#makeithappen: The 26-year-old woman making a profit from art

Newsroom 19/12/2018 | 07:00

This summer, Business Review launched the #makeithappen campaign to promote Romanian entrepreneurship. Throughout 2018, Business Review has presented dozens of inspirational stories about Romanians who transformed their passions, hobbies and knowledge into successful businesses. We’ve revealed the stories behind domestic businesses, regardless of their sizes and the sectors they belong to, because we wanted to highlight the diversity and creativity of the Romanian business environment. Through this campaign, Business Review and CEC Bank are strengthening their commitment to be the primary source for information and financing for Romanian entrepreneurial initiatives.

The #makeithappen campaign continues with the story of Vizualist, an online store that combines the concept of interior decoration with contemporary art.

A young entrepreneur created a virtual space where art lovers can see and buy the latest creations by young artists and interior designers in Romania. At 26, Irina Ditu, a graduate of the University of Economic Studies – Faculty of Marketing, chose to build a business that delivers happiness.

“Beauty is the promise of happiness” is the motto we found as we were exploring her website, vizualist.ro. It’s an online shop with decorative objects you can use in your home or office. It was conceived as a creative playground where decorations contribute to the creation of a productive, inspirational and relaxing atmosphere. The designs used for the decorative objects are photos, paintings and graphic illustrations signed by artists in the Vizualist community.

Irina’s first attempt at doing business was right after she graduated, when she opened her first company and worked as a web & graphic design freelancer.

“The starting point for Vizualist was the idea of giving a personal touch to the rooms where we spend our time, as well as a great way to promote art, photography and illustration in Romania. We think that, through Vizualist, we are able to make people happier.”

The idea for the business was more like a revelation, in a difficult moment of her career. “I remember I was at Romanian Design Week 2017 and wanted to get out of the corporate area and go back to my passion for entrepreneurship and creative industries. And the opportunity arose with Start-Up Nation – it was exactly what I needed to start my business,” Irina recounts, in an interview for Business Review.

At that time, she was working as a marketing specialist for a group of companies and felt like it was time to change something in her life.

She is proud of the fact that, in about a year, the Vizualist concept managed to create a community of Romanian artists (Vlad Eftenie, Daniel Zlota, Diana Cojocaru, Ioana Petre, Dragos Dogaru), whose creations are printed and integrated on decorative objects. “It’s a dream come true,” Irina says.

From dream to reality

The launch of the Start-Up Nation programme gave Irina the chance to get the financing she needed to lay the foundations for her business. For several months, she worked for ten hours a day, six days a week. She put together her savings – EUR 5,000 – and added the money they obtained from the state. “We managed to access EUR 44,000 through Start-Up Nation and we purchased the equipment we needed to start the production of design & furniture, then we also started a crowdfunding campaign on a platform and financed the project a second time with EUR 2,420,” Irina recounts. Right after the project was approved by the strate, CEC Bank was the credit institution that believed in their business and offered them the financing, in the state’s name.

Today, hundreds of architects and designers, as well as individuals and companies, order products on the Vizualist platform.

The entrepreneur estimated that the business will break even in March 2019, with monthly revenues of over RON 250,000.

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