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Katarzyna Jiwuaku's re-designing strategy

Katarzyna Jiwuaku lives and works from Warsaw, Poland. She is a lovely woman full of creative ideas, self motivated with that perfect blend of Polish traditions and cultural values.
What made my talks with her great was, knowing how smartly, she developed her small scal business and now, is keen to develop it even further. 

It all started when she actually lost her full time job, due to the recision in Europe. But she wasn't a person who would give it up easy. While she was looking around for opportunities and options, she re-designed some of her dresses during her free time. She says 'I had no money to buy new dresses and at the same time, I didn't want to continue wearing the old ones, so thats when I though, to re-design a few of my dresses'. Especially, because she was invited to a party from her close friend, and this time, she wanted to wear something different - I guess a woman thing, which we men will fail to understand :). 

At the party, her close friends noticed her dress, its style and elegance and, she could not keep it long within her, so she went ahead to tell them her secret. 'All of my friends were surprised to know that, I had actually re-designed some of my old dresses' she says. 'Although I am not a painter, or an artist or a person who works with colors, but, I have always had a keen eye on colors and clothes and I had this self idea on working as a fashion designer, but more into re-designing the older dresses, than to design something new because, if you continue to design and sell the new dresses, what do you do with the older ones, that was my concern and hence, I strategically though over it and eventually, gave a try' she said. 'What started as a pass time fancy, actually grew into a small scale business' she said. Some of her friends asked her if she could re-deisgn some of their old dresses, because, they just loved those, but at the same time, didn't want to wear them over and over again - I guess a woman thing again, which we men will fail to understand!

'How could I say no, to something which I enjoy doing, but I didn't know that it will become a business' she said. 'I was so glad, when my friend loved the dress I had re-designed for her. At first she could not believe that it was just her same old dress & she seemed to have loved it so much, that she went ahead to offer me money' she said. "First I refused. Yet she insisted, maybe, because she knew that I was job-less or, maybe, because she really loved the dress or maybe both and when I took the money, I felt a voce within me saying, yes, this is what I can do, this is what, I always loved to do and maybe, this is going to be my business and, I could get back to work again' she said.

And thats how actually she got into business. 'Good art and work needs no advertising. People talk and we women are best at it' she said and now after 2 years, she has a home based boutique, where she re-designs old dresses, sells them online and hopefully, plans to start a shop soon. 'We should not be complaining about our situation and circumstances, rather, we should always try to see how best we can make use of the opportunities around us and continue to try doing something, till we can actually feel it happening' she said. 'My husband and myself, have had very hard times these last 2 years and times are still hard for us, but, we have not given up yet. While we work part time jobs in order to raise money for our bills, I continue to re-design clothes because, thats what is something different than all the others what they do around us and thats what will make me unique with my offer to my clients' she said with a confident look and smile. 

After a 3 hour long talk with her, over dinner when I finally said goodbye to her, I was walking with just one though in mind thinking that, this world, is still full of creative minds, who do not let go the opportunities they are blessed with, rather, they just make the best use of them and pride over their achievements with times to come.

Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
City: Kolkata
Country: India
Date: September 9, 2010