Meet Vladimir! He is the founder and owner of Creative Dressed Interiors, an interior decorating company, specifically focusing on window treatments. I wanted to know more of his life story, so I sat down with him and he told me of his adventures.
Me: Where are you from?
Vlad: Tarija, Bolivia.
How long have you been in the US?
Since June 1999, nearly 13 years. I first came to Stockton, CA, that’s the bay area. I also lived in San Jose. Beautiful place. My first day my cousin took me to Green St. It’s famous, it’s in the books actually. On the freeway there was lots of traffic, and a car accident. A van was upside down and a body was in the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to help him but I couldn’t. (He was dead)
Near my cousin’s house were clubs and rock bands everywhere. I saw sea lions on the rocks, which was amazing. Beautiful country.
The second day we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge and he took me down where the X Games were. Limp Bizkit and Rob Zombie were there. I was just getting crazy. I got to see all those skate boards and motorcycles. It was huge.
Did you come alone or with someone?
Alone, but I lived with my uncle while in CA.
Why did you immigrate to the US?
For my music career. I was a singer in a Bolivian band, and we toured that country as well as Argentina. I wanted to come here to go a music school. Unfortunately, when I arrived I realized that, realistically, there was no way I could afford it.
So how did you make your living?
I worked for my uncle. He owned several driving schools and I acted as his assistant. And I wanted to stay here, I didn’t want to go back home. I wanted to experience all the shows here (music concerts).
I supervised the driving school classes making sure the teachers did everything right, had coffee and donuts ready, collected money, counted students, deposited money in the bank. I simplified the teachers’ extra duties so they could focus on teaching. I drove to three or four different cities.
Did you know English when you arrived?
Not at all.
You’re fluent now. How did you learn it?
I immersed myself in it. I knew I’d have to learn it if I wanted to work here.
How long did you live in CA?
Six months. I went to visit FL. Yep, FL was amazing. I stayed. I lived in Miami one year.
What did you do for a living there?
Sales. That’s when I realized, gosh, you can make a lot of money in the United States. But you have to have a sharp mind and be dedicated if you make your own business.
What brought you to northern VA?
My friend living in MD told me there’s a better quality of life. Even though FL is an incredible place. My sister and brother-in-law moved to Manassas and I decided to come too. Plus, I was rapidly forgetting my English because I felt like I was living in Cuba. I wanted to see more of the US and learn about it. I wanted to mix and meld with the culture and keep up with English. I heard that VA had a higher quality of life, and yes it is. So that’s why I stayed, and also my son was born here.
How did you get into interior decorating, and eventually own your own business? That’s a far cry from music!
I was working as a server at Pargo’s and as a pizza driver. I didn’t want to work two jobs, and wanted to put my college degrees to good use (Vlad has a BA in journalism and a BA in computer graphics from a Bolivian university). One of my computer classes had been in interior decorating and I found a position with two companies: Great Falls Interiors and Exclusive Draperies. They had designers, seamstresses and installers. I began drawing designs (Vlad is a BRILLIANT artist) which opened the door to designing on the computer. I didn’t know this would be something I loved, I just fell into it, and I was good at it. I would go with one of the designers to the customers’ homes, which allowed me to see all sides of the business, from giving presentations, to drawing, to installing. The only thing I didn’t do was sew. Unfortunately, that designer had to leave for personal reasons out of the state. That left me without work for six months. I decided to start my own company which I called “Creative Dressed Interiors,” but with one “s,” I didn’t know. (He laughs) So I wrote it “Dresed” until a friend brought it to my attention months later.
What if someone reading this wants to contact you about window treatments, how can they get in touch with you?
They can call me at (703) 901-2412, or email me at email@example.com. My website will be launched soon, but I am still putting the finishing touches on it.
One last question, Vladimir. I know you have been all over the United States now, and have been in many towns in VA in particular. What has been your favorite trip?
I have two: One, going to MT. That was an adventure. It took three flights to reach, and while on the planes I saw the Milky Way and the Northern Lights. And MT itself is a different world. I loved horse back riding on the ranch (The photo of Vladimir at the top of the blog is him at the top of a mountain in MT which he rode up on horseback).
And two, Orlando! I love Orlando, I’ve been there a few times.