Doing business together!
The beautiful story behind ‘Made in Womania’
By: Osnat Peled, BWFR president, GM Mentor Finance private equity December 2016.
One of the questions I am often asked by many of the businesswomen (and men) I am meeting, is - “How do you know that you are doing right? That you choose correct and you are in the right direction? “. This is one of the trickiest questions because it is very hard to know when you are “deep in the situation” if you are correct and if you made the right decision, but in this context, sometimes, and even though I am not a very spiritual person I believe that in some special cases, the universe may somehow show you that you are doing correctly.
In a rare scenario where all the pieces of the puzzle are matching, when things seem to be more logical than ever and flow in an almost perfect harmony…. Then you feel you are in the right direction, and this is exactly the story stands behind “Made in Womania”, one of the most interesting and correct initiatives I have been involved in during the last years. The fact it’s so correct does not stand behind the concept of the initiative, because the concept exists and functions already in the market. The unique way is HOW we decided to implement the concept in order to reach a correction in the market, in such a unique way which will benefit hundreds of companies and eventually the end consumer as well.
Look at the problem, it's right under your nose
Allocating a solution to an existing problem is one of the first steps every entrepreneur is taking, we all know everything starts with NEEDS.
As a part of my weekly routine within ‘Business Women forum Romania’ (BWFR), I held a meeting with one of the members, a great and ambitious lady who owns a business in the fashion & accessories domain. She was very upset and shared her thoughts – “It’s not easy at all; I am trying to promote the business in the last year. Getting exposure is the hardest part so I am selling well online, but the personal meetings with clients is also very important! I learned that whenever people get to SEE & FEEL my products, they really like them and it easier to sell….”.That sound good enough for me, I thought, “people like your products!” I answered with a smile, but she replied sadly “…well that’s exactly the issue. In order to meet them, I need to participate in all kinds of fairs. The fair generates X income and carries on X costs.
The incomes are very nice but the costs are too high…I will never be able to grow the business like that “ We finished the coffee, kissed for goodbye and continued the day, but on that night, I couldn’t sleep. I wondered if this “problem” exists and bother more people, the meaning is they will never be able to compete and grow, this was a disturbing thought. On one side, as a financier I know the rules of this jungle- the financially strong one are the one who wins. True. But is there a place also to promote the less “strong” ones, the artists, am I being naive?
The idea started to be cooked, but prior to that, I decided first to go to the basics – let’s check the NEEDS!
Identifying the NEEDS - shaping the business concept
The following weeks were dedicated to meetings and discussions with other designers within BWFR.
The goal was to check and validate 3 main points:
1. Have you participated in fairs?
2. Have you generated profits from these fairs? (“Incomes-costs = profits”)
3. Would you like (and will be able) to increase the number of fairs you take part in?
The answers I collected were astonishing, the direction was so clear – as all the designers, importers, and artists I spoke with (more than 25 back then) reported the same results – they need the fairs, they want the fairs but they do not gain enough profits from them due to the costs.
The answer was standing clearly in front of me – Let’s reduce the costs! In order to reduce costs, you need to create a mass power for
purchasing …meaning - we need to cooperate.
The power of collaborations
Collaborations and Joint venture have been there for ages, but this time the idea was based on creating a format which existed here some years ago and needed to be transferred to a new and positive format – formatting a cooperative. Simple as it sounds, the first step was to collect the cooperative members and formulate the rules of this game. I wondered if BWFR members (standing close to 1500 members at September 2016) can support these needs and we posted at the social media the info of the first cooperative meeting.
The meeting held with the participation of 30 designers who agreed together on the cooperation guidelines. To avoid delays and potential “disagreements”, BWFR took the responsibility to handle the administration with the support of volunteers for each event the cooperative concept is simple – as a group we create the mass power to create fairs and gather audience.
If we use this power, we can increase the cooperative profit. In our cooperative every firm function as an individual company and carries on its profit, as we will not open a partnership or initiate a mutual company .The costs are spllited equally between the members.
