01. Introduce yourself.
My name is Edyta Czajkowska and I am the founder and interior designer behind Chicago based design firm EDYTA & CO.
02. What’s your background?
I took a few interior design courses in high school and realized it was something that I not only enjoyed, but could actually pursue as a career. I followed my newfound passion to the Illinois Institute of Art where I gleaned a BFA in Interior Design, focusing on art and design history, interior architecture, and the business of design. Post college, I worked for various design firms before starting my own business in 2009.
03. How did you start your business?
I was presented with an opportunity to work on an amazing project that would require a good amount of my time, and in order to take the job, I was going to have to go off on my own. With my husband’s encouragement, I took the leap, and started EDYTA & CO. in 2009.
04. What inspired you as a creative woman?
Experiences feed my creativity, from visiting new design shops, galleries, exhibitions, historic sites, and show houses to listening to podcasts, attending plays, and reading interviews and biographies about those I admire, both in design and out.
05. What was your first job ever? Any funny or memorable story?
My first job was working at a gym. I checked people in, signed them up for memberships, made protein shakes, and more. On my first day, I remember I was asked to announce something over the intercom—let’s just say it definitely shattered any fears I had! Throughout the course of that job, I met and developed relationships with all sorts of people. Working there helped me develop interpersonal skills, which has proven invaluable for both my personal and professional life.
06. If you won a lottery today, will you still continue to build your business?
Yes, absolutely! I pride myself on creating extraordinary and meaningful spaces on my own terms, and I would continue to do so if I won the lottery. However, knowing that you have the means to fund all those special projects would definitely help propel me forward with even more confidence.
07. Walk us through your day in interior design
I feel like there is no typical day in the interior design business. One day I could spend all day on an install and another I could be at the showrooms sourcing goods—it really varies. But for the most part, my day usually starts off with breakfast and lots of snuggles and kisses with my kiddos as we plan what we are going to do when I get home. Once I am at my desk, I grab a coffee and tend to my emails, follow up on phone calls, and check on orders. Then I dive into my plan for the day! A lot of the time I will be out and about at various showrooms searching for the perfect piece for a client—whether it be tile, fabric, wallpaper, or a unique vintage find. In the middle of the day, I schedule meetings with potential clients or vendors to see what’s new and exciting. Finally before heading home, I might pop in to a project to check on construction progress and make sure everything is looking according to plan. I truly believe that there is no better way to end my day than by being present with my kids and family, and if I’m lucky, a bubble bath or a bit of reading before bed.
08. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
I’ve found that it’s the small moments that often no one sees that turn out to be the most profound and life changing. I remember landing a job at one of the most nationally published boutique design firms in the United States (it was also part of the Interior Design Hall of Fame) and thought “this is going to be so great,” and it was. I remember studying and getting my NCIDQ certificate and becoming a licensed interior designer. I remember working on my first super high-end project where I got complete design liberty. They are all wonderful in their own ways. There are also moments where my world was completely rocked after I made a change in my business because of an experience or something I learned or realized…those are pretty amazing, too.
09. Where or what do you think you will be/do in the next 5 years?
5 years sounds like 5 minutes now that I have children. We are currently in the process of designing and building a new house for our family, which I am very excited about. On the business side of things, I’m developing a textile line, working on a few exciting new projects, and am hoping to expand and share a bit more insight on my blog as I get so many emails with a variety of design related questions.
10. Share a quote/advice that you’d like to tell the 25-year-old you
But I am 25…just kidding. I would say: “Take your time, don’t rush, focus, stay true to yourself and listen to your gut.”