RISING GEMS: Christina Johnson of Design My Investment

Inspiring Stories of Women Turning Passion into Success

Today, women are coming into their own, discovering their untapped potential, and chasing after boundless opportunities. In light of this revelatory era, a new wave of female entrepreneurs is being brought forth, stepping forward to blaze trails, and defy stereotypical conventions. They are our next visionaries, dreamers, and innovators; harnessing their passions and transforming mere ideas into thriving businesses. 

“Rising Gems” is an ongoing series where The Bold Maven fosters well-deserved dialogue surrounding remarkable women who have fearlessly pursued their dreams and carved their own nontraditional paths toward success. In doing so, we at TBM are able to shine a light on the brilliance and resilience of those who undoubtedly shape their own destinies and leave an indelible mark on the world. Through their unwavering determination and drive, these female entrepreneurs are undeniable examples of women’s uncanny ability to do anything they put their minds to. 

In this month’s issue, we dive deep into the inspiring journey of Christina Johnson, co-founder of the design firm, Design My Investments. Through our exclusive interview with Christina, we uncover the driving forces behind her entrepreneurial spirit and the challenges she faced along the way. 

Join us as we explore Christina’s path to success, highlighting the ingenuity and creativity that have propelled her to new heights in the world of interior design. Through her unwavering commitment to excellence and her bold vision for the future, Christina exemplifies the spirit of empowerment and possibility that defines the Rising Gems series.

A: Can you tell us about your journey of turning your passion into a successful business venture? What inspired you? Were there any challenges?

C: Even as a young child, I had an eye for home design and the creative aspects of fashion. I was inspired by my mom who always kept a well-decorated house in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Creativity of all kinds inspires me including art, music, furniture design and nature. I love using my own imagination fueled by shapes, natural materials and colors (and the moods that they evoke).

Candidly growing up in a challenging household, service to others became the refuge that inspired me to believe in a brighter future and helped me to redefine my narrative. After moving to Atlanta in pursuit of that future, I purchased and decorated my first home. The overwhelming response that I received from friends and family fueled my belief that I had a talent, gifting and passion for interior design. Shortly thereafter, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges became my first paid client!  Now, our company, Design My Investment services high-net worth musicians, athletes, urbanites, influencers and business moguls. Through self-belief, perseverance, faith and a lot of hard work, I have been able to turn my passion into a career.

My road to entrepreneurship was not without its challenges. Most of the challenges were stepping stones for growth as an entrepreneur. As an African American woman, I’ve learned so much through trial and era.  From dealing with contractors who didn’t respect women as project managers, to disrespectful clients, late vendors, incorrect orders, bounced retainer check and in the early days, working paycheck to paycheck (sigh). I always say that business ownership is for everyone (especially people of color), but everyone is not built for business ownership. You must develop  tough skin and a lot of self-belief; and a little faith doesn’t hurt.

Reflecting on this journey, I’ve confronted challenges head on, and they have only fueled my determination to succeed. Celebrating milestones, from being a solo designer to now having a shared firm with an amazing business partner, has turned challenges into a narrative of triumph. I stand as proof of the transformative power of resilience, faith, and pursuing one’s passions. 

A: How do you approach networking and building connections in your industry? Do you leverage your social media platform in making those connections?

C: Networking, marketing and brand-building are the lifeblood of any company, especially in the service industry where authenticity is key!

Living in Atlanta, a city with a rich cultural tapestry has provided ample opportunities to engage creatives, professionals and like-minded individuals. I believe in the power of face-to face connections and actively participate in industry events, conferences, and local meetups. My business partner, Phylea Carter and I have made a commitment to actively engage in these interactions, not only foster relationships but also offer insights and perspectives that enrich our understanding of the industry. 

Social media serves as a valuable extension of our networking strategy. All entrepreneurs understand that building meaningful connections is never a transaction but a journey of mutual growth. Platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram enable me to connect with professionals and clients globally, share insights, and stay updated on industry trends. It’s not just about expanding our network. It’s about creating a community where knowledge and experiences can be exchanged.

