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Life and Work with Marina B.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marina B.

Marina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I never liked to follow trends as much as I was driven to create my own. I remember dreaming as a little girl of becoming a Fashion Designer and having my own clothing or jewelry line, so I could create unique pieces and styles. I always knew I wanted to make beautiful things around me, but I could have never imagined that I would become an Interior Designer and have opportunities and abilities to Style Homes. We can dream about what we’re going to be and do in our lives, we can predict, we can study and plan, but we never know our true talents until we find that passion for something within ourselves and experience the pure joy of having our talents recognized by our peers.

Born and raised in Eastern Europe, I moved to Miami later in life, where I fell in love with the upscale lifestyle. Though I had earned a Master’s Degree in accounting, I was not inspired to pursue a career in that direction.  I tried finding my true self in many industries, such as retail, supply chain management, jewelry sales, casino administration, marketing. While I found success in these roles and gained significant professional experience, I still did not feel complete.

After getting married, I joined professional forces with my husband, who has, besides his main job, passion for real state and is also a certified professional, and together we began flipping houses. As a duo, we were involved in every step of the home flipping process:  from real estate research and acquisition to rebuilding and remodeling from the ground up, to designing, decorating, staging and selling. It was during this chapter of my career when I tapped into my talent for interior design and realized that I possessed a unique and elegant vision for interior spaces.

After successfully buying, remodeling, designing, staging and selling our first few houses, we then purchased our dream home which we decided to make our own and raise our family in. We completely rebuilt, remodeled and redesigned it; giving me a 4000+ square-foot blank canvas to practice my skills and let my imagination and creativity run wild. I had two children back to back, my house to design and decorate and my wings to fly!

It was during this time that I began sharing my passion for Interior Design on Instagram @Marina.B.Style; sharing my own home design and my client’s homes that I had a pleasure designing and decorating. My Instagram account quickly grew (over 69,000 followers in just 18 months), and without any advertising, I began to have followers reaching out to me from across the United States for help in designing their homes. I immediately saw the need for E-Design solutions and began creating online designs for clients near and far; providing guidance in decorating their homes in a modern, glamorous style. It did help me to spread my wings and to set new highs! I remember when I gained my first online client, I thought “am I really going to do what I love and enjoy the most, and get paid for it?!” I still feel that way, as I am so thankful to be able to make a career out of my hobby and passion.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to inspire people through my home, my style, and my work.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road is never smooth; there are always going to be bumps along the way. The higher we set our goals, the more obstacles we will face. But that’s what makes the journey YOURS. Those are MY bumps and I’m thankful for each and every one of them. I look at the road to success as an obstacle course, with each turn presenting you with another challenge to overcome and another way to learn and improve from it. Then, checkmark, next!

I’d say some of my struggles stemmed from my insecurities, and with that dealing with negativity. When you put yourself out there to a public audience, you’re automatically being judged, compared to others, and even criticized. I guess I wasn’t ready to be exposed to all of the public scrutinies so fast, so I felt sensitive to some negative comments. So, I trained myself to look at it from a different perspective. I can’t please everyone, as we all have different styles and tastes, and I’m ok with that.

This change of perspective was challenging for me, as I was raised to never say a negative comment to someone if their work or personal style didn’t match my own. I will surely respect it! They are trying to do something and to do their best. So am I. So, it has definitely been a learning curve for me, but I now respond to negative comments with a smiley face and “thanks for your opinion!” I’m proud to say that I have battled through my insecurities.  I fully accept and welcome healthy criticism and I’m not emotionally affected by negative comments any more.  Checkmark, next!

One of my earliest professional challenges (and favorite one at the same time!) was learning on my own how to bring my creativity and vision to life: composing my E-Design presentations and delivering them to my clients in a professional way.

I was receiving hundreds of messages/inquiries, along with the compliments about the software I was using and where I’ve learned it, when in fact, I was self-taught and creating my designs using PowerPoint Presentation! As I responded and explained to those who’s asked me, all of my E-designs were crafted using images of desired furnishings and decor, my creativity and the PowerPoint! I now work with a specialist, who creates 3D visual renderings using professional design software. As for me, I still love my PowerPoint and use it from time to time. 🙂

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
People often tell me that I have a very unique style and a natural eye for interior design and home decorating. I classify my style as “Modern and Glamorous”: sleek, clean, elegant and timeless lines, crossed by dramatic, luxury… an almost “untouchable” chic. I don’t work by the “book” of design and that’s why I strongly believe that no one can actually just “learn” how to be a successful Interior Designer, Home Stylist or Decorator.  They must feel it.  We can study law or science, but STYLE is within us.

