We had the good fortune of connecting with Bruna Bernini and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bruna, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Well, let me go back a bit to explain how I started my own business 20 years ago. I was graduating with my Architecture Master and I was the general manager of a small company that did mainly residential design. At that period my boss’s wife got sick, so he left a lot in my control. Once he came back, his ego was hurt to see how the clients and team would work with me. His insecurities made him approach me out of fear and I decided that it was time for me to go. Being a good boss is not easy and comes with responsibilities. With this experience and disappointment, I knew I was ready to start my own company, as I had friends and other people asking me to do projects for them. Saying that I had some important key elements to pursue my goal: some clients, knowledge in the area, management skills, and a big desire to create my own space where ego was not going to be an issue. I started very small sharing an office with a friend that was had a marketing company at the time. I had only one internee and built a construction team in about a year after I had my company. I was open to try all areas (residential, commercial, institution) to accumulate and explore all areas and find my niche
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own the company called Livin Flow Design CO located here in the US in San Clemente California, which is the combination of all my carrer, knowledge and experinces during these last 22 years since I first had my design studio in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. My formation is Architeture Master and 2 MBAs one in Sustainabile edification and Performance and another in Project Management. I started my company when I was very young and have the opportunity to do almost everything related to residential and commercial on a smaller scale. After having my own company for 6 years, I decided it was time for me to try and risk working with bigger and sustainable-oriented projects. One of my clients at that time worked in one of the biggest engineering companies in Brazil that were bought by an American company called Hill International. We went for lunch and I shared with him, as we were very close, my thoughts of changing my career, his words were: “ you know you’re gonna have to step down and earn less, but if you want I can see whenever an opportunity comes to invite you for the company.”
Two months later as I receive a call from him inviting me to be part of the first Core& She’ll lead certification building of Latin America that they were working on. I had to go inside myself and make the question if money was more important than my true desires and professional goals that I’ve always dreamed of, as a result of this internal conversation I decided to take the risk. I will tell you this it was the best decision I made. During the eight years, I worked for this company I had an opportunity to participate in four different LEED certifications, and manage from high-end 4500sqm house to Museums and 5-star hotels. I learned a lot and met A lot of good and important people in my life. But the best part of all it’s all the lessons learned about risk-taking, management the most of all communication that for me is the key to success in any kind of project. I had to deal with international teams from five different countries and overcome the language and culture barriers, had to travel to France to find the right fabric, make the call on risk to manage the delivery of 2 massive big trees blocking one of the main streets of beach access in Rio de Janeiro during Summer, had the opportunity to participate on an archeologist excavation while we were doing the foundations of the Art Museum of Rio, had to seat out of the Environmental Secretary of Rio waiting room for 5 days to get the final signature to open the Grand Hyatt Rio between many others. I grew a lot as a person first, as a working mother, and as a professional woman all these years, but I’ll tell you this the one thing that sent me a part of most of the people that I worked with, was that feeling and capacity of ownership on everything I did. I learned that when I had my studio in the beginning of my career. This to say that it is the whole journey that counts.
Last year I decided it was time since I moved to the US 4 years ago to start my own company again.
Livin Flow Design is an interior design company that brings together sustainability, design, and management. That has the goal of sharing new approaches or a different way of looking into this luxurious interior design world. We truly have to see what we put inside our house, where it comes from if you are bringing chemicals to your daily life, but most of all, think about the barrier of having the ideal design that will not impact the future generation ability to meet their needs.
The flow state of mind is another important part of the company philosophy, When you are on the flow you go to another place inside your mind where you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus. I want to discover what puts you inflow, so we can bring these elements inside the project and help to go to this place or at least be reminded of. Music, being in the ocean either surfing or sailing having plants around puts me inflow, so in my house, the artwork is related to that, I have lots of plants and music playing all the time, it is incredible how little things like that help with your mood.
A new powerful combination is Sustainability and Mindfulness, it is known that the practice of mindfulness gives you more empathy and understanding of values and understanding of all the things around you, like nature. If you are mindful of the world, studies show that there is a tendency of more sustainable behaviors. I want to share and inspire people to start making those changes in their lives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was coming I would take her for different things in the morning: a breathwork on the San Clemente beach in the morning with a jump inside the cold Californian Ocean to energize our day. A walk or a bike ride from Linda Lane in San Clemente to Dana Point Marina or Baby beach,.I would take her for my favorite coffee shops: Two Guns, J’adore, SUR and Maru. Go to as many beach days I could on San Onofre, or Salt Creek Beach, Riviera Beach and Laguna Beach. To eat I woul take her to Brussels, Nick’s, The Village, The Butcher Daughter, Bear Flag Fish Company. I would take her for shopping at Laguna and Abbot Kinney, Avenida Del Mar and all thrivft shops between OC and LA ( Casa Verde, LAB anti-mall tand others). Sunsets – Pier San Clemente, Laguna Beach Close to the Monarch Resort or Terranea Resort. We would have lots of fun
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh, I have so many people to thank for my journey. But family first and when I say that I mean blood family and the ones we choose in life to a part of my eternal family. My parents for raising me to be such a free and strong person. For my friends who trusted me in the beginning and hired me on my first projects. For my son that inspires me to grow and be a better person every day. To my soul made that many years ago showed me real love and moved me through my life to believe this is a beautiful World and we need to take care of it, my passion for sustainability comes from these feelings. To all the CEOs, Vice Presidents, and directors I worked with and made me step up as a professional woman.