An Lh Interview With the Charming Erika Lin of EL Architects
EL Architects is known for their ability to create buildings and spaces that exceed the expectations of their clients, and inspire those who live in them. In 2007 Erika Lin founded the Architecture and Interior Design firm, and today she has offices in Tijuana, Mexico, and Sand Diego, CA. The business is composed of a team of talented professionals with backgrounds in different fields and with a shared commitment to excellence. In all their projects, they’re careful to take into account the materials in the local environment and uphold their commitment to the environment itself. They want their clients to walk into pieces of art, designed exclusively for them. EL Architects was chosen by Luxury Lifestyle Awards as a winner in the category of Best Luxury Architecture (Single Residential Project) 2021, and Best Luxury Commercial Interior Design 2021.
We spoke to Erika Lin, owner and founder of Erika Lin Architects to discover what this exclusive company is all about!
Love Happens: Can you tell our readers about your background?
Erika Lin: I am a Mexican Businesswoman and Architect; I did my Architecture studies in the City of Tijuana. When I completed this, I went to Mexico City to continue my learning and work in specialized design firms. After two years, I returned to Tijuana and founded my design firm Erika Lin Architects—now part of EL Design Group. I am passionate about luxury projects, I like to solve large structures based on the design and at the same time go for surprising, small details. Parallel to the growth of my firm, I got married and started a family with my husband and three children.
Lh: What inspired you to start your business?
Erika: I wanted to take my vision of impeccability beyond my work, expand it, and transmit it to my teams, creating a company that not only provides architecture services but also creates design experiences for both collaborators and clients.
Lh: How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
Erika: My first step was to identify the foundation of my company—what did I want to dedicate myself to? With this goal, I started a small interior design firm and a boutique with design products. I started with very small projects, remodeling rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Still, from the beginning, I focused on creating a work methodology. So over time, the projects grew in size and number. Organization and team training helped us grow very organically. Until we landed our first project to work on a mansion of a public figure. This really blew us away.
More large residential projects began to arrive. And many of our clients also assigned us their commercial, corporate and medical projects. So the commercial and medical architecture division of the firm began to grow as well. Another important step was in 2015 when we started operations in the United States. With some fear but with faith in our methodology of work! Today we have carried out 750 projects and counting.
Lh: What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Erika: Impeccability—the company aims to build successful projects based on stages. We make sure that we achieve each objective, from one to the next. And are aware and attentive to critical processes, paying special attention to them. Something that is very important to us, is to be able to measure ourselves. How do we know that our project is successful? In our company, we measure success with these 5 points: Did we meet the project specifications? Did we meet the deadlines? Is the customer satisfied? Is the company satisfied? And finally, have we documented the project sufficiently? The last point allows us to take a tour of the process, admire the result, and always find areas for improvement.
Lh: What have been your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Erika: I think it was starting the firm in the United States. When we started here, we already had the firm in Mexico established, with resources and clients who came looking for us to carry out their projects. Coming to the United States meant leaving my comfort zone, driving the appointments alone, introducing myself to the clients, selling, and on many occasions measuring the houses myself. This was very different as just across the border I had an assistant, a driver, and a great team that always do those things for me. But as exhausting as it seemed alone I had to remind myself how I started in Mexico and where it had taken me. So I kept going! And today customers come looking for us.
Lh: How do you stay focused?
Erika: I am very disciplined with myself, I motivate myself, I remind myself every day why I do things and I give myself instructions to move forward.
Lh: How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
Erika: We are a unique, international firm with great learning molded and embodied in work methodologies that are executed by a great talented team passionate about design. We are here to take charge of your project and experience it as a satisfactory process with you.
Lh: What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Erika: Letting people know who I am. They can look at my portfolio, or talk to other clients, but I like to let them know where we’ve come from, and what our values are, especially me as the founder.
Lh: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Erika: Be impeccable at every step and you will be shaping a solid path.
Lh: What’s your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
Erika: I like to motivate myself with Brian Tracy books or enjoy listening to various artists in the AD&P podcast of Trent Bell.
Lh: What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
Erika: With the Cloud and Zoom, I can review works and work from anywhere, and we save lots of time for ourselves and for our clients in virtual meetings. Also, thanks to Zoom, we have more long-distance clients.
Lh: Who is your business role model? Why?
Erika: Arianna Huffington, I love the way that she sees success, the way that she creates a business from an ideology, and how she manages human talent.
Lh: How do you balance work and life?
Erika: I like to organize my goals with deadlines and evaluate day by day what needs more effort to achieve them. That is, I do not seek to balance each day between all my roles—as a businesswoman, artist, mother, wife, person, etc., Yes, it would be possible, but it would definitely not be efficient.
When I am close to delivering a work project, I can spend several nights in a row without putting my children to bed, so I take care, and let them know how much I love them, but that right now a project needs me and I must be there. I send them some photos to make them feel as though they are a part of a project.
When I am on family vacations, I know that I can lean on my team, who are trained to manage the company, but they know that in any situation that they need me, I will be available.
Lh: What’s your favorite way to decompress?
Erika: Exercise, self-care, and good moments with people.
Lh: What do you have planned for the next six months?
Erika: Getting our business into a third country.
Lh: How can our readers connect with you?
Erika: I’m on social media—Instagram: @arq_erikalin, Facebook: ERIKA LIN, and our website is erikalin.com.
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