#myessentials with Serra Semi

Serra Semi | Creative Director and Designer 

I didn’t choose to be an entrepreneur, the entrepreneur life chose me. I founded Lumens after getting laid off from my job at the media company I’d been with for 6 years. I wasn’t ready to start my own studio, but life gave me no choice but to jump right in and learn how to do everything by myself. 

What’s the hardest part being a founder? The most rewarding part?

The hardest part was finding clients and projects – I’m a designer, not a salesperson. But as a founder, you have to wear all the hats. It’s tough confronting imposter syndrome every step of the way, but I’m slowly learning how to give myself more credit. The most rewarding part is knowing that clients aren’t working with me because they have to, they work with me because they choose to. 

Is there anything you’d do differently?

I would’ve been more aggressive about chasing things, more confident in my own ability and what I have to offer. It really is a quality that you gain over time, though. It’s funny, all my friends say that I’m actually much softer and cuddlier in my personal life than when I’m “hustling.”

What’s your best advice to new founders? 

Just do the thing. There is no “right” time, no waiting to get your ducks in a row, just keep rolling with it and put in the work. Then let the work speak for itself. 

What was your first job?

I worked at a branding agency right out of college. I had interned there the summer before, and they didn’t have any job openings, so they essentially made a position for me…and told me they weren’t going to pay me enough to sustain a life in NYC.  It was a great experience though, and I fell in love with New York City. I went to grad school in California, but ran back to the NYC immediately after graduating. 

Do you have a morning routine?

Oh I watch all the successful people’s morning routine videos! Here’s mine at the moment. I’m really not a morning person but my dog helps hold me accountable. 

  1. Morning cuddles with my dog 
  2. Press the nespresso button 
  3. Wash my face
  4. Write my daily gratitudes 
  5. Reread gratitudes from the day before 
  6. Call my mom. Just for a few minutes, and have our daily check-in
  7. Emails. I need to clear out my inbox everyday

Sweet or salty? limey!! I need that acidic flavor. 

Favorite salad dressing? Lemon vinaigrette. Anything acidic. 

Morning or night? Definitely not a morning person. 

What’s your motto? Love will save the day. 

Coffee or tea? Coffee. Straight up espresso or americano 

Check in or carry on? Check in. I love dropping off my huge suitcases at the counter and not worrying about them until I arrive.

Perfectionist? Definitely. I won’t let it go without being perfect, at least in my eyes. 

Tell me about your bag:

This is a tote bag I got from Turkey. I actually saw my mom carrying it first, and had to have it! She has it in three colors.  My best friend bought it in black, too. I love this bag because it’s a nice neutral color that goes with everything in the summer…it’s also my only non-black bag, so that makes it my default summer bag.

Bring everything or just the essentials?

As much as I wish I could pack lighter, it’s impossible. I like to be prepared!

My essentials:

A jacket

Summer in NYC means 90* degrees outside and 50* indoors, so I always keep a light jacket with me. 


My favorite moisturizing lip balm, and one lip color! In the summers I like to use a brighter color.


This is a spicy limey Mexican chili powder. It started out as a joke between friends and I, but it’s become a permanent resident in my bag. 

I usually also carry a pair of flipflops to change into when it starts pouring (Tip: Darksky weather app is great for forecasting rain). I don’t like shopping because I’m very picky with what I like clothing and accessory wise, so I try to take really good care of everything I own. 

Feeling inspired by Serra?

Get in touch with her serra@wearelumens.co 

Check out her design studio: wearelumens.co

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