What does it take to create a green interior design that’s beautiful and practical? Ask Nancy Astrid Lindo of Astrid Design Studio, green entrepreneur and trail-blazer in the world of ecological interior and exterior designs. Even in a down economy, she’s found ways to thrive and spread the word about the affordability and beautify of sustainability.
Can you describe what Astrid Design Studio is all about? What’s your main mission and how to do go about accomplishing it?
Astrid Design Studio is an eco-interior design and green consulting firm. We are a boutique studio, focused on residential and commercial interior and exterior design, based on the principals of ecological design.
In the green consulting facet of our work, the basis of our projects is on educating our residential and commercial clients on the elements of integrating living and working sustainably and incorporating a richer way of life.
Education is one of our main missions. Inspiring people and reminding them of the power they have in the decisions they make on a day to day basis.
What kind of training did you need in order to provide your services?
I was classically trained in interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I later received two permaculture certificates studying with some of the top permaculture teachers. I studied under Penny Livingston and Brock Dolman at The Regenerative Design Studio in Bolinas and later with Larry Santoyo of EarthFlow in Los Angeles. I also received a certificate in Green Building from Sonoma State University and also became LEED accredited.
What did it take to get your business off the ground? Was it a lot of work?
A lot of passion and dedication. My first year and a half I worked 15 hour days seven days a week. Very unsustainable but was very happy doing what I loved. I never felt like I was working.
Did you need external finances to get started?
I did take a family loan and put some basic purchases on credit.
Is it more expensive to create sustainable designs, both indoors and outdoors?
Not at all. That is simply a myth. These days there are a lot of sustainable options available. In essence, there may be a little more research involved, but the payoff is infinite!
How do you attract clients? What types of marketing do you find most effective for advertising your services?
I love networking and found it to be a natural gift. I never had any qualms about emailing top people in the industry and inviting them to a cup of coffee – people are a lot more open than one may think.
Are there any mistakes that you made on this entrepreneurial journey that you would like to share with other green entrepreneurs?
Not working so hard. Your productivity naturally goes down, best to always take care of yourself and staff fresh!
Are you profitable? If not, when do you hope to be profitable?
It took me into my second year to be profitable – I began my company at the beginning of the economic crash. Design is a difficult industry in of itself, and a down economy and housing market didn’t help. None the less, I persisted!
What advice would you have for other aspiring green and social entrepreneurs?
Always follow your calling – no matter what. Stay humble and take criticism with grace and gratitude.