Alexis & Her Home
We've said it before, but we don't mind one bit saying it again: An event planner's spot-on style when it comes to parties almost always translates into his or her home. And, of course, The Shift Creative founder, Alexis Andra, fits the bill to a "T"! We recently had the chance to wander through Alexis's beautiful bohemian space, and couldn't wait even a moment longer to share her home and our conversation with you below.
Although Alexis is comfortably situated at the helm of her creative event planning business these days, her career didn't kick off quite like you might assume. Instead of jumping right into the event planning niche, Alexis actually got her start in behavioral science. She pursued counseling professionally, and, as she explains below, picked up lots of life lessons along the way. Yet, fast-forward to the birth of her daughter, and Alexis eventually took a turn toward her true life's passion—event planning and making memories extra memorable for friends, family and clients.
Scroll on to dive down deep into the textural, plant-filled rooms within the California home that Alexis shares with her adorable family, and be sure to pay extra-close attention to her thoughts on properly pursuing your passion—no matter what your professional start might look like!
Tell us a bit about yourself. When and how did you first discover your passion for event design and production?
Interestingly, I went to school for behavioral science, but before that, I applied and got accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. I decided that I wanted to stick with something that seemed more stable, so I pursued counseling instead! I loved learning about methods, ways of relating and getting to the heart of issues, and I still use those concepts in my everyday life and career!
While I was always the creative type (throwing bridal and baby showers for what seemed like every weekend for friends), it wasn’t until I had my daughter, Sophia, that I set out to make my hobby a career. I knew some people in the industry already—a few photographers, makeup artists and the like—so I started contacting who I knew and organized photo shoots. From there, I started to submit to large blog platforms, and got accepted! It all came together really easily and quickly! Social media definitely had a big part in that.
Let’s talk about your design process. Where do you start? Where do you draw inspiration?
First, I start with what is trying to be conveyed. That can either mean what the brand or clients' vision is, or what story is meant to be told through the pieces or event. After that, I think through what colors, textures and media represent those ideas the best. I will sketch out some of my designs, but I am horrible at sketching, so typically I create a mood board full of inspiration for the client, which also helps me narrow down the overall aesthetic. Then the fun begins! Most of the time, the execution process isn’t as cut and dry as I’d like it to be, but I work through issues and overcome challenges, which I think only makes me a better designer.
So, even though you’re a pro, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. How do you work around the worst-case scenario when it comes true?
I feel like I constantly say to my team, “Be flexible,” and “We will make it work.” I repeat those phrases even if I have trouble seeing how I will make it work, and when I don’t really want to be flexible, but you have to push though that or else you will be stuck—and stuck isn’t a good place to be. Things will go wrong, your vision will be altered, you will want to quit and go stuff your face with chocolate (well...let’s be honest—that's all the time), but that's the process. In the end, you'll create something more magical than you ever expected. The beauty is in the imperfections. And the quirks? Those are what people think are cool. Typically, these are ‘mistakes’ that you turned into something pretty fantastic, all the while, letting people think that it was your intention all along, because you’re just that good!
People are more important than things. Accidents happen. Design your space according to your aesthetic, while keeping people in mind. Don’t make people feel like they can’t be comfortable in your home.
What do you want customers to experience when they hire The Shift Creative?
When people hire The Shift Creative, I want them to seriously be in awe of the end result. Whether it's a small-scale event or a large one, I want creativity to reign and really cause people to pause.
How has living in Southern California impacted your aesthetic?
I have never thought living it SoCal affected my aesthetic, but I suppose the use of palm leaves is really in right now. I also have a ton of plants in my house, but is that a SoCal thing? Who knows?
We seriously love all the color in your work—what’s the inspiration behind using so many hues?
I love color, but I go back and forth between wanting everything neutral and having an explosion of color. Honestly, it’s because I am pretty indecisive, so it really depends on what mood I am in and what the piece is for. Right now, I am really digging copper—but who isn’t?
How has being a mom shaped the way you designed your home?
I always told myself that I wouldn’t let toys be everywhere in my home, and I have stuck by that. They can seriously be an eye sore. Now, that's not to say that I don’t have toys littered here and there, but I taught Sophie to help me pick up and put things back in their proper place until it becomes chaos the next day. Fortunately, we have a playroom where I pretty much throw her toys anytime we have people come over. That's real life! My house definitely isn’t always clean. Sometimes going to Disneyland trumps laundry, and I’m OK with that.
What are some of your tips for styling and decorating a minimalist home?
White and plants. That’s basically it...haha! But really, keep it light, simple, airy and don’t be afraid to mix in some patterns! If I could, I would buy all the rugs and pillows!
Things will go wrong, your vision will be altered, you will want to quit and go stuff your face with chocolate (well...let’s be honest—that's all the time), but that's the process. In the end, you'll create something more magical than you ever expected. The beauty is in the imperfections.
Are there any tricks of the trade that you can reveal?
While keeping my home tidy is a priority, I am flexible when it comes to messes. If someone spills something on my rug or chair, I quickly reassure them that it’s fine (probably one of my most-used phrases if you know me). Sure, it might be a bummer if stains set in, but from my perspective, people are more important than things. Accidents happen. Design your space according to your aesthetic, while keeping people in mind. Don’t make people feel like they can’t be comfortable in your home.
What would be your own dream event? Where would it be? How would you decorate it?
This is a tough one. I would either love to design a set for a music video (insert Taylor Swift here!), or design the after-party for the Grammy’s or something. Either way, you better believe I would go over the top! I really try to think outside the box with my designs, so it would definitely be out of the ordinary and hard to beat!
My house definitely isn’t always clean. Sometimes going to Disneyland trumps laundry, and I’m OK with that.
What do you enjoy the most about owning your own business?
I really enjoy a few things—number one being flexibility! I can easily take the day off and go on an adventure with my family. That's the best thing. Also, I really love my job and the creative freedom I have in owning my own business! I love thinking of off-the-wall designs, building backdrops, product styling and seeing it all come together in photos or at an event! It is the best feeling ever to see my designs on display.
How has social media helped your business grow?
Immensely. If you aren't active on social media, then your business isn’t growing like it could be. It really is your portfolio, and in some cases, replaces the need for a website. I try to be pretty strategic with my posting. I post generally at specific times of the day where there is more traffic, and I tend to keep my aesthetic pretty cohesive. I will say though, don’t let it consume you. I overanalyze which photo to post, whether ones of my family are OK (those get the best response actually), if grainy quality images should ever be allowed—the list goes on. No one cares. Seriously.
All I will say is, if it is for your business, maintain better quality, but people want to be able to connect with you. They want to see your family, and know you’re real. Follow me on Snapchat (theshiftcreative)! I am horrible at it and also think it is ridiculous, however, it gives me the opportunity to be more real with my followers—think: Work-out clothes, mom fails, bad singing, etc.
What are your favorite brands to follow on Instagram?
Some of my favorite are @studioDIY (she’s also great on Snapchat), @designlovefest, @JacquiFink, Natalie Miller, @OhJoy—the list goes on. I know some of those aren’t brands, but I look to these woman for inspiration!
What are three of the most memorable events you’ve designed?
- My online shop party because I got to do whatever the heck I wanted to do, and some of my best art installations came from that event.
- The 100 Layer Cake and Crate & Barrel private event because I had the opportunity to offer guests a really memorable experience through my design work.
- Tori Hendrix’s baby shower where I designed a huge cream and gold weaving with greenery flowing out of it! The whole event was gorgeous and really special.