Indira Martinez, Dominican architectural designer, talks about the creation of “The Home Design Studio”
Indira Martinez is a Dominican architectural designer who created a brand called ‘The home design studio.’
Since she was young, she has talked about building her empire and providing an opportunity for women in a male-dominated industry like real estate. She wanted to ensure that her group of qualified women not only had passion, but also drive and commitment to developing their business goals. As a rule, minorities and people of color are not strongly represented in fields such as architecture, real estate and design, instead of letting fear cripple her, she challenged herself. As an immigrant and single mother, she wanted to be more than a stereotype and overcame life’s setbacks. Martinez has made a name for himself flipping properties and improving his overall look. When selecting these projects, she examines each design for its unique architectural character as it symbolizes love, time and effort.
Martinez spoke with our correspondent Rebecca Eugene about becoming an entrepreneur and some of the lessons she learned along the way. She discusses the importance for everyone to have their own path to success and the fact that there is not just one way to achieve it.
Martinez’s work can be followed on his instagram at @indirammartinez
The Knockturnal: Talk to me about The home design studio and what was the process like to bring together all these women who have varied backgrounds and skills?
Indira Martinez: As far back as I can remember, I’ve talked about building an empire. The Home Design Studio is the start. My goal was to create a business that would allow me to give women the opportunity to enter a male-dominated industry. I wanted to give them a space to feel empowered, appreciated, and where they could thrive.
When I started researching the women I thought would be a perfect fit for this business, I looked outside the box. I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to be part of it. Background and skills were not the priority; the passion to be part of something big and the willingness to put in the time and work were the main requirements. I searched social media, talked to women I knew with these characteristics, and got to work pitching the idea. Their energy at that first introductory meeting of The Home Design Studio was the deciding factor.
The Knockturnal: Typically most minorities are not seen in your chosen role or career path, why do you think this is the case? How did you get into architectural design and real estate?
Indira Martinez: Real estate is not normally inherited for Latinos/Hispanics, minorities in general. Therefore, it is not among the first conversations our parents have or they have with us. I had to educate myself on the benefits of owning a home, investing and selling for a profit. Where I grew up, owning a home was a distant thought for many.
I remember my biggest fear when buying my first home was not being good enough for the bank, not having enough credit, not making enough money… just feeling like I didn’t belong (the same feeling I had when I walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch store at 16).
Many in my community and culture are paralyzed by these same fears. The fear of not belonging or being good enough to close your first real estate deal, let alone have a career as a real estate investor, has held minorities back for far too long.
There is a huge gap in minority homeownership rates, but things are changing.
Likewise, a career in architectural design is not common because one does not really know what it is. I learned architectural design in 2019 with one of my flips. I taught myself to use architectural design software and programs. After discovering and exploring this area of design, I learned how much I love it.
The Knockturnal: As an immigrant and single mother, how have you been able to overcome the difficulties you have encountered in life? What do you tell yourself to stay motivated? How did you manage to manage the doubt of yourself and the doubt of others?
Indira Martinez: I overcome struggles every day. But today I am stronger, wiser and fearless.
As an immigrant and a single mother, you automatically become a statistic. However, I refused to be another number. Since I had a full-time job in a company, I also had a side job. Having a side hustle always felt like second nature and it was necessary. Not because I wanted to have one but because climbing the corporate ladder as a (Latina) woman was not easy. I was often denied opportunities, but that didn’t stop me. After those setbacks, I always reminded myself “everything happens for a reason, so if one thing doesn’t work, try another” and that kept me motivated. Missing your mark or failing at something you try is never the end of the story.
Dealing with self-doubt and the doubt of others is the hardest thing. Once it sets in, it takes away your drive and motivation. I managed to overcome it by surrounding myself with people who encouraged me and did not allow me to give up. They believed in me more than I believed in myself at times. Your environment really is the key to success!
The Knockturnal: When flipping a property, what do you keep in mind for the project?
Indira Martinez: Beyond budget, I focus a lot on maintaining a property’s original charm. I normally renovate houses that have a unique architectural design. The unique architecture means it was a love project, there was time and effort put into making it exclusive. By keeping its originality and adding a touch of luxury, I give the property back its exclusivity. Because luxury = exclusivity, not everyone can have the same one.
The Knockturnal: How do you define your design style when working on a property renovation? What are your must-haves?
Indira Martinez: My design style when working on a property renovation is to be a chameleon to meet the needs of individual buyers or clients. I’m a big believer in functionality and the energy of space, therefore, it’s important to incorporate what feels organic into a room while having great design ideas. The location and original architectural design are always good starting points for determining creative and design perspectives. This helps determine whether the design style will be contemporary, modern, rustic, etc. Regardless of the overall style, I strive to use quality materials in all my designs and to create inviting spaces and create an experience for my clients. For example, one of my favorite designs is to incorporate the walk-in closet inside the master bathroom. Customers love this touch!
The Knockturnal: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Indira Martinez: The best advice anyone gave me is “Be happy, what’s the alternative?” I think about it every day, and I try my best to choose happiness every day
The Knockturnal: What advice would you give to those who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Indira Martinez: My advice to someone who wants to follow in my footsteps is to start as a side hustle, but START. Don’t wait for the right moment, it never happens or be 100% ready, it never happens. The startup will help you understand the industry. Meet the experts to whom you can ask questions. You won’t learn the ins and outs, pros and cons of buying, fixing, and investing in real estate until you get started.
The Knockturnal: What do you think are the three most important habits for being a successful entrepreneur?
Indira Martinez: The 3 most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur are:
As entrepreneurs, it’s important to remember that the road ahead will be less bumpy along the way. There are three important habits that kept me grounded on this trip.
- Consistency is key and consistency breeds success.
- Just start! I can’t stress that enough. I think a lot of times we think that if we’re not 100% ready, we shouldn’t go for it. Let me say this is so far from my truth. I live my life by the 70/30 rule. Feel at least 70% ready, take a chance, and the rest will happen naturally.
- Finally, surround yourself with successful people. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Learn to network and never stop learning from the people at the top. Once you’ve reached this point, it’s time to build your team.
The Knockturnal: Do you have anything else to share?
Indira Martinez: If I could share anything, it would be that success is not linear and I didn’t have a clear path to success. The thing, though, is that I didn’t let fear or doubt or insecurities stop me. As you find yourself on this path and this journey, fear creeps in, more times than you can imagine. The key is to anticipate and look beyond the circumstances.
A problem you are facing today will probably not be there in a year, focus on the future. And, “Be happy and keep moving forward, because giving up should never be an option.”