We had the good fortune of connecting with Afreen Ali and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Afreen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Both my business partner and I are in the Architecture Profession. In the Architecture field there is a toxic idea that we must work to the extreme to be accomplished. We started our own business because we were putting in all the hard work that comes with the profession but we weren’t satisfied with the work we produced in our respective jobs. Tien and I very creative and have innovative ideas. Our company not only allows the exploration but an outlet for both of us to be satisfied with the hard work we do. We also made sure our team is international. This allows us to learn from diverse thinkers and designers.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
INVI creates unique virtual environments for Museums, Art Galleries, Artists, Art Curators, Social Movements, and Cultural Organizations. Our process of getting to the final product is what sets us apart from others. We begin by listening to our clients story. We dig at the essence of the project until we find the true meaning of why this project needs to happen. Then we create an experience and space that is designed for the project. Our first project was #artforjustice. This project commemorated George Floyd and the Black Live Matters Movement. We had over 150 artworks from 19 U.S. states and five countries. We are truly proud that in a moment of despair our company was able to give many people a space to express themselves. We learned quickly that in order to get what we want, we have to take every opportunity we can get. We cannot be passive. The #artforjustice virtual museum was not the intention of the client but we took it upon ourselves to create a unique virtual museum instead of a slideshow presentation of the artwork. The challenge of thinking like this is to take a leap of faith, but having a business partner helps making that daunting leap easier. As we continue, Invi is focused on creating virtual environments that are accessible to people all around the world. For example, a virtual art show in California can now be viewed in the other side of the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite place in Houston is the Menil Collection campus. The area so quiet and so beautifully designed. When I visit I can slow down and relax from the busy schedule. I also believe that Houston is the most diverse place, which allows us to have food from all around the world and the best of it. The restaurants in Houston have a way of transporting you to a different part of the world with the ambience and food. Anyone visiting needs to pack pants made for eating because I would take you to unique place to eat all week long.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Shoutout list is long. I am a true believer that every moment of my life has lead me to my present. I was surrounded by creative people as a child. My mother was always designing dresses for me wear and my father was always fixing and building things in house. I am also lucky enough to have supportive siblings, aunts, cousins and uncles. I am also fortunate to have educators guide me in Architecture School. Lastly, I wouldn’t be able to take the leap of starting my own company without my business partner Giangtien. She is constantly cheering me on and giving me the confidence in my designing skills.