Arina Baranovskaja, a woman who has created IRIS JANVIER showroom and brand by creating a school project at EBS, and has gained fame all over the world, will tell us a little bit about herself, her brand and what fashion entrepreneurship really looks like.
1. How did you find your way to entrepreneurship?
I had been at home with kids for several years. But I am extremely fond of fashion. I had this feeling inside me that I wanted to do something in that area. So one day I ended up studying at EBS. IRIS JANVIER was my school project that luckily got developed far enough to be a successful business. Unbelievable, it has existed for 9 years already!
2. What do you think of as your greatest achievement?
I do appreciate the fact that I managed to create and run the IRIS JANVIER showroom. We had our first concept store shop opening and we are also nominated for Kuldnõel which is a great honor for us. However, women tend to count their children as their lifetime achievements. I had been away from my kids for a few weeks as I found myself thinking that life without kids is just plain pointless. What do you live for then? There is this empty and bored feeling in me when there is no one waiting at home.
3. What inspires you the most?
Professionally, the thing that is really inspiring is going abroad to different fairs. On the one hand it is scary, because you can see the great competition we are in. On the other hand, it gives me a sense of confidence, because I can see, wow, we do have fashionable things – we are good enough to do our thing and be on the world class.
I always try to enjoy the architecture and go to museums while being abroad. This is inspiring too. As well as the people that wear and appreciate our creations.
4. What is the value proposition of your creations?
If you drop by our store for about twice a year, you will be safe in every situation. We will help you, so that you wouldn’t have to worry about what is „in fashion“ at the moment. Stylish and fashionable are two different things. You might be stylish but if you want to be confident then you also have to be modern. We follow the trends and we will combine that with your style. We will put the clothes sets together here so that the pieces match with each other and you could combine them whichever way you like. We take away that stress of running through the stores, looking for different pieces of skirts and shoes from you. We are saving a big part of your time and time is the most valuable thing of them all.
5. Where or when you come up with the best ideas?
It’s hard to tell because one could generate great ideas anytime. Travelling, at a gallery. Professionally I keep myself updated via BOF (Business Of Fashion), I am subscribed to their newsletter meant for professionals.
6. What makes your brand unique?
Quality materials and trendy cuts. A lot of women here know how important is to support our own women. We are glad that many successful Estonian ladies have chosen us and that we can support their confidence.
7. What could be some key activities while creating a brand?
The most important thing is to think it through – to who and why you are doing anything? Who do you want to see as your brands’ loyal clients? Why should they prefer you? If you can answer these questions, you are halfway done creating a successful brand.
8. How is your brand reaching the people you want it to reach?
Marketing is really important. You might come up with a really great product, but if no one knows about it, then they will not find you. We are trying to be as creative with our marketing as we are with our collections.
9. What are the difficulties one has to be ready for being in a fashion Industry?
Scaling takes time. To create a business from fashion, not just a lifestyle-entrepreneurship, takes a lot of time and energy. It takes diligence and great time planning skills.
10. What kind of tips you could give to starting entrepreneur for reaching their goals?
Probably I won’t say anything that would surprise the students of EBS. Anyway: Set your focus – who and why you want to do it.
Editor: Liisa-Maria Lillepea
Translator: Marlen Kuusk
Pictures: IRIS JANVIER