Baltimore native Ajia Monet didn’t take the conventional path to try and hone her interior design skills. Rather than going to college or a university, she has leaned on her natural creativity and skill to transform various spaces. However, her journey required a leap of faith from a job that she had in order to pay the bills in order to pursue both her passion and skill. Black Enterprise recently met with the founder of A’Blige Interior Designs to explain how she managed to take hold of a new career path.
Monet’s business started in 2015, following a five-year career with the U.S. Postal Service. The genesis for a change came from her friends. “My friends always admired my home and how I designed it. My father is an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry. Working for him, I saw the dedication he gave to his business and I adopted his work ethic. He inspired me and I knew that I could also create something great too. Working for someone else was no longer an option,” she explains. In time, she would narrow things down from architecture to real estate, but when realizing that seeing what other people did with their homes was the most interesting things, interior design became clear.
Starting with a one-bedroom apartment with a $350 budget, Monet has managed to grow her business quite a bit, currently designing Robyn Dixon’s home from The Real Housewives of Potomac. This marks the first time a home she designs will be on national television. Even with this growth of work, A’Blige is still small in terms of its staff. “People think I have this huge team, but I don’t. I have a remarkable project manager, Denise Cooper, who holds it all together,” Monet says.
When asked about where she gets her inspiration, Money offered a rather surprising answer: “Hotels, hotels, and hotels! The attention to detail is so important in the hotel industry. Boutique hotels inspire me the most. I can literally look at a lamp in the lobby and within five seconds I have envisioned an entire design concept.”
When it comes to the future, A’Blige and its owner are not content to rest on their laurels. “My project manager Denise Cooper and I are working in collaboration on our very own décor line that is currently in production. She and I will also be launching new e-design services which will be available on our website,” she says.