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DESIGN

Leah Alexander

INTERIOR DESIGNER / CONTENT CREATOR


It was a rainy day in Georgia on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. I was running late due to Atlanta traffic. I met Leah at Le Bilboquet in the heart of Buckhead, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon entering the doors of the restaurant, with a sense of urgency in my stride due to my tardiness, I advised the hostess that I was here to meet someone, and she immediately pointed me in the direction of Leah. I warmly greeted Leah with a hug. We both ordered tea and begin to dialogue as to get to know each other better. I did not realize that Leah had a connection with someone else that I knew. What a small world, but an example of how important reputation and presentation are. As we were having conversation, I shared with Leah how thrilled I was for the opportunity to have this discussion with her. A true gem indeed. She is Leah Alexander.

GJ: Leah, what brought you to Atlanta?

LA: It was a guy. That relationship led to an openness to working here in Atlanta. I put my feelers out there in the design community and was offered a great position at a kitchen and bath design company. I was there for a couple of years continuing my work in the design community. That was a nice continuation of my work from LA to Atlanta. I was ready to leave Los Angeles and venture out. I’m a southern California girl, born and raised. So essentially, I relocated to Atlanta for work and for love. I’ve since branched out. The market here in Atlanta is a bit smaller than in Los Angeles. So I have been able to network more quickly. I’ve been in Atlanta for a little over three years now.

GJ: Were you doing interior design in Los Angeles?

LA: Yes, I think it had been a little over six years. I worked with two different companies over those six years.

GJ: How was the transition from Los Angeles to Atlanta? Was there some sort of adjustment that you had to make?

LA: From a professional standpoint, the adjustment was a warm welcome. Atlanta is a smaller city; it’s a smaller design community; a smaller market, and with that comes a closer-knit community. There is an ease while networking as I have found people are willing to share their network, connections and friends with you. I find that people want to see me win. They want to see others win. It’s been incredible. I feel like I have taken much larger strides here in Atlanta than I would have in Los Angeles. It has been amazing.

GJ: What sparked your interest in interior design?

LA: I started working with a firm in LA doing events. They had these large, massive art pieces. This firm would have events surrounding different collaborations with architects from around the world. I fell in love with how incredible things were, specifically the design process, and the materials. I traveled to Italy to learn about manufacturing which included furniture, lighting, bath products, and plumbing. An in-depth study of the back end of interior design. Through my jobs I have been able to travel around the world to learn about interior design from a technical and fundamental level. That very first job really made an impression and I slowly transitioned from doing events to doing interior design work with residential clients primarily. Ever since then, ten years ago on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, it has been what I am here to do.

GJ: You talked about your travels to Italy, where you learned about the backend of interior design. How important is it for an interior designer to know the backend versus the creative space aspect of interior design?

LA: You know, it has helped me quite a bit to know about the technical aspects, but I don’t think that without it you are doomed. You can certainly flourish as an interior designer without knowing what gauge of stainless steel a faucet is or things like that. For me it is important, because when I am on a job, I want to be able to communicate comfortably with a contractor or tradesman and know what I am saying to them.

GJ: What is the Leah Alexander brand?

LA: I am my brand. My company is called Beauty is Abundant. It is about manifesting abundance, faith and cultivating the life that you want. The brand is not living a small life. It embodies stepping into who you are as a person. It is me going as far as I go and creating beautiful spaces for my clients.

GJ: On your website, you mention sharing what you’ve learned with others. How important is sharing what you know with others? The reason I ask that question is because I don’t see a lot of that today. Usually when people get what they need, they are not willing to share. Tell me what this means to you.

LA: I have had many amazing experiences in my life from friends and mentors sharing with me what they know. Little things that they have shared have allowed me to be that more polished or in the know. Even little terms that they have shared. It is huge for me to be what people have been to me. It is so important. I do a lot of research as well. There are so many people on this planet. Sharing what you know cannot possibly take anything away from you. I am sharing because I know that I am abundance and sharing will not decrease my abundance.

GJ: Leah do you have a team that you work with?

LA: I do have a videographer and a graphic designer. I am looking for an intern now. I am building and I am growing.

GJ: How have you seen Beauty is Abundant evolve over time, since its inception?

LA: As I start to grow my clientele, there are things that I was doing a lot more of, like my blog, for example. I am obsessed with and love writing. I am having to make time to do that thing which I love, because I am trying to grow my client base. I am working more with clients, which is incredible and amazing. I have been shifting with more projects, bookkeeping items, and learning on the business side of what I do. I find that a lot of creatives don’t have these things in order. It feels good to get a firm grasp on these things.

GJ: What are some of the other services that you offer outside of interior design?

LA: I am so glad that you asked. I manage social media accounts of visually rich creatives, primarily in the design community. I am a content creator for interior designers. I also write for interior publications.

GJ: Leah I have seen several of your videos and there is a certain joy that exudes from you when you are in your element as a creative. Where does this consistent joy come from?

