This article is the first in Creative Objects - Not for Granted category that aims to celebrate the common things we use everyday but we forgot to appreciate. It's also...
Who are you?
I’m Bianca Daneș from Cisnădie, I’m 42 years old and I’ve always been a seamstress.
What makes you happy?
Simple things, my family and what I’m doing right now. I can say that I feel a super happy person!
What is your activity?
First of all, I create products that make me happy. For example, I create bed linen, decorative pillows, lavender bags, children’s clothes. I want much more, especially because I have found a wonderful niche: that of natural fabrics and tradition, which I want to share with people who are interested in this style.
What did you discover at the beginning when you had your first contact with the sewing machine?
That was a long time ago, at the age of 14-15, when I couldn’t find myself in the clothes that were available in the stores so I started to make my skirts, blouses and dresses. I didn’t see myself dressed in those typical communist clothes. I always came with changes to that uniform we had to wear. I remember that at the end of the 8th grade, I made my own dress for the banquet event.
How many years have you been doing tailoring?
I have been making garments for 24 years. For the last 11 years I have worked for the Lacoste brand, making the same products but with different fabrics and to a very high quality standard. You get used to it, it’s like breakfast with coffee and biscuits.
What made you start this journey?
The fact that in 2013, when I initially started with a fabric store, I couldn’t find what I wanted, pure, natural fabrics. I was used to work to a certain quality standard and it was a shock to see that the whole market was invaded by Chinese and cheap low quality things. I repaired a lot of bed linen bought from other stores, which, being washed, came to me with extremely high water contractions, meaning that the contractions were not calculated practically in the linen metreage.
I did all this out of a lack, out of dissatisfaction, I was practically not satisfied with what I was selling and while talking to Adi, my husband, I was encouraged to start the business. The first business phase was working in an extremely small workshop with quite high expenses. I had wonderful people around me, who gave me the strength to move on. Now we are the same people but in a special location where we made a huge emotional investment, turning an abandoned hall into something beautiful.
How did your business start and grow?
It started at home in pretty awful conditions in Andrei’s (my son’s) room, which I “exiled” to my grandparents and set up a small workshop. I bought my first overcasting machine, I already had a sewing machine and a manual pedal machine that helped me sew various materials.
Ever since 2013, when I opened the store selling fabrics, curtains and drapes, I thought of the option to also create them.
In order to be able to sell those materials, the customer had to have not only the option to buy the fabric he/she wanted but also the workmanship. From the very beginning, I gave people the opportunity to come up with the measures, the dimensions, to buy the fabric today and, in about a day’s interval, to have the accessories and whatever they wanted.
It was quite difficult at the beginning given the fact that in Cisnadie, it was the only store with this kind of services. It’s still the only one.
After about 6 months people got used to it and more and more customers came, that I could not manage the volume of work in the home workspace. So I decided to create a small workshop and from there It started all. More and more. The fact that I was not satisfied with the bed linen I bought from Bucharest, which had atypical dimensions, other than what was written on the label, determined me to buy bed linen fabrics.
Later on I met a wonderful lady who currently works in Cisnadie with a quilting factory. So I decided to go for the idea of quilting fabric for pillows, bed covers, decorative pillows and summer blankets.
(Photos made by Bianca Daneș)
What is tailoring for you?
To express myself, being there in my world. A lot of people see tailoring as a necessity, for me it is a way of expressing myself, just as painters paint. I also made wedding dresses, work equipment, dolls, aprons, etc. I want to create permanently, for home use, but because now I have employees and rents to pay, I can’t really allocate all my time to creation. We have to work differently, we are a team and we have to manage to have enough income to support the business.
(Photos made by Bianca Daneș)
What is the greatest joy when you create something?
When a client places my products in his/her room and sends me a message or pictures telling me that what I have done is extraordinary. I think this is the greatest joy of my creation. I also feel joyful when I dress my children with things I made and I see them happy.
What materials do you prefer?
Cotton, linen, jute. Jute is a non-washable material, it is natural, it gives off a country scent. It reminds me of my childhood, my grandparents had flax plantations, we harvested flax, made bouquets, brought them home. Their smell lasts until winter. I still remember that pure linen smell.
How do people receive your creations?
Simple, well-educated people are very nice, they appreciate things I do very much and they are happy that they can go back to a piece of linen, to a linen table cloth/napkin. On the other hand, people who have not been educated to appreciate a linen bedding, they are only interested in buying as cheaply as possible, they are not interested in quality. People with a lot of money and well-educated people appreciate my work and say that they want quality, they don’t care so much about costs. It also happened that I had such clients who simply determined me to go ahead and believe my dream.
What is the most important thing when you offer something?
First of all, when the customer picks up his/her order, I unfold a piece for them, any piece. It happened to me that 2-3 customers turned my piece upside down and smiled at me because they found what they were looking for. Quality. I think that’s the most important thing: to deal with people who know what quality means and I’m extremely happy when I see that they appreciate it.
