeowner or prior owners decorated it and made it appealing to prospective buyers. It was all about the interior design for me!
What was your first design project and its overall budget?
It was a one-bedroom apartment. The budget was $350.
What has been the most expensive project you have overseen thus far?
Well, for me it’s not about the amount of the budget, it’s what’s the most challenging. I’m designing Robyn Dixon’s home from The Real Housewives of Potomac. This will be the first time that a home I designed will be seen on national TV. It’s exciting! I feel like this is my debut to the world. I have to hit it out of the park.
How large is your design team?
People think I have this huge team, but I don’t. I have a remarkable project manager, Denise Cooper, who holds it all together.
Where do you get your inspiration when creating a new design for a client’s space?
Hotels, hotels, and hotels! The attention to detail is so important in the hotel industry. Boutique hotels inspire me the most. I can literally look at a lamp in the lobby and within five seconds I have envisioned an entire design concept.
(A “Before” and “After” dining room done by A’Blige Interior Designs. Image: A’Blige Interior Designs)
(Image: A’Blige Interior Designs)
How do you want your clients to feel after you have provided your service?
I want them to feel like they just made the best investment of their lives. The best compliment is when our clients say, “I don’t want to leave my house.”
What advice would you give to others who are interested in a career in interior design?
I get asked this often. The direct answer, sink or swim. If you want it, go for it. It’s going to be hard work and long hours. You’re going to take some losses. But if it’s truly what you love, nothing will stop you. It’s that simple.
What’s next for A ‘Blige Interior Designs?
My project manager Denise Cooper and I are working in collaboration on our very own décor line that is currently in production. She and I will also be launching new e-design services which will be available on our website.