Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
L: My name is Laili Kafi Gonzalez. I’m a Boston native (of Iranian descent) and have been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years, first in Geneva and now in Zurich. I am a rather busy mom of 3, an Interior Designer with my own company called the:meaZure, and I love to write. I’m currently in the process of writing a Children’s book, along with writing for my blog from time to time.
As an expat, I’ve been so lucky to have created a wonderful, supportive and amazing network here in Switzerland, and I often like to pay it forward by connecting women with one another in order to help empower and strengthen each other.
Tell us about the:meaZure
L: the:meaZure is an Interior Design company that offers uniquely tailored interiors for predominantly residential clients in Switzerland. My aim to help my clients create homes that inspire them and fill them with joy while meeting their practical needs. Whether they are just looking to revamp their Living Room or do a full house design, I am there to translate the client’s needs into a beautifully curated home. I also work closely with industry partners to source and install beautiful furnishings, lighting, and renovate Kitchens and Bathrooms wherever required.
Tell us your story
After working for many years for wonderful design firms in Boston, New York, and Geneva, motherhood brought me to a crossroads. When I was pregnant with my first child, a former colleague and great friend contacted me to say we’re starting our own design firm! Needless to say, it was unexpected, but I was excited and nervous, unsure how I would balance being a new mom and managing projects on my own.
Design in Switzerland has come with its own set of challenges, particularly as someone trained in the US where Interior Design is a major industry, and access to products and logistical support is easily available. At first, it was hard to adjust to a market where not everyone is looking for a designer, and a lot of the companies you want to work with have very limited or no representation in Switzerland. Finding vendors here takes more work, having things shipped in from all over the world can also be quite a challenge. I have also had to adapt to working on construction sites in French and German which is challenging (especially in German!) because you don’t learn that kind of vocabulary in a language class! But despite these challenges, I have worked on some amazing projects and found wonderful clients whom I’m lucky to work with. It’s been a real joy enabling people to really set down roots here and live in a home they love, even if it’s only for a few short years.
Over the years, the:meaZure has morphed a bit to adapt to my changing lifestyles and moving cities, and it’s one of the things I love most about being an entrepreneur. I am now managing the:meaZure on my own, and with the coming of the pandemic and the arrival of my third child, I am fortunate to be able to take a step back from my business and focus on other areas that I value, like writing, while still working with clients remotely.
What’s a day like in your life
The beauty of what I do is that no two days are the same, and I love it. Some days (particularly before the pandemic) I was on job sites, shuttling from one location to another, working with contractors and craftspeople, and meeting with clients. Other days were spent entirely behind the computer putting together mood boards, furniture boards, and searching for products from lighting to furnishings to art to pillows to soap dispensers! And other days still, I would take time to be with my kids, take them to appointments, and won’t manage to get to my emails until 9pm when the kids were in bed and the dishes were done. It can be challenging sometimes to balance it all, but I try my best to enjoy the intensity as much as the lulls.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have?
I have found that one of the biggest benefits of being an ex-pat is that I have had to create (and recreate!) my networks, and it has really shown me the power of having strong, entrepreneurial women in my kin.
I love to connect with people (it’s one of the things I love most about what I do), and so I prioritize time with women who inspire me.
My advice to women who are looking to start on a new path, create their own companies and enter the world of entrepreneurship, is usually the same: Get started, don’t try to achieve perfection, be flexible, and build your support network.
Are you a female entrepreneur whose story needs to be heard, we’re waiting to hear from you.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, our editorial panel is talking about – swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, back to school, recipes, and activities for children. Stay well and stay with us!
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