Consistency in my online presence, whether through thought-provoking content or engaging in meaningful conversations has proven to be instrumental. Social media engagement is not just a one-way conversation. It’s the purposeful engagement and learning from the diverse voices within my expanding network.

By fostering genuine relationships both online and offline, I contribute to a network that goes beyond professional collaborations—it becomes a supportive community where ideas flourish and success is shared.

A: How do you incorporate innovation and creativity into your business strategies?

C: Innovation and creativity are at the heart of our design business strategies and reflect the passion with which we approach our work. In a rapidly evolving landscape, staying ahead of outdated trends requires a proactive imagination and a commitment to thinking outside the box.  Anticipating change and positioning ourselves to adapt and thrive is critical to our survival and success, even allowing us to sustain and grow during the pandemic.

We also foster a culture of creativity within our team. Encouraging diverse artistic perspectives and empowering individuals to voice unconventional ideas sparks innovation. I believe that the most groundbreaking decor often arise from collaborative brainstorming sessions where every voice is heard.

Staying abreast of emerging trends, technologies, and industry developments allows us to identify opportunities for innovation.  At Design My Investment, continuous learning is a cornerstone of our approach.

A: What role does mentorship and support networks play in your entrepreneurial journey?

C: Early in my career, I sought out mentors who had navigated the nuances of the interior design industry but couldn’t find ones who reflected my taste, culture and vibe. They literally would not  help me! So, my learning came from intensively researching designers and their usage of colors, shapes and space planning and asking lots of questions when in the presence of great, spatial artists. Despite not having many active mentors, I am blessed to have an amazing community of friends, coworkers, professionals and associations that support my career and my active, personal life.

This has fueled my passion to help other emerging designers of color.  I firmly believe that pouring into the lives of others is the tuition that you pay for success and greatness! As an African American, female, entrepreneur, I am committed to helping future designers, and encourage them to pay it forward for the support they’ve received. This contributes to the growth of our industry and ensures a thriving community for the next generation of interior designers.

A: What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

C: To fellow my aspiring female entrepreneurs, I would offer the following advice:

  1. Embrace Your Unique Perspective: Recognize the strength in your unique experiences and perspective as a woman. Your insights and approach can be powerful assets in shaping innovative solutions and building a distinct brand.
  2. Build a Support System: Surround yourself with a strong support system, both personally and professionally. Seek out mentors, join networking groups, and connect with other female entrepreneurs who can provide guidance, encouragement, and a shared understanding of the challenges you may face.
  3. Don’t Fear Failure; Embrace Learning: Failure is here to teach us to do things differently next time around. Embrace the lessons that come with challenges and view them as opportunities for growth and refinement. Resilience is often born from overcoming setbacks!
  4. Prioritize Self-Care: Entrepreneurship can be demanding, but it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is not a luxury but a necessity for sustained success. Remember that your health is your greatest asset.
  5. Be Bold and Take Calculated Risks: Trust your instincts and be bold in pursuing your goals. At the same time, make informed decisions by assessing risks and opportunities. Entrepreneurship often involves taking calculated risks and finding that balance is key.
  6. Seek Continuous Learning: The business landscape evolves rapidly, so commit to a mindset of continuous learning. Stay informed about industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices. This knowledge will empower you to adapt and stay competitive.
  7. Celebrate Your Achievements: Take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Recognizing and appreciating your achievements not only boosts morale but also fuels the motivation to reach for higher goals.

Remember, there is only one you! Your journey is unique, and the challenges you face are opportunities to showcase your resilience and determination. You have the capacity to make a significant impact, not just as a female entrepreneur, but as a leader!

With Design My Investments, Christina Johnson has not only established a design firm but has also cultivated an environment that empowers individuals to envision and manifest their dream spaces with flair. 

Her journey serves as a poignant reminder of the limitless potential within women, and we eagerly anticipate the ongoing prosperity and expansion of Design My Investments under her and her partner’s visionary leadership.

Want to know more? Follow Christina on her journey:

Website: https://www.designmyinvestment.com/

Social Media 

Instagram: @christinajohnson_ 

Design My Investment: @designmyinvestment

Facebook: Christina Johnson

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