FOUNDER OF: STYLING STUDIO
Interviewed by: Parvathi Mukundan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BASED IN: BELGIUM
Styling Studio by Yana Gaevskaya is a styling agency based in the Kingdom of Belgium and is specialized in sustainable wardrobe curation and ethical (personal) styling. In order for my business to align with what is needed in the industry at the moment I combine three disciplines: research, styling and public speaking. I try to offer my clients an opportunity to experience sustainable fashion in a way that it suits their lifestyle. Also I use every opportunity that I can to advocate with Fashion Institutions and politicians for their engagement in making sustainable fashion just as normal as fast fashion was for many, many years. The fact that I can combine my love for beauty and contribute to the better world for my future children is my passion about fashion.
What are some ways of motivating yourself in times of doubt? Do you ever feel like giving up? Why do you keep going?
Ok, let's be honest here entrepreneurship is something that can make you feel like a queen of the world, but before that it can make you feel very insecure; even if you are a great specialist in your field or you have this amazing product. The point here is, it takes ten years to get discovered overnight. So what I do when I am in doubt is - I see that picture of myself later when I am 40 - how I would like to see myself; and at that point I start to look at the situation of doubt in a temporary way. Everything passes, so this will too. You really need to want this career achievement or this business to flourish so badly, badly enough that in the worst moments you just take a bath, drink a glass of champagne and in the morning you start over again without thinking about 'what if's'. Ps: And also you need to convince yourself that you don't have a choice, but to continue the journey. This because you already started, and because you really deserve this dream.
Is it important to have mentors and mentor other people? Why?
I honestly believe you really need mentors. In the beginning these people are the first ones who see this sparkle in you and bring the best out in you. When you are established, these people are the ones you can trust, because they knew you from when you weren't that successful. You need to respect that. I hope to meet people on my way who I can support or would like to guide me as it already happened in my teen years. It doesn't mean that I am less entrepreneur because of that, it's just because I do believe in the power of collaboration. Someone who says she made it on her own is probably forgetting people.
Do you think you want to start other businesses in the future or do you want to keep growing this one as long as possible? What is the dream?
I really would like to create opportunities for young people in the future. Therefore my aim is to grow this agency to be able to employ people that could represent the values of Styling Studio by and mine. Likeminded people if you may. The biggest dream is to become that good to have a global voice to be able to create change. Maybe in sustainable fashion, maybe bigger.
What does success mean to you?
Success for me means that I have had the time and the opportunities to express my creativity, to be able to help people with the knowledge and expertise that I've gained and to be able to live comfortably in harmony. The biggest luxury that I would love to have is to afford the time and the conditions to only do what I like, all the time :) I think success is something that is continuous with sparkles of moments where all the ingredients perfectly align together.
Did you look for funding in the past?
Not, yet. I was able to finance it from my own capital.
Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?
I think it's both the risk of being judged and the fact that a lot of women underestimate their talent. They want to be liked. I would love to be liked too, but my desire to build something that is maybe uncomfortable for others in the beginning, is bigger than my desire of being liked. Above that it is not that I didn't look for venture capital yet, that I don't have it in mind. The mission is to grow, and to be able to do that you need more capital. You need to invest in order to grow. Most women entrepreneurs keep in mind if they keep it small and their situation changes they still can adjust. I guess. I think support from men entrepreneurs could be a great stimulation. And truly a breakthrough.