Sonja Rasula is a woman for whom creativity and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. The founder of Unique Markets, CAMP, and the Unique Space, she’s a one-woman band for the importance of supporting independent businesses and following your intuition. We’re so pleased to have her in our family of Joybird Ambassadors.
When Sonja Rasula decided to leverage her 401K to launch her vision for a truly unique marketplace that supported local artisans, her closest friends and family told her she was crazy. Fast-forward nine years and this savvy entrepreneur has created an empire around empowering other artists and providing the space for creative people to succeed. Named by Los Angeles Magazine as one of LA’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Women, Sonja brings enthusiasm and originality to every project she tackles, including the decor of her office space and her own home.
“I think people have a view of LA as being flat with freeways but that’s not my Los Angeles,” says Sonja with an easy laugh. Her home, which she shares with her husband and two dogs, is nestled in the hills of Echo Park. The house, surrounded by trees, and ensconced away from the LA hustle and bustle, has a serene quality that perfectly contrasts her busy lifestyle.
Sonja started Unique Markets in 2008 – a tradeshow style market that brings together hundreds of artists and designers. Seeing how the markets were successful in bringing together a large and diverse population of both sellers and buyers, Sonja decided to expand the brand further. She launched CAMP, a creative business conference held in the mountains of Southern California each May. This four-day program brings together around 200 creatives and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, learn new tools, and get inspired.
Her most recent project was the opening of The Unique Space, a beautifully designed office and event space with tenants including Bustle, Girlgaze and Blue Bottle.
In addition to being a former journalist and creative director, Sonja also worked as an interior designer for HGTV, so she clearly has the skills to create a “put-together” space. Yet she often relies on her own creative intuition when designing. Her Echo Park home is bright and open – with windows on nearly every wall and an open floor plan that lends a casual, flowing feel to the entire space.
“I think as someone who loves design so much, it’s hard for me to choose one style to decorate in because I love elements of everything.” – Sonja
Sonja has opted to fill her personal space with a chic minimal look, that’s at once hip, strong, and intelligent – much like herself. Books from her favorite authors are scattered throughout, and things she and her husband have collected over the years, make up the bulk of the decor. A fan of textiles, Sonja balances the open feel of her home with weightier boho rugs to add dimension and color.
“I think for me, home is the place you go to relax. It should be filled with love, memories, and happiness,” she confesses. At the same time, Sonja shares that she’s created something of a second home at The Unique Space, with intelligent, minimal design that’s at once functional, communal, and fun, with touches of humor most poignantly seen in the various typographical posters and small details of the space. Every design choice is aimed at inspiring everyone who walks in to do their best, feel good, and be their own #GirlBoss.
“We’ve had ups and downs but all the business are thriving and I think part of that is because I truly think when you want to do something with your life led by passion and love, you won’t fail,” says Sonja. And we simply couldn’t agree more.