I'm interviewing real-life designers about what it is like to run a design business in countries all over the world. As you'll see these designers have all different backgrounds and experiences, but I think you'll be surprised how similar we all are too.
About Ana Asturias
Despite being a trained dancer with a BS in Biology, 8 years ago Ana opened Lo Studio in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She is also a graduate of The Golden Blueprint, my business training program for interior designers. Typical projects for Lo Studio are high-end residential and office spaces for single men.
Why did you become an interior designer?
I love design and I love to transform objects and spaces (I also do the same work with clothes).
What are the requirements to be an interior designer in Guatemala?
There are no requirements. You can work either if you graduate from a university or if you are self-taught.
What does a successful interior design business look like in Guatemala?
The biggest one is owned by a French designer. He has like 8 junior designers working with him, he has a store where he sells furniture designed by him.
What is the biggest struggle you face as a designer in Guatemala?
There are many struggles in many areas. Interior Design is not seen as a true profession. People often don’t have an idea of the amount of work it takes to achieve their wishes until they work with us. Everybody wants the services and the products with the standard of The Three B´s. That is Bueno, Bonito y Barato. That stands for Good, Beautiful and Cheap. Sometimes we lack variety in products. We don´t have an insurance policy. ASODI, the Interior Design Association, doesn't have leadership. Its hard to find inspiration in the country since there are not fairs. There is one that is organized by a private company, but they reach a different target than mine.
Do you see any differences between design in the US and Guatemala? If so, what are they?
You have a very established career, with laws that help you work with the clients. Clients take you very seriously. You have a lot of choices of where to buy.
What does it take to be a successful designer in your country?
Good taste, good timing, good budget.
How do you charge?
Depending on the project we charge 3 different ways 1) Flat fee for the whole project 2) Flat fee for the design part and a percentage (15%) of the cost of purchases and contractors fee 3) Per hour.
What traits or talents have made you successful?
My work ethic, my passion, my honesty and the fact that I anticipate what is going to be the next “it” thing in color, objects or tendencies.
What is your ideal project?
High-end projects, residential or commercial, of a man in his 40´s, with a wife and 2 kids. We love when we design everything. Space, arquitectural features, color, furniture, illumination and interior design. Right now I’m working on a Makeup Studio where I’m also working the branding.
What is the design community/ design industry like in your country?
We work very separately.
How has your business changed since taking The Golden Blueprint?
It has changed a lot (so I’m going to be forever grateful to you!!!!) I made a lot of changes in many areas. We restore and update our website, we are now posting much more in social media, we made lots and lots of systems to make our business work clearer (since I have a business partner, this has helped a lot in clarifying the processes). We have implemented the contract and an Initial Package. The Golden Blueprint gave us a lot of information and tools to organize and clarify our business.
You can contact Ana at www.lostudio.co.
With the exception of the title photo, photos courtesy of Ana Asturias.