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Meet Cindy Lam of Cinn Studio in OC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cindy Lam.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cindy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up seeing my grandparents and parents run their own businesses. From sitting in their retail shops to going with them to Downtown LA in the 80’s to purchase clothing to resell in their own boutique stores, I was in the retail environment as a child. On the weekends, instead of going to the park or playing outside with friends, I was up by 8am and on my way with my parents to pick up bags of clothing for the season and back to the store to unpack them and merchandise and display them in the best way I could. As I grew up, I naturally knew that one day, I would run my own business.

It was a bit of a full circle in how I began. As young as 14 or 15, my first paying job was at the swap meet selling jewelry. My first real retail job was at Gap Kids at South Coast Plaza. I’ve worked in the retail industry through my teenage years and after high school, I went to college to major in merchandise marketing in hope that I could stay in the fashion industry. After having graduated, I entered visual merchandising and ended up working for various retail brands through setting up their new merchandise on mannequins, windows or even major department store display bays. That eventually ignited a curiosity for store layouts, fixture design and furniture which then led me back to school to get my interior design degree.

After getting a taste of the design world in Los Angeles, I quickly got burnt out working long hours on international hotel projects and had decided to move to NYC to get into retail design. Upon moving to NY, I landed a job with a retail brand called Cole Haan who at the time was owned by Nike. During my time there, I was responsible for visual design as well as new store concepts. When I worked there, I was tasked to develop floor plans, design custom fixtures that supported the season’s new handbag or new concept shoe. I sourced materials, built prototypes and scoured the city to figure out different ways we could build out and support the next marketing campaign. This was both domestic and international at the time. After a few years in the city, I decided to move back to Ca to be closer to family which led me to a design role with Starbucks Coffee in their design studio. I was apart of designing a few reserve stores in Los Angeles where I was responsible for bringing the brand to life through new store concepts, functional store layouts all with the intention and locality in mind.

After working for Starbucks for a few years, I was able to hone my skills in retail branding, vendor resources, operations, and just the overall business needs while fine tuning my design skills. It was then when I really took a leap of faith by taking on projects through referrals to just last year officially starting my own brand where I took on multiple projects at a time inclusive of residential projects in LA and OC, renovation projects and most recently, a hand full of cannabis retail projects. I now have a boutique design studio where I work on crafting stories for emerging cannabis retail brands alongside high end boba tea shops and restaurants. I haven’t regretted one minute of my decision of taking a leap of faith in running my own business, dreaming up new concepts, curating different palettes and being able to help business owners/clients bring their story to life through design!

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been smooth sailing. I started my business by taking on projects outside of my 9-5 design firm jobs for about five years straight on top of being a new mom at the time and as introduced my second baby. I has and still is a juggling act. I would typically go to work at the office, come home and begin my second shift until 2-3 am up until last spring 2019. That was when it got to a point where I couldn’t manage both and would start to hire freelancers to help me with work outside of work. It was a struggle in managing clients, time, vendors, etc. One of the biggest struggles I face now is the business side of things with regard to the cost of insurance, office overhead, expenses, programs and retaining talent. I now find myself trying to maintain work just to keep the team going.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Having worked in Los Angeles and New York as a visual designer and interior designer, I have worked in a variety of spaces including restaurants, residences, hotels, and retail. One thread remains constant — I get a thrill from working with clients to help them execute a space that is more beautiful and functional than they may have imagined. Each space I work with is different and each client has their individual needs, and I love problem-solving for all of it — my creativity is fueled by each environment I enter into. My designs tell a story — never too polished or too raw, always approachable, practical, and fun, and inspired by the space itself. As I work with clients, I aim to get to know them holistically in order to design their space to embody their aesthetic and their needs. I thrive on building the big picture and executing on the details while bridging the gap between possibility and practicality. And nothing is more fulfilling to me than the moment a client experiences their finished space for the first time and how each detail reveals itself, fulfilling their every need. I can’t wait for you to experience the same.

I also have recently developed Remedy Design Group, a division of Cinn Studio, supports emerging Cannabis industry retail brands with the development of new locations, with a focus on design, operations, and brand identity. You bring the product, we bring the strategic branding and retail execution — optimizing your brand, the flow of your retail space, and providing crucial insight and strategy to help your retail locations thrive. Our expertise in creating retail spaces coupled with our keen focus on current and emerging trends allows us to optimize your offerings and the retail experience for your customers. We bring your product and space to life.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I do think our city is a great place to start due to the wide variety of demographic, food, culture and resources. I think there are so many different options and realms of interior design that one could easily fall into any category whether it be residential, commercial or hospitality.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Photographer 1: Leigh Ann Rowe / larphoto.com; Photographer 2: Peter Tran / iconsmktg.com

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