We may find inspiration in someone’s designs and ideas, re-create it with our own touch or even copy-paste it, but in the end, its a work of art that will always have someone’s “signature” on it.  I love unique products, I love mixing what’s not necessarily “matching”, I even love mixing design styles altogether. I have no problems with taking my clients’ existing transitional furniture and “Glamming it Up” with modern and luxurious decor. I’ve created my own hashtag #GlammedUpHome where I share some tips on how to add a sparkle to any space and decorate in the most sophisticated way for any season or occasion, using simple and affordable decor. I like to use things in decor for different purposes than they meant to be used for. For instance, I’ve used a spiky gold wall mirror as a decorative table tray and received an insane amount of compliments on it because it looked so unique!  I use vases as candle holders and candle holders as vases.

What am I most proud of? Honestly, believing in myself after all.  I came to America as a young girl just 10 years ago, in my 20’s, barely understanding and almost not speaking English. After finding my true self and my biggest passion, I’m now so proud and thankful to be trusted by so many people across the USA to design their homes and to be a part of their home improvement efforts. Every design project is my baby, and my goal is to make each of my clients have sparkles in their eyes every time they enter their home!

I’m also so honored, and extremely grateful, to be afforded the opportunity to work and partner with some of the biggest brands and manufacturers in the United States, including: Home Goods, Pottery Barn (where I’m hosting my “Meet & Greet” event in Miami), Houzz, Corbett, Capitol Lighting, Swarovski, Rugs USA, and more.

I enjoy being involved in both the Fashion and Home Decor industries. I’m still working on making my biggest dream come true soon (remember that little girl who didn’t like to follow the trends, but to create her own)?!

I’ve always said, designing and decorating a home is just like being a fabulous woman: we all love to get “Glammed Up” by getting our makeup, nails, and hair done, dressing up, and putting perfume and jewelry on. The same can be said for the way we need to “Glam Up” our homes! This is where we spend the most amount of time in our lives, where our families are growing, where we create memories, where we start and end every day, and it is so important that we enjoy being there and love every part of that space. So, let’s all “Glam Up” our homes too!  It’s so simple and affordable now, as you can transform a space with the right mix of flowers, candles, vases, mirrors, lighting, pillows, etc.

Which women have inspired you in your life? Why?
I used to only say my mom because she is 100% self-made.  She left her small village and family at the age of 16 to travel alone, with no money and no connections, to a big city to get an education. At the age of 22, she was already a manager with a large manufacturer. Then, at the age of 30, after getting married and having two kids, and juggling a full-time job in a finance department, she continued her education in the evenings and weekends.  After many years, she graduated from University and later became the CFO of a large oil company. She has also been my very best friend, my number one supporter and even my biggest critic at times. She is the most kind and giving person I’ve ever known, and I’ve been inspired by this woman my entire life. I am privileged to call her my mother, and I have always put her on a pedestal where I felt that I wouldn’t admire any other women as much as I admire her.

But that was before I met other women later in life: my amazing girlfriends, followers and other influencers in the Instagram community, who have shown me that I can also find incredible inspiration from so many other women in my world.  Home decor lovers, housewives, business owners, social workers, all the superhero ladies! They are talented, they are beautiful, they are strong, they are mothers and hard workers! Now, THIS is my favorite part of Instagram and being in the public eye… getting to know these incredible women and hearing their stories!

Some of them are single moms with two or more kids, working towards education, some rebuilding their lives… or foreigners, like myself, with so much passion, but limited abilities. Each of them have their own story to share, stories that inspire and motivate me every day! One of my recent clients, who is a single, hardworking, mom, was saving her money so she could hire me so that her kids could enjoy living in a beautiful home. I literally had tears and gave her a huge discount on my design service in a show of support. I’m all about supporting women, giving each other strength, confidence and guidance in any and every possible way.

So, the bottom line and my philosophy on this is the following: although men maybe some of our biggest supporters, mentors, and our rocks; women are our most powerful motivation. They are our wings! Not to be compared in beauty or size, {#SayNoToJealousy}; but to spread and enable us to fly near each other, measuring our highs together and lifting each other up all the way into the sky! {#WomenEmpowerWomen}

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