Trendsetter to Know: Christina Johnson, Creative Director at Private Label International

Name: Christina Johnson


Instagram: pl_studiolive


Age: 41

Title: Creative Director

Married/Single: Married

Kids: 3 girls

City you live in: Gilbert, AZ

A typical day in my life includes…Getting up around 6:30, having a matcha latte, getting my girls off to school, checking in with my team, reviewing project budgets, PR, marketing, client meetings, picking kids up from school, piano lessons, gymnastics, and cross country practices, volunteer work, running at the rec center if I have time, cooking dinner with my husband, family dinner with the kids. I usually wine down at night with a salt bath and some tv, clean up the house and in bed around 11 or midnight. 

I was born… in Mesa, Az – 5th generation Arizona native

My favorite thing about Arizona… The variety – most people are surprised to find out that we are so close to the mountains and snow, or the lake and waterskiing, or the beach, with great hiking, and restaurants and a great music scene.

I’m listening to… everything, I love music. My current playlist is a lot of Alt-J, the Beatles, Beck, the Kills, Pomplamoose, and Twenty One Pilots

My family… is awesome. My siblings and parents live close, we see each other quite a bit. My parents are incredibly supportive and are the best grandparents to my kids and my nieces and nephews. My siblings and I are all completely different because our parents let us be whatever we wanted to be.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… My two grandmas – one of them passed away while I was in college and the other passed away before I had my first child. I realized too late, after they were gone, how cool our grandparents are and knowing them as an adult vs a grandkid was something I missed out on.

One thing I cannot live without… I asked my husband what I should respond, and he said tacos… I’ll say him and my family

When I was younger, I wanted to be… anything that performed in front of people. I loved putting on a show. For a while it was a stand-up comedian, then a lead singer in a rock band, and I took acting and modeling classes for a while. 

I’m inspired by… almost anything depending on my mood. A couple years ago I read a book by Ross Gay called “The Book of Delights” and it’s so wholesome. I’m reading his second one currently called “The Book of (More) Delights.” He challenged himself to write about something that delighted him every day, and it reminded me that we can find joy and inspiration in even the smallest things. If I’m doing my life right, I can find inspiration anywhere. 

The person/people who motivate(s) me is/are… I would say my husband, but he’s more my rock that helps me to motivate myself. My three girls motivate me to find the best balance in my life because I hope to inspire them to be able to choose the path that they want and feel like nothing is holding them back.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… that everyone would be more considerate of others. So many problems could be avoided if we all cared a bit more about each other!

The perfect day would be…I would absolutely be sleeping in, and the rest of the day would include activities like hiking or a bike ride, family, and good food. If I’m on vacation while all this is happening, even better.

My first job was… working for my parents at their Mexican food restaurant – I never got tired of tacos! 

My favorite escape… I love taking weekend trips by myself, my husband and I call them Stina Weekends. They usually consist of me driving somewhere that’s a few hours away, cooler weather, antique shopping, hiking, farmer’s markets, and cute little bed and breakfasts.

My life… a little crazy and busy but mostly fun. I’m not always sure what to do with myself when I’m not busy. 

I’m currently working on… End of year budgets (not fun) and our 2024 Design Trend Report (way more fun!)Project wise we have several projects that will finish up next year, a high rise live/work adaptive reuse project in Falls Church, Virginia, and multiple in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Texas and Sacramento

Always… onward, forward

Never… stand still

Favorite Quote… My favorite book, that’s been my favorite book since I was 10, is Phantom Tollbooth. Two quotes from it, because I can’t pick between the two:

“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” 

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes, as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

Biggest Dream… Seeing my kids grow up to live happy, fulfilling lives

My Pet Peeve(s)… probably too many… people assuming they know everything about everything and not asking questions, when I have to repeat myself multiple times unnecessarily, and very loud chewing 

Bio-on yourself/company: Christina Johnson is a Phoenix based interior designer with a background rooted in creative writing, performing arts, music, art history, and community building. Christina has built a reputation of creating a dialog between the ideals of the past and off-beat sensibilities that point to the future, consistently staying in touch with the national and international markets. Having taken part in all aspects of the design process, she can apply her active touch on the cultural pulse point to the project at hand from start to finish, for project types from resorts and hotels, to restaurants, clubhouses, condominiums, master planned communities, and retail spaces.

Christina has led the private label design team for the last 15 years, mentoring new designers, and growing their award-winning portfolio and recognized over the last 3 years as one of Interior Design Magazine’s Rising Giants and Sustainability Giants. An Arizona native, Christina received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from ASU’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and holds a current certificate from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Selected for AZRE / AZ Big Media Generation Next 40 Under 40. Published author. She is also a contributing writer for InBusiness Magazine.

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