District Boss: Mariella Cruzado of Splendor Styling

District Boss: Mariella Cruzado of Splendor Styling


Ahead, she shares how her passion for interior design, overcoming doubt, and a piece of business advice that will set you on the path to success...


What is your business? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Splendor Styling is a boutique design studio that offers interior decoration and styling services. We are passionate about creating beautiful and liveable interiors that allow our clients to enjoy that sophisticated lifestyle they’ve always wanted.

My blog Splendor in Spanglish, was born as a way to share my passion for interiors, as well as my favorite decoration and styling projects. Starting a blog allowed me to meet wonderful creatives, designers and female entrepreneurs, but most importantly to learn more about myself and my personal style. After a short period of time, it inspired the creation of Splendor Styling design studio which is a reflection of one of my biggest dreams: to spend life creating beauty.

I left a career in politics to pursue my passion for interiors and become my own boss. I wouldn’t change that for anything. 

What led you to where you are today?

Without in doubt I find strength and inspiration in other women who motivate me to pursue my dreams, be persistent and fight for what I want. There’s an amazing network of female warriors in DC who support each other and understand the importance of growing together to become stronger.

When you are starting a new project you might feel too far away from your goal, or too small compared to people you admire. The important thing is to be true to yourself, respect your own path and pace, and be satisfied with every single accomplishment.  

What’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur? The best part?

Being a business owner means you are entirely responsible for it. It’s a big part of your life especially if you are passionate about what you do. Disconnecting is tremendously hard, but at the same time so necessary to keep your creative juices flowing. The hardest part is to find ways to unwind that don’t involve thinking about your business. I used to read decoration blogs and interior design magazines to relax, now every time I do it, I have to pause several times to make a note for my current projects.

The best part is the satisfaction of completing a project, seeing your vision come true, and being super proud of yourself. My business is all about making people happy, and that’s my biggest reward.

How do you stay motivated and continue to grow, personally and professionally?

I love collaborating with other artists and designers, creating projects just for fun. I’m always open to try new things, experiment in related fields, and see if that opens new doors. Photography styling, for example, is one of the things I love doing in my spare time - especially if it involves art, beautiful pillows or decorative accents!

Besides that, I believe it’s very important to always make time for yourself. I meditate frequently and try to exercise often - even going for a walk by myself will help me relax.

What’s your nighttime routine? How do you unwind?

I really try to stop working at a reasonable hour, before dinner time, so we can cook together with my husband, drink wine and enjoy some quality time. Ideally, I would disconnect from my phone and go to bed with a book and a cup of tea. I really respect my sleep time.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to other business owners?

Respect your talent and your finances. Don’t sell yourself short. You put your time, talent and effort into your projects and you deserve to be compensated for it. Many entrepreneurs are afraid to charge more than their peers or competitors, but every business is different and it’s necessary to know your numbers in order to make a profit and survive.

When your business is your passion, is very easy to overwork - as in my case, I would spend hours looking for the perfect rug or chandelier to complete one of my designs. So I really try to be conscious about the use of my time, and avoid working for free.

What are a few resources for aspiring interior designers? How do you recommend getting started?

There are plenty of ways to learn, you can complete a degree to become an interior designer, take specialized courses here and there or even find key information online, but it’s not until you put all that into practice that you really learn how the industry works.

I am a self-taught interior decorator, which in my mind is a form of art. The more you do it, the more you learn. If decorating is your passion, my advice is to start now. Today. At your own home and with what you have. Don’t waste time over thinking the details, the name of your company, the best way to do things. You will learn by making things happen and building a style of your own. You will make mistakes anyways, you will learn and you will grow, but it’s necessary to be fearless to get started.

Thank you so much for sharing, Mariella! 


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