Ashlina Kaposta of The Decorista
In the world of interior design blogging, The Decorista is a household name, and anyone who has met Ashlina Kaposta, the girl behind the blog, can attest that her success is well-deserved. Not only does Ashlina work around-the-clock hours as an interior designer and maintaining her site, she can almost always be found in attendance at design conferences both as a speaker and as an attendee supporting her design-savvy friends. Her enthusiasm is genuine, and her cheerfulness is contagious. With a new self-adhesive wallpaper line that's as fun as she is—graphic stripes! chevron! animal prints!—launching late spring, she's showing no signs of slowing down.
Aiding Ashlina on her path to working for herself and running several businesses have been the two courageous and challenging moves she's made over the past several years. She first relocated from her home town of Austin, Texas to Los Angeles after graduation, and most recently, she ventured cross-country from LA to the Big Apple. We've asked Ashlina to explain the motivation behind her brave, life-changing moves, and how they've helped shape her as both a woman and a brand.
Name: Ashlina Kaposta
Title: Senior Marketing and Events Manager
Hometown: Austin, TX
Educational background: Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from The University of Houston
Tell us about your job and daily responsibilities: I now am a full time self-employed interior decorator, writer/author, creative director of my blog, and currently working on product as we speak. After launching my blog, TheDecorista.com, I was instantly allowed more opportunities to grow and shape my career the way I wanted to. After a lot of time, hard work, and stepping out on faith, I created a career path for myself.
What was your first job out of college and how did you land that position?
I worked for JF CHEN antique showroom in Los Angeles. It's probably the place to shop for one-of-a-kind original vintage furniture in LA. I found it through a head hunter when I first moved to LA from Texas. It was such a fabulous job; I had no idea I would meet so many incredibly talented people.
Where are you from and what other cities have you lived in?
I am originally from Austin, Texas; then moved to Los Angeles, California; and most recently, I've moved to New York City.
When and why did you move?
Back in February, I put all of my things in storage in LA because my lease was up, and I wanted to go to NYC for a design project opportunity. I only came with two suitcases, planning on staying with family for a few weeks to really experience the city. I never realized how much opportunity was here. So much happened for me so quickly, and now I have been here one year.
Why LA? And then New York? Did you consider any other cities?
When I was in middle school, I was flown out to LA to do a commercial. (Yes, I was a teen actress wannabe.) I was mystified by the weather and the beauty of southern California. I knew at that moment I would someday live in Los Angeles. So after college, there was no question, and I went straight for it. I just had that gut feeling. My heart belongs to LA: the culture and the lifestyle have completely shaped my aesthetic. A lot of me is very old Hollywood glamour. But as much as I love LA, there was always something about Manhattan that tugged at my heart strings. I dreamed of experiencing what living and working in Manhattan would be like, but I never actually thought I would live here. Sometimes, life circumstances lead you to places that you never thought you would be, and you just have to have an open heart and go with it.
Where did you live when you first moved? How did you find your current home?
When I first got to the city, I was living in my cousin's apartment in Chinatown. It was interesting to say the least, but after time I found my home in the Upper West Side. I am in love with this neighborhood; I am close to Central Park and a bunch of museums, fantastic restaurants, vintage shops, etc. The buildings up here are so beautiful, and I love that there are three Starbucks within a one block radius of me. Everything is so convenient up here, and I sort of feel like I live in the suburbs, which is something I miss about LA. It's the perfect mix for me. And did I mention I am one block from a major subway stop? I love this!
How did you go about meeting people and making friends? Would you have made the move if you had not already known anyone in the city?
Thank goodness for blogging! I have family here and a few friends that lived here already but I have gotten to know most of my best friends through the blog and design worlds. It was an instant bridge for me to make fast friends with similar interests. So, I knew a ton of people by the time I got here. Would I have made the move otherwise? Probably. Something about being lost and exploring a new city excites me.
How have your moves affected your career aspirations?
Moving to big cities like LA and New York has been everything for my life. The experience of living around people who have big dreams has helped encourage me. Seeing things that are written about in books is highly intoxicating. Traveling and seeing the designs of different cities have shaped my knowledge and aesthetic so much. In NYC, the people here are 'go-getters' and that energy just rubs off on you, so I have had the guts to go after what I want to achieve.
What was the most challenging aspect of your move?
Everything. Living in New York City is not easy, but it's absolutely worth it.
Have you ever regretted either your move to Los Angeles or your move to New York City?
No! I know that I would have regretted not doing them.
What is your favorite thing about living in New York? Least favorite thing?
My favorite thing about New York is literally walking out of my door and feeling the energy. The city never sleeps, and I love that. There is something to do at just about every single moment. It's very cool. My least favorite thing was the process of looking for an apartment. Real estate here is just impossible.
What advice would you have for anyone considering relocating to a new city? Relocating to NYC specifically?
Honestly, moving to a new city can be so refreshing, but you have to move for the right reasons and determine what the city will give you. I miss the lifestyle that I lived in LA: sunny days, beach time, outdoor fitness, vegan-friendly restaurants. That lifestyle makes me happy, and I believe you have to go with what makes you happy!
New York gives me business opportunity, creative ideas, like-minded entrepreneurs, and access to events and people I need to know at this point of my career. This is where I need to be. New York City is very special. If you want to move here, be ready to toughen up. The train is going at full speed, so you either have to get on or get off. I say go for it, and be open for the challenge. It will enhance you for future success, and you will never be the same. This city has tested me so many times. I have been robbed, had a horrible, abusive boss, and even went through a bit of heartbreak. But at the end of the day, I am living my wildest dream. It's kind of like the stuff that movies are made of.
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
Do not conform to what other people think you should do. Ever. Have absolute faith in your instincts, and be quick to make a decision and stick with it. If you are double-minded, you will never get to where you want to be. Be ready to give up your time and energy to others willingly or freely. Get excited about the opportunity, and don't ever feel like you are owed anything. I have done work for free, overly given of my resources, and went out of my way to help other people find their passion or success. And those are the things that will reward you the most. Me at 23 would be saying to me at 30, "That's my girl!"