With a pioneering spirit, a holistic design background, and the demonstrated ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, Araya is an internationally recognized entrepreneur and designer.  Inspired by and passionate about communicating through design, she has led creative teams, developed products, created modern visual content, evolved brands, and launched her own multi-channel home goods company, Willful®, which is known for its cohesive image, bold use of color, organic simplicity, and international collaboration. 

Skills + Experience

Demonstrated ability in Adobe Suite: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign

  • Highly creative lens with a knack for trend analysis and research
  • Self-starter, with an ability to work independently.
  • Expertise with product life cycles, ability to work on projects from ideation to on-shelf or screen
  • Ability to use computer skills in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Experience in domestic and international travel
  • Extremely goal-oriented, self-motivated,
  • Creative, flexible and adaptable to new situations


Founder: Willful® goods with intention January 2012 - Present (6 years)

•    Built business from the ground up generating over a quarter million sales annually, establishing direct-to-consumer (ecommerce and brick and mortar) and wholesale client base

•    Communicated and shaped the brandʼs identity through strong visual storytelling directly  leading to features in print and digital media, including over 75 print features including Dwell,                                    

     Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens and Domino to name a few.

•    Conceived, styled, art directed, and photographed marketing campaigns for digital (website and newsletters), print, and individual products. 

•    Maintain a strong brand presence through image focused digital marketing campaigns, (ecommerce, digital and in store) through analysis, growth and traffic tracking, while paying

     close attention to budget restraints

•    Increased sales year-to-year, up to 145% through planned B2B and B2C marketing strategies, social media calendar, and select trade shows

•    Created and developed new products based on market research, paying attention to color, material, design, and style trends, both nationally and internationally

•    Sourced and maintained influencer and large brand partnerships with top food and interiors brands, including Nordstroms,  Food52, Madewell, Domino and multiple        


•    Hired, trained, and mentored up to three employees + multiple free lance partners, providing opportunities for growth and collaboration

•    Supplied an active customer-focused approach, ensuring engagement and satisfaction

Architectural Designer: Authentic Construction August 2009 - June 2010 (11 months)

• Designed spaces for all areas of the home, including kitchens, baths, entire room additions, and exterior modifications including historical restorations

• Provided hands-on project management; ensured timelines were met and projects were at or under budget

• Communicated design process to client from the initial stages of visual presentation through CAD plans and hand-rendered presentations

Senior Designer: Crystal Kitchen & Bath - Design Build June 2006 - January 2009 (2 years 8 months)

• Designed and sold high-end remodeling projects for the home, specializing in kitchen and bathroom design

• Top sales performer in 2007-2009, bringing in over $750,000 annually

• Developed presentation and public-speaking skills by giving remodeling seminars to groups of up to 30 potential clients

• Gained media exposure by serving as a remodeling expert for local and national brands, including Midwest Home, Kitchen Makeovers, and Home Style

Senior Designer: Home Interiors June 2003 - June 2006 (3 years 1 month)

• Pitched and sold kitchen, bathroom, and related products and services to clients obtained through showroom walk-ins, referrals, and networking

• Received “Rising Star” award in 2003

• Ranked 5th in sales out of more than 75 designers

Design/Sales: Sofas & Chairs Custom Interiors 2000 - 2001 (2 years)

Visual Display Designer + Copywriter: 1999 - 2001 (3 years)

awards + education

Best New Product: Contender New York Now Gift Show 2017

Young Entrepreneur: Minnesota Business Magazine 2015

Best of Southwest: Home Furnishings Store 2015

Best Of The Twin Cities: New Product 2014

Best Small Kitchen: 1st Place - National Kitchen and Bath Awards (local) 2005

Best Medium Kitchen: 2nd Place - National Kitchen and Bath Awards (local) 2006

Interior Design/Sales Associates in Applied Science Degree: DCTC 2000

Continuing education:

Illustration for product design MCAD 2017

Intro to Illustrator MCAD 2017

NKBA: Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) 2007

NKBA: Certified Bathroom Designer (CBD) 2009