Interior designers and event planners are known for creating memorable moments for their clients. Award-winning interior designer, Lauren Ashley Stevens, CEO of LA Weddings and Interior can attest to that and all of the hard work that is required to make people’s dreams come true.
Since 2015, Stevens had been strategically managing her events and design business while working a full-time job. After scaling her business, she decided to take a leap of faith at the beginning of the pandemic and leave her position to pursue her dreams full-time. And she said that it was one of the best decisions she’s made. The other decision that she has made that has set her business apart is being visible and actively engaged online and on social media.
The One Room Challenge
After the series of national civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd, Stevens participated in The One Room Challenge as a way to create space for herself to heal as a Black woman and designer. It was also important for her to curate a sacred space that others could feel safe, seen, and warm when simply looking at it.
“I wanted to express myself the only way I know how, which was through design. For that particular project, I used as many African American vendors as possible. I used Claire Paint, who got the stamp of approval from Beyoncé and I used Black art. I wanted to show up in design for African Americans,” said Stevens.
In a blog post about the challenge that revealed the newly designed room, Stevens wrote, “The One Room Challenge 2020 has taken me on a journey of self-empowerment and professional growth. I’ve found my own voice and exhibited to myself the capacity that I have for excellence and social justice. I am grateful to be able to inspire others through my passions and every day I wake up to a life that I love!”
Stevens also wrote, “If I only touch one person and move them to use their voice and passion to speak on the issues and/or do research on why this is so important, then I’ve done my part.”
Creating A Sacred Space For Gianna Floyd
To her surprise, she had touched more people than she thought. Including the family of George Floyd who reached out to her on Instagram to contract her to design Gianna Floyd’s room. “It was full circle for me,” said Stevens. “It was surreal. Out of all of the designers in Houston, Texas, they chose me. For that reason, I wanted to make sure that it was a job well done.”
She went on to share, “I wanted a space where she can be a little girl and where she can grow into the young woman that she’s about to become as well,” said Stevens. “That’s also what I think about for all of my clients when I design. I don’t want you necessarily to call me a year or two later and say, ‘Lauren this needs to change.’ I want them to be able to grow into a space that is classic and lasting.”
The inspiration for Gianna’s room was Betsy Johnson with a modern twist.
“Seeing her face when she walked in the room and saying that it was ‘so pretty’, was my, ‘Job well done,’” said Stevens.
Designing A Future In The Industry
In addition to her work as an interior designer and event planner, Stevens has designed a line of pillows, LA Warm & Fuzzy. Pillows in the collection are named after significant women in her life and speak to how she forms relationships with clients.
“I have to have warm and fuzzy feelings from all my clients because we’re going to be in business for a long time. I feel that you work better when you have relationships with people as opposed to being transactional,” said Stevens.
The pillow that light up Stevens’ face is named in honor of her late mother Joyce who graciously battled breast cancer.
As Stevens prepares for another successful year in business, her advice to other entrepreneurs is, “Do not let the lessons that are unexpected stop you. Sometimes they may not be for you necessarily. It may be for you to help the next person. But, do not let that get in your way. Keep going.”