We had the good fortune of connecting with Aisha Lewis-Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aisha, what inspires you?
Inspiration, for me, comes from anything and anywhere! I am inspired by my surroundings in more ways than one, through culture, various cuisines, travel, art and fashion. These aspects of life are very important to me as they push me to learn more, see more and explore as much of the world as possible. I am so thankful for my love of the arts, delicious food and the desire to experience life through travel. I believe this allows me to offer a different perspective to my interior design clients and ensures I am able to create designs for all people from all walks of life.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I believe my personality sets me apart from others as I am an enthusiastic, down-to-earth, communicative, culturally aware interior designer who refuses to be pigeon holed into one specific classification. My ability to observe my clients lifestyle and personalities and apply my findings to their projects is the environment where I thrive, I not only love what I do, I cannot see myself anywhere else but right here creating fabulous, functional designs for my clients. And what is even more special is that I am continuing to stand strong despite a global pandemic. Often times I pinch myself and wonder if this a dream, because I am actually doing what I love and most definitely will die doing it. However, getting here was no small feat and it took a great deal of sacrifice, sleepless nights and a 1700 mile move across the U.S.A. to even begin my journey. My goal was always to build my own business and most importantly, to never punch someone else’s clock. While the journey has not been easy, I have a supportive family that gives me the love, laughter, strength, courage and constructive criticism that keeps me motivated and excited to keep striving for more. Challenges can be overcome as long as you recognize them, create a plan, find solutions, execute and reevaluate when needed. The key word being reevaluate because when you are a business owner you must keep up with the times, continue to educate yourself and evolve in order to stay current. Functional Conceptz for Interiors aka AZLewisDesigns is a brand that is a genuine resource for the community it serves and beyond. I am a transparent, enthusiastic risk taking designer, who creates videos, along side my husband, posted on my Instagram (Tip Tuesday) and YouTube channel (Design Wine) geared towards client awareness of the industry, that are raw and uncut. Everything is a process and I feel educating the community is a win for design community and all designers and contractors alike. If I could tell the world anything it would be to never give up on yourself, self-care is a must, do what you love and make sure you stay humble and grateful throughout your journey. Always be eager to learn and maintain the ability to engage in active listening. You can learn a lot if you just take a moment!

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?
The DFW is a great place to live as there are so many things to do around town. If my friend was to visit for an extra long weekend, the trip definitely has to begin at Whistle Britches in Plano for the best chicken and waffles in the metro-plex, while swallowing down their delicious mimosas. After said mimosas we would probably need a nap since we aren’t 20 anymore. The next day I would love to show my friend Klyde Warren Park, so we can people watch and relax, while having a variety of food trucks to choose from. There is something to be said about a green beautiful park that sits on top of the freeway. Now that the sun is going down, we will slide over to Deep Ellum to continue people watching and taking in the city. So many genres of music and vibes in Deep Ellum that anyone will surely have a blast. The last stop being High and Tight Barbershop, which is a quaint, cool vibe to hear some live music and enjoy libations. Although we could vibe in Deep Ellum for the entire week, there are too many other options around town for us to see. If the weather permits, we will find a laid back pool party at one of Dallas’s many boutique hotels and grab some sun, drinks and enjoy whatever the DJ is playing. This is definitely an all day affair and will likely require another nap before hitting the night time streets. For a late night dinner we will enjoy what I deem the best seafood in Dallas at the Shell Shack in Plano, but only if Dom can make our drinks. This spot is open late and always has good music playing to keep you entertained. Most friends who would visit me would be from Detroit, my hometown, so heading over to check out the Dallas Farmers Market would be a hit. It would be reminiscent of the Eastern Market in Detroit. On a busy Saturday you have various local vendors, food choices to fit your eating habits and unique retail shopping options. All of these places would be great opportunities for photo-ops for your social media pages. And if you love nature, then the Dallas Arboretum would be the ultimate stop for nature, beautiful foliage and fantastic photo-ops. Memphis in Addison is up next for last night dancing as this place has fantastic bands playing on any given Friday or Saturday. This is a small space however, the fun to be had is massive. Now that we have done tons in Dallas (and surrounding areas), let’s head further north to Frisco and check out Common Table’s Hip-Hop brunch on a sunny Saturday. The music is fantastic and the food will get you full, as you jam out to nothing but hip-hop music. After a late brunch we can take a stroll around the Star for people watching and additional photo-ops. Once we have settled our stomachs we can head over to Snookered in Frisco to shoot some pool, indulge in libations and eat the best smoked chicken wings on earth (besides my grandfather’s). At this point I think we call it a night and get some rest. So many places to go and not enough time to take in all that the DFW has to offer. You will surely need a vacation after your vacation.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am dedicating my shout out to my grandparents James and Edna Billingslea, who are no longer with us. I am thankful for my grandfather who always led me to believe that I was destined for greatness and to my grandmother who never judged a single crazy story I shared with her. As a matter of fact, neither judged me and that’s simply a grandparents love. I can still feel their support in my soul and I am grateful for the time we shared. My parents, my husband Brian, my living grandparents and my children all deserve credit and recognition for putting up with me and my pursuit to be a self-employed interior designer extraordinaire . LOL! I am grateful for the push they all have given me to pursue my dreams and create my destiny. They have done it with love, constructive criticism and sweat equity. I will forever be thankful!

Website: https://www.functionalconceptz.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/azlewisdesigns/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/az-lewis-martin-42848b24/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FunctionalConceptz4Interiors

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjreenUoPr8X2dL9rUir3kw

Image Credits
Donna Dunlap – Picturing Art Aisha Lewis-Martin – Functional Conceptz for Interiors

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