We had the good fortune of connecting with Suchada Eickemeyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suchada, what inspires you?
I am really inspired by women who came before me to open their own businesses. I’m fortunate to have a number of good friends who have done this, and there is something so powerful about how they took the leap to make their own path. Even the ones who tried it out and it didn’t work for them, I think is amazing. Anyone who starts a business has to give up the safety and comfort of a regular paycheck and letting someone else worry about the direction of the business. It’s really scary! I couldn’t have done it without seeing others first. I really want to be badass like them.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m an interior designer! I love my job because I not only have the opportunity to make spaces beautiful, but to shape how people interact and feel in the spaces they inhabit. It might seem like a small irritation to pass through a space that is too small, or work in a room with enough light, but those little stresses can add up and really affect day-to-day life. I know a lot of people would hate to think about those little details, but I find it fascinating and gratifying to consider them and find innovative ways to make people’s lives better. I’m just getting started with my business full-time, so I’m still shaping my brand. There’s a couple things I want to focus on. First, sustainability and community are really important to me. I don’t want to have a business unless I can have a positive impact on our planet and the people around me. Second, I want my designs to reflect the people and brands they are for. Our world right now is influenced so much by algorithms on social media. There’s a real danger of homogeny with that because we’re constantly fed material that appeals to the largest numbers of people. I want to create designs that really get to the heart of a brand or a personality, and that maybe aren’t right for everyone. That’s ok! There’s a lot of beauty in diversity and individuality.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oooh I love making this kinds of plans, and San Diego is my favorite city! I’m going to pretend COVID doesn’t exist, and all my favorite spots are open. Here we go: Day 1 (arrival): We’re just going to jump right into the water and start by paddle boarding in Coronado. My favorite spot is Glorietta Bay. It’s easy to launch your board and you can paddle out to the bottom of the Coronado bridge, which is a huge thrill. After working up an appetite we’ll hit URBN North Park. Their Fresh Clam Pizza Pie is my favorite, but honestly you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu or drink list. It’s all top notch. Then we can wander around North Park, shop the funky items at Pigment, and find some murals for some great Instagram shots. Day 2: We’re going to see the water from another angle at the Point Loma Tide Pools. There is so much sea life just off our coast! You’ll always find sea anemones and crabs, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some colorful sea stars or even an octopus. Then we can head up the road to the Cabrillo National Monument, which as a history buff I love. It also has some of the best views in the city. We’ll do lunch at Hodads and dinner Pizza Port, and enjoy OB in between. Some people pan these places for being too touristy, but they’re so much fun, who cares! Day 3: More water today! I have never been disappointed with the H&M landing whale watching tours. It’s an all-day thing and can get cold, so pack food and dress warm. Nothing compares to seeing sea lions, dolphins, and whales in their natural environment. For dinner we’ll go to Izakaya Sakura off Convoy. Hands-down the best sushi I’ve had in San Diego. We tell the chef to make something special and surprise us. Day 4: Balboa Park is a San Diego treasure. Since I have kids, the Fleet Science Center and Natural History Museum are our favorites, but there isn’t an attraction here that we don’t enjoy. When we need a break, we can lounge on the lawn and watch the always-interesting people go by. Later we’ll go to Dae Jang Keum Korean BBQ, where your food is cooked over charcoal at your table. I’m never quite sure what I’m ordering, but it’s always good. Day 5: Let’s go back to the coast! Snorkeling in La Jolla Cove & a hike up Torrey Pines are some of the best ways to see San Diego from unique perspectives. Later we’ll have dinner at Sab-E-Lee. The owners of this restaurant are from the same area of Thailand as my mother, and it’s the only Thai restaurant she approves of! Day 6: You can’t come to San Diego and not surf. Let’s head to Imperial Beach on a clean day. It’s a bummer that IB has some pollution problems, because it’s a great spot. Then we’ll dry off and grab lunch at Rubio’s. Some will pan it because it’s a chain, but it’s delicious. Lastly, we’ll head to 3rd Ave in Chula Vista, and check out the new breweries. I love how this downtown area has been revitalized by locals and become a really fun spot. Day 7 (departure): On the last day, before heading to the airport, we’ll go to the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market. The cross section of San Diego food, crafts, and urban life is a perfect note to leave on.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oof! The list is long. Let’s see — I have to start with my husband, Sean. He’s been right there with me for almost 15 years now, and continues to trust me to make things happen and encourages me. My kids, of course, because they just have to go with the flow of our life and they do it beautifully. My older sister and my friend Melanie have been a amazing mentors to me and always make me feel like I can do hard things, even when I presented them with ridiculous ideas. They are always just like, “well if anyone can make it work, you can!” And I really appreciate that. The faculty and staff at Design Institute of San Diego, where I got my degree in Interior Design, are just the best. I went back to school in my late 30s to change my career. I was so nervous, and they created an environment where I felt really safe making mistakes and learning, and it gave me a lot of confidence that I could be successful at design. I have to recognize the design firms I interned and worked at: APT Design Studio in San Marcos, Ryan Young Interiors in National City, and Within Design in Sorrento Valley. Each one of them took a risk hiring someone who was starting another career and had an unusual background. I learned so much from the designers at each place, and found mentors and friends who I can turn to for design questions, business questions, or just surviving the grind. The level of design at each firm is incredible, too. They do multi-family housing and model homes. I am so fortunate to have those experiences. I have a friend, Wendy Armbruster, who founded and runs Snugabell, a brand that supports breastfeeding moms and makes hands-free pumping bras and nursing clothes. She has been incredibly selfless with her time for me. She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and is so wise. Steve Mayman of Ergo Architecture, Matt Grummow of Alder James Architecture, and Katie Harmon of KH Landscape Architecture have given me my first referrals, answered business questions, and showed me how to get started with outreach and websites. And then I’ll end with four friends who gave time and expertise for my full-time launch: Marli Hirako of Photography by Marli; Emily Rather, an accountant at Hi-Tech Termite Control; Autumn Doermann-Rojas, the Marketing Director at Cygnet Theatre; and Erin Schroeder, a partner at Horton, Oberrecht, Kirkpatrick, & Martha. If you ever have the chance to cross paths with them, you’ll see how lucky I am to have them in my life.