The meeting was held in a perfect harmony, we felt strongly what is the power of doing this together and changing the rules of the games via a new cooperation.
We confirmed the concept and validated this baby will be named – ‘Made in Womania ‘as this is 100% made by women!
Developing the path of success
‘Made in womania’ initiative started with 25 fashion designers, handmade craft creators, importers, and artists is getting closer to 100 partners with the vision to grow bigger in the future and influence small businesses to join as well. The company owners who take part in this initiative are diverse in content, age, background …all together creates a beautiful communication and synergy of ideas. One of them is Anca Popescu, Owner of ‘Anca Popescu bijuterii’ who shared her view about the initiative.
“I can say that it is a real event. It is the first of it's kind, being organized directly by businesswomen, that usually participate in different other fairs, and that gives the fair another dimension and attitude. It is a real business event being a real help for the small businesses that will be all together offering a real possibility of networking and for the customers as well, the last one having the possibility to meet the producer. It is also a possibility to start new agreements and businesses” says Anca.
Anca Popescu – owner ‘Anca Popescu bijuterii’
Another designer is, Carmen Mihaela, owner of “Carmenittta”, which designs very special accessories, bags, and clothes. “ Made In Womania helps me to gather the exposure I need. I am selling special items, as well by the power of collaboration we can also initiate cross-selling. A client who is purchasing a crazy “Carmenittta” bag, can find beautiful jewelry made by another designer…in this way we actually optimize our sales and create the perfect synergy for s and also for the clients !” Says Carmen
Carmen Mihaela – owner of “Carmenittta”
Irina Ghioc, a fashion designer & an artist, who create special handmade painted clothes, added -
“This initiative represents the warranty of the quality but also the proof of the great collaboration between the businesswomen in Romania under the umbrella of BWFR.
”Made in Womania” is a concept that harmoniously combines creativity with professionalism, the bohemian side with the entrepreneurship in women and for me and for the other participants is a great opportunity to be closer to our clients”
Irina Ghioc – owner of “Irina Ghioc – wear my passion”
Ionela Lupu is the founder of “Maruca”, a special designer workshop.
Her vision is to combine being part of a big community and to collaborate for a mutual cause:
“Made in Womania is an opportunity to promote small Romanian businesses. Via this fair, my business will be discovered by new clients, we will be able to create new connections and the market visibility will increase.
Made in Womania will be able to become a brand via its businesses, and we, through our products’ quality and seriousness, will be able to keep it to a high standard. Also, it will create a much better relationship between BWFR members and through this relationship, we will recommend and promote each other.”
We were glad to see that also mature and well-known designers have joined in. Active fashion designers who wish to embrace the direct connection to a quality target audience and enjoy the power of the collaboration, and saw the opportunity to contribute to the growth and sustainability of this community
One of these designers is Karmen Herscovici,’Demi Couture’ fashion designer and owner of “Karmen Herscovici” who has more than 16 years in the fashion business. Karmen is an active member of BWFR and wish to keep a constant connection with her current and new audience to meet her designs
“If you dream alone, your dreams remain only dreams. But if you dream together with someone else, it will become real. ‘Made In Womania’ is totally about this, about strong and creative women who are creating together beauty, elegance, friendship, and can sketch a real Business
A woman who is seeing into the future.” summarizes Karmen
Karmen Herscovici – owner of - Karmen Herscovici
Follow our Facebook page at bwfr.org to see when is the upcoming “made In womania fair”.
At the fair you can meet Anca, Carmen, Ionela, Irina, Karman, and many other great designers, support this initiative and enjoy great shopping experience.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“ (Lau Tzu)
Osnat Peled (Israel) serves as - General Director of Mentor Finance Private Equity Investments, an expert advisor in Mentor Capital & Business Advisory (www.mcba.ro) & the President of Business Women Forum Romania (www.bwfr.org)
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