We had the good fortune of connecting with Alesha Deesing and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alesha, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had just finished a decade long career in volleyball overseas and decided to move to California in 2015. I originally came here to train with the National Team and fell in love with the beach lifestyle. I grew up in Oregon and went to college in Seattle, WA so sunshine year-round is pure bliss. I knew I wanted to move here when I retired from volleyball to find a creative career. I started a jewelry company with absolutely no background in business. I went at it for a year and was struggling getting stores to pick up my line, so I picked up a job in outside sales working for a contractor. I had always wanted to be an interior designer since high school (unfortunately did not have this major where I played college volleyball) so the idea of designing exteriors sounded right up my alley. I was absolutely fired up about it, so I did what I usually do and jumped in at a hundred miles per hour. I failed a lot! Design came naturally to me, but I had no idea how to sell, price jobs out, or build. On top of that, I was working on commission only, so I was struggling financially too. I kept at it with pure determination because at the end of the day I loved designing incredible outdoor spaces and seeing how excited clients got when the concept was brought to life. I knew I wanted to make a career of it, and I knew my potential. I just needed to acquire more skills. I started project managing and, on the side, studying for my contractor license more so for the knowledge and to be sure the crews were installing everything to industry standards. When I felt I had a good grasp on that, I shifted my attention to learning about design software so I could take my clients ideas and fuse them with my own creative skillset to provide a 3D visual of their dream yard. I wanted my designs to sell themselves.
Once everything came together, I took a huge leap and went out on my own with Aldia Outdoor Design. It was the best decision I could have made! The company has substantially grown each year and this adventure is teaching me more and more about myself, my craft, and the connections I make.
I hope to be an inspiration to others who are entering unknown territory and fearful to go all in. For me it was entering a male dominated industry with zero knowledge of construction, and for anyone reading this it can be an obstacle entirely different.
But believe in yourself.
You can do it!
Risk Taking: how do you think about risk, what role has talking risks played in your life/career?
I am all about taking risks! It is so important to throw yourself into new challenges for growth. I grew up heavily involved in sports and the best way to learn is to fail. This way you know you are pushing boundaries, learning new skills, and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. With this mentality, I have accomplished so much more than I thought capable. Indeed this should be a mantra for any walk in life!
What’s the most important lesson your business has taught you?
How important taking time for myself is! It’s so easy to get caught up in keeping a business going and there are always a million things to work on and improve! The biggest challenge has been setting boundaries with myself and making sure I set aside time to workout, go on adventures (currently converting a van with my fiancé to do more of this), and spend quality time with loved ones. With that, it’s also teaching me how to delegate and depend on others for help. I tend to try to do everything on my own and that’s just not possible for running a successful business.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As far as landscape designers, I feel I am well rounded having studied and been involved on the construction side too. This helps me better educate the client on how things are constructed and pricing. I also have a lot of experience with materials and can recommend a lot of great products that really pull the whole design together. I don’t like to sit behind a desk all day. I love being out in the field and connecting with others and discovering new products. I also enjoy being involved in the construction.
The industry I work in is vastly dominated by heteronormative or cis males (the conservative type), so by default I guess that sets me apart as well. I think my approach to construction is different but just as valid. I naturally have a keen eye for attention to details, spatial awareness, visual aesthetics, and it is easy for me to multi-task and problem solve. I guess the biggest challenge of being an outsider in this field, is not being taken seriously. The stereotypical “male” off the street with zero experience in construction, but is wearing a pair of work boots, often is treated with more respect. I try to use this to my advantage. I am not going to know the answer to every construction question, but I am certainly capable of finding it out. Since the expectation is low, it allows for a lot of growth where some of the most conservative types in our industry might have too much ego or pride to ask for advice or build something differently than they normally would. Not being seen as competition strengthens my approach.
It certainly has not been easy. Starting my own company has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding adventures. I am very excited to see where it takes me and to discover more and more ways, I can help homeowners increase their quality of life at home.
With social media, I have been able to reach out to many homeowners and change their lives in this fashion. We are now living in a world of digitalization and incredible advances in technology which I love, and I am a part of, but I think having a healthy balance is key. I also love being in nature. I try to create spaces that bring people together outdoors to listen to the birds, feel the breeze on their face, eat from their garden, and gaze at the stars next to a crackling fire with a delicious glass of wine. We work extremely hard to provide for our families and at the end of the day, the moments together are what truly matter!
Moments together are why I create outdoor living spaces and what brings me so much joy!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Coffee at Panini Café or glazed donuts from Superb Donuts on 17th HB-essential comfort food!
Road trip in the Sprinter Van – Joshua Tree National Park is one example..socal has so many scenic hikes!
Live music at Bogart Coffee
Massage and chiropractic adjustment with Dr Duddey sportscare center- he is a self-care genius!
Paddle boarding or Duffy ride- Newport Harbor
Play beach volleyball at the HB Pier or Pickleball- from amateur to professional level you can see amazing games and players. It is a good social scene!
Don’s Churros truck in Anaheim-if you love sweet baked goods this is the best secret in Santa Ana.
Gelato Paradiso in Laguna
Fiesta Grill on 17th Street- Mexican cuisine at its home-coked finest. Affordable and very yummy! The Green chili pork is a winter obsession.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ- the best meat eating spot in town.
Good Vibes Vegan Restaurants- food that nourishes the mind and soul.
Enjoy a delicious cocktail and play corn hole or ping pong at Pacific Hideaway
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
– My incredible fiancé who is the most supportive partner I could ask for and is constantly putting up with my crazy ideas and shenanigans 🙂
– My father who has worked in construction my entire life and believes I can do anything I set my mind to
– My Mother who is the most competitive and driven person I know and whom I get my creative eye from.
– My girl friends who are always there to take the stress away and offer encouragement
And of course, all the amazing people I have met in the industry who have taught me something new, provided advice, referrals, or helped in any way!