It’s windy. My hair flies in all directions, and this little alley doesn’t seem to end. “What’s the house number I need to get to?” I check the address on my phone again and pick up the pace. I finally arrive at number 9. White walls, an office, and a kind gentleman who points me to the door of Atelier ATOM obviously placed in front of me. I open it and smile, unwittingly.
I enter a completely different world, of a creative person, of an entrepreneur who followed her passion to the end of the Earth. I take my eyes off the sketches on the walls which, surely, if they could speak, would tell the story of the soft, rustling, colorful materials that were turned into unique dresses or costumes of the Ballet Theater from Sibiu.
What should you know about Atelier ATOM?
Alexandra leads me to the table where the ideas turn into sketches and she looks at me with warm eyes. I can’t even wait to get the phone to record, because I’m already overwhelmed with questions.
Atelier ATOM is run by someone who knew what she wanted. All the steps she took led her to clothing design, unique creations, and her own business. She works with Dana, who, I quote – “is a million-dollar woman”, to offer a complete experience to each client. You can go to the shop without any ideas, and the result will surprise you in a way, which is at least pleasant. Everything you need – ideas, sketches, consulting, materials – can be found here.
Let’s get to the interview!
And now, the most interesting part: what is Alexandra’s vision on entrepreneurship?
Manu: How did you decide to start this business?
Alexandra: As a child, my mother took us both (I have a sister) to the Children’s Club, to the Painting Circle, where I realized that I had to pursue something practical and not classical painting. Initially, I wanted to go into architecture, but I realized that I love materials and I focused on clothing design. I had another business like this, where I worked for a while with a partner, but it didn’t work. After a short time, I decided to try again, but this time, on my own, although I have help in Dana, from whom I learned some secrets that only a super skilled professional knows.
M: Did you ever think about giving up?
A: Yes, more than once. When I was alone, when I didn’t have enough clients – at first. The first year is decisive. From the second year, several opportunities came my way. It’s essential to consume your energy where you need it.
M: What is the biggest challenge you face, as an entrepreneur, in your field?
A: To constantly keep up with trends, to reinvent yourself, to learn, and to find your niche.
M: What do you do on days when you can’t find the motivation for the work you have to do (to keep your business afloat and help it grow)?
A: I am inspired by magazines, fashion sites. You always have to read, to be informed, to have your eyes trained for beauty.
M: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since you started your own business?
A: To spend my time efficiently and organize everything from the beginning. This allows me to be time-efficient. To be focused on what I have to work on, without my mind flying in a thousand directions. You can work all day, and in the end, you may need to redo everything. This is what I learned from my last job, where every detail counted and the activity was focused on efficiency. This got me down to Earth.
M: What do you consider to be the most notable difference between being an employee or an entrepreneur?
A: As an employee, you don’t have so much responsibility regarding the direction of the business – go with the tide, with what is required of you. As an entrepreneur, you must always look for new customers, markets, even sources of income to grow. You can’t always stay at the same level.
M: How would you characterize your business – Atelier ATOM, in a word (except “quality”)?
M: What would you advise an entrepreneur who is just starting out?
A: Find out about the type of business you want to start. Be professional regarding what you will do. For example, it’s hard to have a design workshop if you don’t know how to do some or all of that work.
MY CONCLUSION – Support Small Businesses
It was an interesting interview, from which I drew a surprising conclusion – it is extremely useful to be hired before starting your own business because you understand what you need to have a successful business. See with your own eyes what the priorities should be in an organization, what mistakes are made, how results are obtained. At this point, your mind begins to run to everything you could do differently if you work for your dream.
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