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Designing Women: Creative Freedom with Lisa Mazur

September 17, 2012

Lisa Mazur of L. Mazur & Co.

Interview by Jennifer Markas; Photography by Amy Lee

Lisa Mazur is a seasoned creative thinker and graphic designer whose long list of clients include the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs and international product brands such as L’Occitane. Her firm, L. Mazur & Co., specializes in brand creation, strategy and management, as well as creating brand experiences. Damsels in Design is inspired by Lisa’s creative freedom she has built for herself and we want to share her advice and insights with the rest of the design community.

DID: How did your design career begin? What mistakes do you see young designers making today and what advice do you have for them to grow as creative professionals?
LM: My design career began as a graphic design graduate of the School of Visual Arts. I had the extreme pleasure of being hired by Paul Davis to work in his studio as a junior designer. Constantly surrounded by Paul’s work and having him encourage me to paint, collage and just create is something I will never forget. The advice I would give to creative professionals today is create to your fullest and run it like the business that it is.

DID: What are the benefits of owning your own studio?
LM: I decided to open my own studio for two main reasons: creative control and control of my time. As a creative person – I value the ability to flex my creative muscles as much as possible and I strive through my company to produce creative that me and my team are proud of. On time control–I like to think I am pretty efficient with my time and don’t log in crazy hours as I am not one to do my best work working late nights which I felt like was a standard requirement working at other studios. I extend that philosophy to my employees as well.

DID: How do you manage all of your daily to-do’s? Have you adopted morning/evening rituals to help you get through the day? If so, which ones have had the greatest impact on your career?
LM: My daily to-do’s have evolved as I have evolved. When I opened my company, I was a single NYC 20-something with a flexible work day – and 15 years later, I am a wife and a mother with a very set work day. I try not to take the pressures of business and actual work home with me as I want to spend as much quality time as possible with my family. This does limit my hours at the office more than it did when I started so I focus and meet my deadlines for the day (with hopefully a lunchtime workout at the gym on some days) then go home to my family. I realize that there will never feel like there is enough time to do everything in a day and that most everyone feels that way for different reasons!
DID: We hear you Lisa! Lunchtime workouts? That’s some serious dedication!

L. Mazur & Co.

DID: What is one client you’ve always wanted to work with? What project or brand was the most fun to work with and why?
LM: I would want to work with Nike – I always love that they are at the forefront of design trends and actually create the trends.
My favorite project to work on has been Le Parker Meridien hotel and Parker Palm Springs hotel. I have worked with them since 1999 and they are always willing to push the limits in their marketing approaches.

DID: Where do you picture L. Mazur and Co. one year from now? Do you have plans for expansion?
LM: Now that my children are no longer infants (4 and 2 right now), I feel like I can handle expanding my business again to where it was pre-children with 4-5 employees.

DID: How important is networking in your line of work? How has it helped you build your studio? Do you belong to any associations? Have they assisted you in your career?
LM: Networking is very important and most of the work that comes to us is through a referral. I have belonged to the AIGA and it is a great way to stay up to date with the latest in the design community.
DID: We couldn’t agree more! DID was created to bring designers together to share their experiences, their connections, and their stories. It’s about quality connections. Anyone can meet random people at a networking event. What matters is the focus of the community and the ability and desire to help one another towards greater success.

DID: Where do you find inspiration? Where are the best places in NYC to get inspiration?
LM: Inspiration is everywhere in NYC as the city is constantly changing. My favorite thing to do is walk around different neighborhoods and see what new restaurants and shops have opened and check out the design and merchandise. It’s always inspiring.

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