We had the good fortune of connecting with Ria Mushfiq and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ria, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
As a little girl in school I loved painting, playing viola in orchestra, organizing fashion/talent/international shows in high school, hosting events and many more outgoing activities. At home I loved having birthday parties, weddings and any other celebrations for my collection of dolls. It was exciting for me to set stage for each occasion right in the corner of my bedroom. As I grew older, I saw my mom host events for family, friends and coworkers – she always created intimate and meaningful gatherings. I loved seeing my mom cook food that not only tasted amazing, but it looked glamorous with the way she presented the dinner table, and even the dining room we ate in. I eagerly waited to see what new ideas my mom would come up with for her next event. I slowly began planning with her and together we learned something new each time. The excitement and reactions I received from family & guests also enhanced my admiration for events because I enjoy making people smile. I loved sharing this bond with my mom as she has always inspired me to see the glass half full instead of half empty. She taught me to enhance the beauty of what’s already available and to add unique elements while moving forward. However, growing up in a conservative Afghan-American household it was also encouraged to pursue a generic or “safe” career path similar to engineering, business, or medicine which guaranteed a secure lifestyle like my parents. My mom always encouraged education to my siblings and I as her parents did with her. It was important for my mom that we pursue a higher education to create a solid foundation. I understood her logic as I saw how far ahead she was in her life. I graduated with a Finance and Economics degree while working in corporate America. I genuinely enjoyed my career because I love numbers however, I felt boxed and unable to express myself as the inner passion for creative events was still very apparent within me. I never thought of making event planning a career, but I began incorporating my hobby into daily routine while planning friends & family events, working for planners around Atlanta, and even volunteering during large public events to gain experience. It absolutely excited me more than I expected. Slowly my hobby or simply a weekend aspiration took more of my time than anything else. Furthermore, I studied event management and became a certified planner. I was successful in my corporate career, but I thrived planning events! My heart is happier when I plan celebrations and create memorable events. I decided to pursue what brings vibrance and energy to my life, thus, my creative career path began and I started my business, Ria Events and Design. I began my business further in my 20s and at times felt I should have started earlier to potentially be at an even better position today, but later realized my moms advice was right as always! Education as a base foundation allowed me to couple theoretical concepts with real world scenarios and today it has helped me become a successful entrepreneur.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is my baby! Ria Events and Design was built on family values knowing every event begins at home, thus, my team & I treat every client as a family member and take on every event at a personal level! We have been privileged to meet clients from all around the world – European, Persian, Pakistani, Indian, Korean just to name a few. We absolutely love learning about their backgrounds and earning their trust to bring their custom vision to life whether it’s an engagement party, wedding, concert or destination weddings! Our mission is to make our clients feel loved and cared for during the most memorable moments of their lives while we produce an exquisite atmosphere for them. At the end of every event the expressions of excitement I see on my clients faces makes this process priceless. My team & I love making people happy and getting them excited for their special festivities with zero stress. Creating successful events celebrated by satisfied clients amplifies our love and passion for event planning at Ria Events and Design! Today, I’m content with every decision I’ve made leading up to my current stands and it fills my heart knowing my team & I helped bring joy into someone’s most special moments. At Ria Events and Design we understand when you’re internally happy in your element then you’re never too tired or stressed being creative!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to explore restaurants, new people and new cultures. My, husband Ammar and I have visited over 21 cities in 13 countries, but there’s no place like home – Atlanta! I’ve lived in Atlanta my entire life and I love everything about it! It’s a great mix of being industrialized, family oriented, great for socializing, and overall well rounded. Some of my favorite restaurants to go on dates with Ammar or out of town friends are Rumi’s Kitchen, Kyma, The Optimist, Bacchanalia, C Elliets, SouthCity Kitchen just to name a few. I also enjoy hookah and some of my usual hookah spots with friends are Divan, Blue, Efandi & Eclipse de luna – yummy munches, great hookah & amazing music to dance to! I don’t drink alcohol, but I love pretty mock-tails with views so, Blue whiskey, 9 mile station & Sundial would be a must! Brunching has become a great part of my life so, I would defiantly take friends to Canoe for scenic views or West egg cafe for the delicious milky way latte. Hiking helps me relax and get away from work/life stress so, I would take my friends to Stone mountain because the sunset views are breathtaking & sailing at Lake Lanier with the breeze in my hair. We would also stop at the CNN center because it’s one of the largest source of information right in our backyard! While we’re there we’d also visit Atlanta Aquarium because I may have been a fish in my past life. If we’re down for a mini trip within the trip, I would drive down to Jekyll Island, GA for some fun in the water and horse riding!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All praise to God, I have two individuals whom I dedicate my success to. Growing up the person whom I always admired most is my mom, Razia Aziz. She is a single mom of 4 kids who never made us feel our dad’s absence. She encouraged us to use our time wisely, helped us feel the importance of gratitude, showed us results of hard work, and never held us back in exploring the world around us. If she agreed to anything we asked for she reminded us to do good as her reputation lays behind our actions. This led to me thinking twice or thrice before taking any steps. If she disagreed with anything we asked for she gave us reasoning why it wasn’t necessary for us. While initially I may have disagreed, later, I always understood her justification. My mom is my inspiration because she single handedly raised a successful business woman/financier, two engineers and a rising 3L lawyer. Today, I am who I’ve become thanks to my moms persistence guidance in life. I will be content in life if I am half as great as my mom is. Another individual who has a huge impact on my life is my husband, Ammar Ahmed. We met in late 2015 and instantly became great friends! He helped guide me in my career professionally, pushed me to never give up regardless of cultural stigmas as we are from different cultures and strengthened my belief in great men. In 2018 I married this man, because he fills my life with positivity and enlightens me with every step I take. Ammar’s positive outlook, immense love and patience makes me feel I can conquer the world. I wish to be half as great a spouse as he has always been to me.
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