Coloring interior design ideas

Newsroom 01/10/2015 | 14:36

For Hermina Simionescu, general manager of the Culori si Idei paints and coatings concept store, the shift from marketing and negotiations to her own enterprise led to a business that generates EUR 100,000 a year. She tells Business Review how she started her firm, why she turned down a partnership offer and how the company survives on a crowded market.


Anda Sebesi


How did you enter the Romanian business scene and when?

The idea to launch such a business came at a tipping point for my life, when I decided to start my own company based on both my professional experience in different key positions I had held in the private and public sector and my passion for colors, interior design and decorations. I wanted to start a business that I could manage and be in charge of 100 percent. The idea came one night when I thought of redecorating my home. I have also had another business specialized in decorations for three years now but Culori si Idei is the first business that is 100 percent my creation.


Why did you decide to launch such a business in Romania?

The concept of Culori si Idei started when I had to decorate my kitchen and I had no idea what type of paint I should use for walls and furniture. Like anyone who loves fashionable decorations I couldn’t decide the best way to decorate my home. This is why I decided to set up a business providing quality products and specialized assistance services in the field of paints and coatings. At present the portfolio of Culori si Idei consists of Akzonobel brands Dulux, Sadolin and Hammerite.


What was the most difficult moment for your business and how did you manage to surmount it?

Any business has its ups and downs so I can’t specify the most difficult moment for Culori si Idei because I saw them as a challenge rather than a difficult time. For example, after the first year of operational activity of Culori si Idei I was invited to work with another brand that is present on the local market. Although it was a tempting financial offer I decided to continue my business without forming any partnerships. I truly believe that it is important for you to follow your path both professionally and personally. Over the temptation to obtain short-term benefits it is possible that any new element could affect the way things work on the long term. So I decided to benefit from the reliable medium- and long-term advantages instead of short-term yields.


If you started another business, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t change a thing because I think that when I created the concept of Culori si Idei I knew that this was my way. Even if I started another business without the advantage of much experience I would develop the same concept.


What are the main challenges facing you in your business now and how do you solve them?

Every day we face the same major challenge: to satisfy our customers, attract, maintain and keep them permanently loyal. It is also very important for us to adapt to the new market trends and prove our professionalism to our customers and partners.


How fierce is the competition in your field of activity and what do you think differentiates you from the crowd?

The Romanian paints and coatings market is pretty crowded, with the majority of players being positioned on the middle segment. We have about five main competitors as we are positioned on the premium market. In addition to our products we also offer integrated consultancy services for residential, commercial, industrial and outdoor design and specialized technical assistance for the use of our products. We also collaborate with architects, interior designers and constructors in order to offer them the support to complete their projects. Despite our positioning in premium products, the quality-price ratio is advantageous and so we have customers from all social categories. After two years of operational activity, Culori si Idei now has a 30 percent market share on the premium segment.


What are your plans?

Our plans include short-, medium- and long-term objectives. On the short term we aim to expand our activity by opening a new concept store in addition to the existing one. Our medium-term goal is to extend our network of customers nationwide and launch an online platform through which we will offer our services both nationwide and worldwide. On the long term we intend to extend our network of concept stores to the major Romanian cities. We are also thinking of initiating a collaboration with partners from other international hubs on the interior design segment. We do not intend to become an industrial player as our goal is to remain a concept store where every customer benefits from a customized approach.


Culori si Idei in numbers

Established: 2013

2014 turnover: EUR 100,000

2015 estimated turnover: EUR 140,000

Number of employees: 3

Initial investment: EUR 80,000

Total investment so far (estimation): EUR 200,000

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