LA: You know, honestly Jonathan, I feel like I suck it out of my thumb. It is who I am. I believe that you attract what is in your mind. You are what you constantly think about.

GJ: I’ve had the opportunity to view your work Leah and I absolutely love it. It is clean, simple and modern. What is your aesthetic?

LA: I get this question a lot and I would say that it is a knowledgeable, tailored expression of my client’s aesthetic. I am not the designer with a set aesthetic that people seek after for a specific aesthetic. I am more so here to service my clients. We talk about what they want and get a clear understanding. Coming from California, there is a simple, not minimal, but less is more functional aesthetic. This translates even down to the font of my brand logo. It is clean and simple.

GJ: What are some of your latest projects? What are you working on currently?

LA: I am so excited about this six-home development that is currently under construction on the upper west side of Atlanta. It is 1768 Marietta, which is the name of the project. It was recently featured on Curbed, which made me happy. Two of them will be photographed by the end of the year. I am excited to share those. Four of them will continue under construction through the first part of 2020. I am also working on a project in Savannah. It is in the Savannah quarter. It is this massive home, currently under construction as well. There are other things up my sleeve as well that I am working on.

GJ: Give me three characteristics that embody the Beauty is Abundant brand.

LA: Heart-centered, purpose-driven and determined.

GJ: You mentioned purpose driven. As we previously discussed, I am a strong advocate for purpose and for people that are walking and living life on purpose. What does purpose driven mean to you and then how do you carry that over into your profession?

LA: Purpose for me means first contributing to my family. I have a younger brother and sister. They are watching me. I want them to know that if reporting to a 9 to 5 is not serving them, then they can create something that is their own that is profitable and fulfilling. They can do whatever they want to do. Also, showing up for myself; creating a reality where I answer to myself with love and without parameters. I am determined to make my mark and help shift paradigms.

GJ: With purpose comes relationship. For example, I did not know that you knew an individual that I know. You reached out to this person about me. How important is relationship building and how has that helped you?

LA: Relationships are priceless, and they are everything. I can take a passing glance and parlay it into a life-long friendship. That is how important it is to me. I want people to know that I see them. Sometimes I find people are startled that I know their name after only meeting them one time. It makes the world feel smaller and things feel more attainable and doable. You need people.

GJ: I know that you have a connection with ADAC. What is ADAC?

LA: I love sharing what ADAC is. It is a huge resource and I don’t think that people know what design centers can be to them. It is a design center. In basic description, it is a shopping mall for trade only resources for the home. You will have lighting showrooms, kitchen showrooms, wallpaper showrooms. Every single item for the home there is a showroom for it. My relationship with ADAC came from social media. They really liked some of the things that I was doing with my videos. They also have events for speakers. They brought me in to do many of the interviews. Since then, I have nurtured that relationship with ADAC.

GJ: If I were to come to you as a client and ask you for help, what would be my experience?

LA: We would have a lot of fun. I would ask a lot of questions. I would listen to you a lot. I would get a very clear picture of what you want your home to look like. Currently there is a lot of Pinterest involved, so a lot of people are getting their inspiration there. I look at photos that my client may provide me. Most recently, I had a consultation and the client’s inspiration was the staging in the home that they were under contract to purchase. So of course, I looked at that and got an idea. From there, a lot of the initial leg work is on me. I do preliminary sourcing to get an idea of what they have in mind. I present a 2D or 3D rendering of what the space would look like. Then we would get into approvals and purchasing. I would coordinate onsite delivery.

GJ: What is the next phase for Leah?

LA: I want to be booked six months out with amazing jobs and projects. I love the camera and am very comfortable in front of the camera. I would love to do more speaking engagements and more panel discussions. I would love to do segments on some TV show where I add value anyway I can. I would love to contribute more to publications on a regular basis. I do love writing about interiors. Eventually, have a big enough body of work to put in a coffee table book, Beauty is Abundant.

GJ: Leah, I ask everyone I interview this question. I firmly believe that when you are walking in purpose you will run into challenges that will try to throw you off course. As a result, these challenges make us stronger as people and really lend to the next level. What has been your biggest challenge as a creative in this market?

LA: I’d say that as a blossoming, bright-eyed entrepreneur, it would be balancing keeping the lights on while scaling my business. It’s an ongoing concept to manage. A lot of times the longer-term projects are not keeping the lights on at that moment. Those aren’t necessarily what’s generating immediate revenue. But at the same time, you know that they are worthwhile. Sometimes they cost you money. That balancing act is huge. And with any meaningful endeavor, some days you feel like a failure. Being an entrepreneur comes with risks. So far, they’ve all been worth it.

GJ: Is there anything that you want to share with me Leah that I did not ask?

LA: Yes. I always tell my Instagram family or anyone that I meet is that your beauty is abundant.

GJ: Thank you so much Leah for your time.

LA: You’re very welcome. Thank you, Jonathan!

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