What do you mostly appreciate when interacting with your customers?
Honesty. I also had negative experiences with customers but these were shaded by other wonderful people for whom I had the opportunity to work.
How many people are on the team right now?
5 with me 6.
What does everyone do?
About everything. Tailoring, sewing and ironing. The process is as follows: acquisition, tailoring, making, ironing and finishing. In the finishing phase you have to put them in bags, label them with a price and make an invoice.
What is your relationship with the team?
Wonderful, otherwise we wouldn’t stand together. Our goal is to do the job together. It never happened for them to work and me staying, not doing anything. Everyone knows what to do. In the morning we gather, have a coffee together and say: “Today we have this things to do. You do this, you do that, I do this”. We always share our tasks. They leave home around 3 o’clock. After 3 until (I don’t know how long) evening I have to prepare the cuts for the products we have for the next day. That’s how I plan. I want them have everything ready to sew when they come at work.
Your business in 3 words
Work, Creativity and Honesty
What do you think was the strength point in the development of your business?
The quality I offer
What do you think you changed over time and helped you?
I became much more confident. Definitely.
What kind of support did you receive on your entrepreneurial way?
Love and trust. I was always super excited about all sorts of things and opportunities and Adi would say to me, “Okay, we’ll do it.” Other times I used to say, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay our bills in full at the end of the month,” and he would tell me, “You’re going to succeed, Bi, you’re going to succeed because you’re made to struggle.” That gave me confidence to continue.
Can you tell us a few words or feedback that you remember from your customers?
Yes, “Wonderful!” It happened to me with a lady and the unexpected thing was that she was not the person who placed the order. She opened a piece, looked at me and said, “Bianca, it’s wonderful what you did.” That was wow!
What emotions do you want to instill through your creations?
Mood. I want to pass on my mood that I have while I am creating for a customer. With this idea I started the business.
What is creativity for you?
Haha! I think it gives me that feeling like: I don’t know. I have to be very rested and very happy the moment I create. I can say that this represents me. I don’t like to just create fabrics, I create food, draw and make floral arrangements.
What does creativity sound like in your vision?
It kind of expressed me in my way of being. My only regret is that I don’t have much time. I would like to do many more things. I would also like to garden, to plant certain plants.
What do you think is creative in what you do?
I don’t know if a lot of people see creativity in this activity. It is creative that I am inspired by nature and the things that make me happy. I am looking to create a context for my product that will highlight it along with other elements. For me, creativity is what is beyond the stitch itself
How can tailoring be creative?
In thousands of ways.
Please give me an example.
You take a piece of curtain and make a dress out of it. I did this. You take a dress and turn it into a blouse. I think that’s creativity. To turn one thing into another. To buy a material, second-hand linen and make a curtain. I’m not looking to do that classic tailoring, where I’m given some standards and do it in a set time. I want everything atypical.
What inspires you?
By nature. It inspires me the most, given that I work with natural materials and because I want to work with them all the time. I am also inspired by simple things, nothing fancy.
What makes a seamstress outstanding?
Creativity. An outstanding seamstress is creative. It happened to me that a customer came to me and didn’t what she wanted precisely and then you have to be creative, otherwise you do nothing. The person comes and tells me: “I would like a bed linnen, but I don’t want it to be white”. You need to know what to show the person.
What did tailoring teach you personally?
To be more creative, to be more patient, calmer and peaceful. When I am at the workshop I’m different person than I am at home. Here I’m not the restless person, forever not available. I always find time for tailoring.
What is your biggest dream about what you do?
To develop my business as much as possible on the niche I like. I want to buy some better machines and be able to work for people who truly appreciate what I do. If I receive European funds, I will definitely buy an embroidery machine. It’s amazing what you can create. Then I’ll probably follow this niche too. That would be a future plan.
What do you want to share with those who want to follow their passion?
To trust themselves and believe in their dream. For me, the fact that Adi supported me, from all perspectives, when I had hard times, when I had small children, when I had sleepless nights and when I was sick, means a lot. Adi was always by my side and encouraged me: “You will succeed, you will see that you will succeed!”. If you have people around who say, “Oh, it’s very hard, you’ll see you’re going to have expenses, you’re not going to make it.” then it’s ready. I think that the influence of the husband, boyfriend or family is 50% of the success. Next to a person pulling you down you can struggle as much as you want.
It’s the same in business as in marriage. If you have understanding and communication then you have success.
In the end, I would like to challenge you with a slightly atypical question. What can you do with a piece of flax and a carrot?
Or a carrot juice
Bianca, where can we find you online?
On Facebook page of my tailoring workshop – Bia Art Textil
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for your time and I wish you much inspiration in the projects you work on!
Do you know a person who is creative in his/her business?
I would love to hear about this person!