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Meet Arlette Madenlian of Arlette Design in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arlette Madenlian.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story begins the night my family and I fled on a small fishing boat bound for safety…

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Armenian parents. In 1976 during the Lebanese civil war my family and I escaped in the middle of the night on a fishing boat bound for Cyprus. We found refuge in a convent and then later moved to Athens, Greece. Few months later, we permanently migrated to Australia where I grew up and then life brought me to California. I am extremely grateful and blessed to have experienced the best of the world and its cultures which helped shape the person I have become today and most importantly the positive influences it has had on my work. I am incredibly passionate about life, art, history, pop culture, fashion, animals, music, spirituality, tennis, reading, cooking – everything under the sun! I love my family. I love nature. I love my life. I love the Universe. I believe everything happens for a reason and that nothing is coincidental. There is a reason why my journey has led me to here…

In Australia, after I graduated high school I was accepted into the University of Technology, Sydney. I remember that day like it just happened – it was Valentine’s Day when I received my acceptance letter in the mail. It felt like I was covered in pixie dust and puppies – I was elated. You see, I had been one of the 50 students selected out of the entire state to study visual communication – it was an absolute honor and a privilege to be in the same space with like-minded creative’s. During college, I was hungry to experience real-life design projects – and that’s when an encounter at a design conference opened the door for an internship role at Andromeda Advertising agency as the personal assistant to Siimon Reynolds, the founder and an award-winning, world-renowned advertising guru – it was a designers dream come true. Siimon, taught me advertising 101 and also gave me a chance to design/bid campaigns – one of them being Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Musical – Aspects of Love.

After graduating from the University of Technology in Visual Communication, my first job was at Creative Plus – a small design studio in Mosman where I had the good fortune to create mood boards for various brands such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle and Coca Cola. Once I earned the studio’s trust and respect, I was given my first “real” assignment – to design the first-ever Olympic limited-edition Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box. I was over the moon.

Then cupid struck… and off I flew to the USA. As soon as I landed – I started looking for work, crazy right? My eagerness led me to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills to work for Bijan Fragrances as a packaging designer. Here, I had the most incredible experience designing opulent packages fit for the rich and famous–constellations of amenity lines sparkling in the most luxurious hotels in the world. Also, I guess my love of sports and fashion came in handy when I had the most amazing opportunity to design the Michael Jordan Cologne and of course meet the legend himself. Till this day, I am beyond grateful for that encounter – it was magical.

As I moved on to explore even greater heights. I prepared ads for a variety of international and national magazines including Condé Nast, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar for the fashion house St. John Knits. I was very fortunate to have bonded with elite designers, including as Kelly Gray’s most-requested artist. After St. John Knits – I continued creating more magic at Arbonne as the Sr. Creative Director – as the “keeper of the brand” I got to “play” in many areas creating eco-friendly packaging, print, digital and video graphics.

Today – A new, exciting chapter has begun. I have my own studio – Arlette Design a place where I plan to create and design incredible stories for people and brands.

At times I wish I could step back into 18th century France (sans smallpox and the revolutionary war thing), or that unicorns were real. What I know for sure is this: I find fantasy in every breath and I know my talents and skills can breathe that into design as well.

With love, faith and hardwork, anything, everything and all things are possible.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Of course not. That’s the beauty of it. A lot of hardwork, passion and persistence went into where I am.

We were poor. My family came from humble beginnings, we mostly relied on government assistance. As refugees, our home was made up of Salvation Army furnishings – when my dad passed away I was 13 and mum who was an assistant nurse at the time working the graveyard shift to help keep us (sister & I) afloat. She raised us with love, courage and strength and ingrained the values of not relying or waiting on others to help but to go out there and make it happen. She said… “education is gold, you may lose all your material wealth but no one can take away your knowledge and that’s power.”

I remember, to pay for college, I use to hop on a bus after class schlepping my portfolio and all – heading down to the local hospital. My shift was 4pm-8pm 5 days a week – handing out tea and coffee in the maternity ward. I learnt about life, loss and rebirth. It was an invaluable experience that help propel me into my next phase of life.

I never lost sight of what I wanted to achieve – everything that I have ever wanted I’ve made it happen. Growing up, my entire room was a vision board in itself before vision boards became a trend. The key was belief in myself. This may sound corny but I can proudly say “I’m the great manifestor” – I make things happen!

Please tell us about Arlette Design.
My studio Arlette Design is based in Irvine, California. I specialize in branding, packaging and storytelling. I am here to tell beautiful & meaningful stories for brands and people with purpose. My goal is create an emotional connection with the audience through compelling messaging, clean design and sustainable packaging.

What sets me apart? Honesty, Passion, Integrity and Empathy. As a visual strategic storyteller, I can help you tell your brand story, create awareness, promote products and differentiate your brand. I design and deliver your vision without the overpriced agency fees you would pay with big brand agencies. No matter how small/big the projects are, whether it’s a startup or an established brand – everyone is given the same love & respect and creative energy to help bring their vision to life.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing – I loved every step, every challenge, every hardship and every celebration. If it weren’t for my experiences, I would not be the person I am today.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Product & Beauty Photography – Greg Carter/Nuvisions Studio, Graffiti illustrations in collaboration with Zsolt Meszaros.

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