The biggest challenge was when I moved country
Alicia is an artist and interior designer who owns her own business called AZ Interiors. Her treasured bike rides through the scenic backdrop of Cambridge and her positive attitude towards her work and life can be seen reflected in the vibrancy of her acrylic and oil paintings and her dedication in the quality of her designs.
Tell us about AZ Interiors
“AZ Interiors specializes in helping clients to achieve their vision and potential for their living or working space. I am based in Cambridge and work on mostly residential commissions, sometimes cafés and restaurants – from time to time I work in London but I try to keep local. Plenty of interesting houses around Cambridge!”
Is it true you also paint?
“Yes, I studied fine art. I call this my “professional hobby”. It’s kind of my meditation; no client, no budget, no nothing – I just do what I love. I spend a lot of time on the business but often my clients end up buying my art so it combines well. I’m one of the lucky people who absolutely love what I’m doing.”
Elaborate on what moved you onto this career path?
“I was one of those kids who knew from the beginning they were going into art and design. I grew up in a small village where it wasn’t considered a “proper career” – I remember saying to my grandmother, “no, I’ll to prove you – you can be proud.” I did masters, product design before finally deciding I wanted to do interior design and I finished my exams from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland. This was my biggest achievement and from that point I knew I could get anywhere.”
How do you feel your work is important in the grand scheme of things?
“As an art student I recall a gallery owner talking to me about pricing my work. Not my strong point! She said “you have to understand you’re creating culture.” Little picture: I want to do interior design and my painting, I enjoy it. But bigger picture: To open eyes – that’s important. If we don’t have culture what is left?”
If you could speak right now to someone who is affected by the work that you do, what would you say to them?
“I recall one lady saying; “I think I’m addicted to your art. Every time I look it makes me feel better.” So I’d ask; does it make you feel better? Do you enjoy your home more?”
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
“The biggest challenge was when I moved country. I was a very established designer and artist when I lived in Poland but then I moved to the UK for my ex-husband and children. This meant leaving contacts and stasis behind and when you work on recommendation and client trust it’s difficult to start over. I think for us mums it’s even more difficult; there are kids, school runs, it’s not just concentrating on your career but also family. Finding a balance.”
How do you motivate and organize yourself
“I think I learned what to do when I became a mum while still running my company. I would have the baby sitter in the morning and I knew I couldn’t waste a minute because I’d have to be ready for when they left. When I like projects I don’t need any motivation though, I can’t wait to crack on.”
What advice would you give to any budding artists and designers out there?
“I would advise to do maximum, not minimum. Do extra, go to design shows, go to events in London and find out what’s happening in that world. Try and get an apprenticeship and try all opportunities. “Say yes of course that would be very interesting” even when someone asks you to design or do something you’ve never done before. Ask yourself how you’re going to do this. You have to be bold and brave and try, or someone else will.”
And finally for our readers and potential members; what do you believe The Rising Network can do for you, and people like yourself?
“I like the idea of a network for women in business because only women can understand what it means to be one in business. That said, it’s less about business for me and more about meeting similar minded women and learning something from different areas. Knowing I can call them and ask for advice, and give advice in return. They aren’t just takers, they’re giving too – that’s what I like.”
“When people buy my art I always say it’s the most pleasant way to earn money; I love when I do that, when I put all myself into it. Because when someone buys art it’s not because they have to, or need to; it’s because they want to.”
If you’d like to see Alicia’s interior design business yourself please check out her website:
“Certain encounters with the natural world make a vivid impression on me, and this is where the pictures begin.” To see Alicia’s paintings click on the link below: