I was so happy to find the most interesting accessory designer from Slovenia, Metka Tratnik from Velenje near Ljubljana, establishing contact with her and I'm grateful she managed to find time to answer my questions and to be a part of my intention to promote young and new Mediterranean creatives on my blog.
Here are my questions and Metka's answers. Enjoy!
After I found out about you and your brand Tiesy on Facebook and decided to get one of your ties, I am more then sure you are about to get an international success. Do you feel the same?
I do! I know it since I started with women’s ties. It’s pretty amazing how your feelings integrate with your business acts. When the first Tiesy tie was made, I started with all my Facebook posts in English. That was my first step to international.
Furthermore, tell us about yourself. What school did you finish? Do you have any fashion education? Or you just have your guts and inspiration?
I graduated from the Faculty of Economics. Fashion and all about creativity is in my gens :) My dad knew how to sew with hands and machine, he was really good at wood designing and has some very good ideas how to handmade a lot of thing at home. But he died when I was 6, so my mum thought me all about sewing. Later on I wanted to be a fashion designer but everyone was telling me all the time that it is not a real job. It can be a hobby, but you can’t live with a job like this. So I went to gymnasium and failed. Mathematics are just not my thing :) So I switched to tourist school. Fashion and being creative stayed in me, and when I went to college I knew I’ll be entrepreneur and have my own company that will somehow be connected with creativity.
How did you decide to start your own business, to be an entrepreneur? Do you have a team or you’re working all by yourself? Is it hard to be a boss and to do all the administrative work together with creative work?
I have worked in several different companies; from big corporation to small family businesses. And I didn’t fit in. I was successful and very good team player, but I knew I can do better on my own. So after a very bad experience in my last job, I decided to go on my own.
First I started with selling a natural cosmetics, then I developed a very special repellent blend for dogs made of essential oils and set up a very first Slovenian dog blog. It was huge success but I wanted more of it, and impatient as I was, I dumped it and move on with another business idea.
I set up a men ties online store and found out that men are very bad impulsive buyers and I should concentrate more on women. That's how the Tiesy was born.
At first I was alone, but now I have some help with a sewing part.
Sometime I feel exhausted of everything and I want to quit. But just in time I get back! I know very well I can’t work in big company 9-5 and get back home and do nothing. It’s just not me. I need my own tempo, my own pressure. It’s very important to me. So all that work I have to do every day it’s essential for me and it’s not hard.
Where do you find the inspiration? For example, how did you come out with the series The Black Goddess?
I watch fashion shows of other designers and try to sum up some outlines to find out what the trends are. Sometime you have to set up your own trend and I think I became a trendsetter with my ties. It feels like a lot of women find it very trendy and I’m very happy to satisfy my clients fashion needs.
Black Goddess came up from my moment of insecurity. I fell lost and confused It was pretty hard for me when my creativity just popped out to save me. Usually I get pictures in my mind, and in that time I saw everything as a Gothic fairytale. And in that time the Black Goddess was created.
How do you work? Where do you find fabrics, are ties finished or you start from the blank piece of fabric?
I have suppliers from all over the world. For some ties I start from scratch, some others are partly made. I’m choosing all the best materials like silk, cotton, poplin and some are made from high quality polyester which is stain resistant.
How does your custom made offer work?
Usually I get an email or a call from a customer and they usually ask how long does it take and how much it costs. It depends on client’s wishes, sometimes it’s very hard to shoot out the price. Often they have very abstract wishes with tulle, rhinestones and brooches. When I finish their tie together, I send the photos to the customer. Then through discussion we make agreement for repairs and upgrades if necessary. It’s nice to have such an original clients.
Did you present your work in any fashion show or trade show already?
Tiesy was on a few small fashion shows, nothing significant but the best is yet to come! ;)
Slovenia is part of Mediterranean Region and although you don’t live directly at the seacoast, what do you think about Mediterranean style? Does it exist in your opinion?
It’s very specific! And I love it! There are many particular colours and fabrics much more lighter than for continental part. Mediterranean style is very stripy, which I simply adore! It gives you the comfort everybody needs. A lot of blue and white. Love it! I think I already have some Mediterranean ties; there are some stripes, blue ties.
What are your plans for the future?
For the moment I got the documentation that all my designs are protected at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) and my plans are bigger every day. Right now I’m onto opening a Croatian market and I hope the second one will be US.
Luckily for me and all of you, not only Slovenians, Croatians and Americans, you can order your Tiesy through me too! So, send me an email or call me for some unique and refreshing business accessory.