Sunday, November 8, 2015

Insider Interview: Irina Bragin


      In our next Insider Interview, we chat to Irina Bragin, founder of accessories brand Made of Carpet, about running an accessories business

     1. What’s your usual working day like?

Most of my days go under the motto “What did you do today for tomorrow?”

Except regular everyday routine, I have to make decisions how we are going to progress in the future, considering things like exhibitions, fairs, catwalks, journalists’ request, competitions, awards, sponsorships, manufacturers, customers, social media, design, web-design... and list is still incomplete.

Also I know that I do not know lot of things and I need to learn them to run a business. I attend seminars, participate to webinars, read lot of articles and data related to fashion.

2. What was your dream job when you were younger?

An actress. Sounds silly, I know... It was right until I realised that it is not really a profession, but innate abilities and I do not probably have any.

3. What's the best piece of career advice you've been given?

I have never had any career really. I was born in kind of odd society, then have lived in many very different countries and my only “career” was to survive.

But if you ask me about the best business advice I have received, it probably will be not to follow advices of people who have started their businesses many years ago. No matter how successful they are. Today everything has changed so dramatically that all those old rules and tips do not work anymore.

Yes, they can tell you to work hard, to believe into yourself and so on, but all those business steps and actions they have taken when they started are mostly useless today.

I spent tens of thousands of pounds of my own money (yes, in fashion everything is very expensive!) and lot of effort on what I have been told by “people with knowledge” I “expected to do” as a fashion brand. The result was very close to zero.
Then I met one young, fresh and up-to-date consultant, who told me to stop spending for archaic nonsense and go with the progress.

4. What's your number one style tip?

Oh, it is very simple - if you would like to be taken seriously you must be clean, tidy and elegant. Perfect teeth, hair, shoes, nails and smell are must.

5. If you weren't doing the career you are now, what do you think you would be doing?

I was a graphic designer for a couple of decades and my latest speciality was localization: languages, alphabets, fonts and cultural differences. I have worked with 46 languages and 9 alphabets. I still do all graphic design for my brand and for friends too.

6. If someone was looking for a career change into your industry, how would you propose the best way is to start?

Forget about fashion, forget about design. Learn business. I would recommend a year, but it may take longer.

Your business will involve (in no particular order):

Intellectual Property
Taxes (incl. VAT, EORI etc)
Customs brokers
Trade shows project management
Trade shows attendance
Web-development and design
Merchant accounts
Fairs and markets
Celebrities endorsement
Customer service
Photo sessions
Design of leaflets, booklets, cards etc
Retail platforms, such as Amazon for example
Social media
Awards and professional parties

... and a smile J
Did I mention a design? No? OK, also design (about 3-5% of your routine).

7. What's the best thing about your job?

I do not have a boss and I chose people I would like to deal with.

8. What's the toughest part of your job?

Responsibility and loneliness.

You cannot rely on anyone. You have to find the way, you must know what and how to do, you must make a decision and it is better be right decision. If it is wrong there is nobody to blame.

9. Most proud career moment to date?

Well, I have several actually!

We are Finalist of Drapers Footwear and Accessories Award 2014

We are BRIT Award 2015 Official goodie bag partners (our bag you can see from the fortieth second of the video)

Also I was the member of the City and Livery Women float at Lord Mayor Parade 2013 and we were float number THREE from 154! Here is more from the first minute – I am the passenger of the red Jaguar, but it was raining and you can not see much.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? 

We are growing. Slowly, but steadily we are becoming very well known brand with more and more retail customers and wholesale buyers all around the world.
I am not sure I would like us to be listed on stock market (I will lose control of the business in this case), but I will do everything to make us big staying in charge.

For more information visit the website and read more insider interviews here and look out for the next.

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