Indira Martinez is a Dominican architectural designer who has 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 within a male-dominated industry such as real estate. She wanted to ensure that her skilled group of women not only had passion but drive and commitment to the development of their business goals. Typically minorities and people of color aren’t heavily represented in fields such as architecture, real estate, and design, instead of allowing fear to paralyze her she challenged herself. As an immigrant and single mother, she wanted to be more than a stereotype and overcame setbacks in life. Martinez has created a name for herself when flipping properties and upscaling its overall look. When selecting these projects, she examines each design for its architectural uniqueness because it symbolizes love, time, and effort.
Martinez spoke with our correspondent Rebecca Eugene about becoming an entrepreneur and some of the lessons she’s learned throughout her journey. She touches on the importance of everyone having their path to success and how there is no one way of reaching it.
Martinez work can be followed on her instagram at @indirammartinez
The Knockturnal: Tell me about The Home Design Studio and what was the process like getting all of these women who have various backgrounds and skill sets to come together?
Indira Martinez: I’ve talked about building an empire for as long as I can remember. The Home Design Studio is the beginning of that. My goal was to create a company 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 first started the search for the women I thought would be a great fit for this firm, I looked outside the box. I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to be part of this. Background and skill sets were not the priority; passion for being part of something great and willing to put in the time and work were the main requirements. I searched on social media, talked to some women I knew with these characteristics, and got to work on presenting the idea. Their energy during that initial meeting of introducing The Home Design Studio was the deciding factor.
The Knockturnal: Typically most minorities aren’t seen in the role or career path you have chosen, why do you think that is? 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 part of early conversation we hear our parents have or they have with us. I had to educate myself on the benefits of owning a home, investing, and selling for 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 good enough credit, not making enough money..simply feeling like I didn’t belong (same feeling I used to get when I walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch store at 16).
Many in my community and my culture are paralyzed because of these same fears. The fear of not belonging or being good enough to complete your first real estate deal, let alone have a career as a real estate investor has held minorities back for too long.
There is a huge gap in ownership rates for minorities but things are changing.
Similarly, a career in architectural design is not common because we don’t really know what it is. I learned architectural design in 2019 with one of my flips. I taught myself how to use architectural design software and programs. After discovering and exploring this area of design, I learned how much I enjoyed it.
The Knockturnal: As an immigrant and single mother how were you able to overcome the struggles you’ve faced in life? What did you tell yourself to stay motivated? How were you able to deal with self-doubt and doubt from others?
Indira Martinez: I overcome struggles everyday. But today, I am stronger, wiser, and fearless.
Being an immigrant and single mother, you automatically become a statistic. However, I refused to be another number. As I was working a full-time corporate job, I also had a side hustle. Having a side hustle has always felt like second nature and it felt necessary. Not because I wanted to have one but because climbing the ladder in the corporate world as a female (latina) was not easy. I was denied opportunities many times, but that didn’t stop me. After those setbacks, I always reminded myself “everything happens for a reason, so if one thing didn’t work, let’s 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 doubt from others is the hardest thing. Once that sets in, it takes away your drive and your motivation. I was able to overcome it by surrounding myself with people who cheered me on and didn’t allow me to give up. They believed in me more than I believed in myself at moments. Your environment is truly the key to success!
The Knockturnal: When flipping a property, what is something you keep in mind for the project?
Indira Martinez: Aside from budget, I focus a lot on keeping a property’s original charm. I normally renovate homes that have a unique architectural design. Unique architecture means it was a project of love, there was time and effort spent on making it exclusive. By keeping its originality and adding a touch of luxury I am giving the property its exclusivity back. Because luxury = exclusivity, not everyone can have the same one.
The Knockturnal: How do you define your design style when working on a property remodel? What are your go-to elements?
Indira Martinez: My design style when working on a property remodel is all about being a chameleon to the needs of buyers or individual clients. I am a big believer in functionality and the space’s energy, therefore, it’s important to incorporate what feels organic to a room while also having big design ideas. Location and original architectural design are always great starters to determine the creative and design outlook. 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 of my designs and create spaces that are inviting and create an experience for my clients. For example, one of my go-to designs is to incorporate the walk-in closet inside the main bathroom. Clients love this touch!
The Knockturnal: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Indira Martinez: The best advice someone has given me is “Be happy, what’s the alternative?” I think of that everyday, and I try my best to choose happiness everyday
The Knockturnal: What advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Indira Martinez: My advice to someone who wants to follow in my footsteps is to start it as a side hustle, but START. Don’t wait for the right time, that never comes or to be 100% ready, that never happens. Starting will help you get an understanding of the industry. Meet the experts who you can ask the questions. You will not learn the ins and outs, good and bad of buying, fixing, and investing in real estate until you start.
The Knockturnal: In your opinion, what do you believe are the three most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur?
Indira Martinez: The 3 most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur are:
As entrepreneurs, it is important to remember that the road ahead will get less bumpy along the way. There are three important habits that have kept me grounded during this journey.
- Consistency is key and consistency breeds success.
- Just start! I can’t stress this enough. I think a lot of times we believe that if we aren’t 100% ready, we shouldn’t go for it. Let me say that is so far from my truth. I live my life by the 70/30 rule. Feel at least 70% ready, take the chance and the rest will unfold naturally.
- Lastly, surround yourself with successful individuals. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Learn to network and never stop learning from people at the top. Once you’ve reached that point, it is time to build your team.
The Knockturnal: Anything else you’d like to share?
Indira Martinez: If I could share something it would be that success isn’t linear and I haven’t had a clear cut path to success. The trick however is that I didn’t let fear, doubt, or insecurities stop me. As you find yourself on this path and journey, the fear will creep in, more times than you can imagine. The key is to think ahead and look beyond the circumstances.
A problem that you are dealing with today will probably not be there in a year, focus on moving forward. And, “Be happy and keep pushing through because giving up should never be an option.”