In part 2 of our interview with Kristina Dimitrova and Karina Abu Eshe of the #fashiontech focused organization, INTERLACED, the super-talented ladies talk new beginnings, challenges, and share tips on how to juggle, effectively, two full-time careers.
Dimitrova and Abu Eshe are two of three founders of the recently formed #fashiontech focused organization, INTERLACED. In what is a relatively new market, Dimitrova & Abu Eshe have created a platform with a trifold purpose: to help inspire and educate developments around the new wave of fashion, that which combines fashion with tech; fuel and support fashion houses in adopting new innovative tech in this space; and accelerate consumer adoption of wearable technology fashion and smart clothing.
If you missed Part One, you can read all about Dimitrova & Abu Eshe’s thoughts on the wearables and fashion-tech industry here.
[Cont.] What are the challenges you’ve faced so far?
KD: Setting up a company from scratch. It’s not easy, especially if you haven’t done it before and you’re an industry veteran. I used to wake up every morning thinking “Wow. Are we really doing this?”. I still do, but having seen the overwhelming feedback we’ve received I am a lot more excited.
KA: We are from three different backgrounds – marketing, architectural and graphic design which is great but also makes some aspects of administration difficult. However, we know how to do our research and in our 20s we still have the energy for sleepless nights. Limited budget actually help us to educate ourselves and be as efficient as possible.
You both work full-time jobs also. How do you juggle your full time jobs with INTERLACED?
KD: I love both my jobs and I wouldn’t be doing them if I couldn’t commit fully. I work on INTERLACED during the evening and weekends. It might sound like a cliché but if you find what you do satisfying and rewarding you don’t feel like you’re working. You do it because it matters to you and you believe in it. You get a kick out of it.
KA: I agree with Kristina, we love what we do and we don’t accept it as an obligation. My architectural position gives me the opportunity to recognize the rewarding feeling of designing a building. I don’t interfere my full-time job and INTERLACED. Yes, we work during evenings and weekends but we still set aside time for ourselves.
What advice can you give others who are trying to do the same?
KD: Do your research. Talk to people and be open to ideas. Select a team that believes in your concept but is also honest enough to say “this idea sucks”.
KA: Find time and a way to ‘zone out’ of the reality. My way is reading fiction books. It helps clear my thoughts and stimulate new ideas.
Since launching, what’s one important thing you’ve learned?
KD: To never underestimate a good team.
KA: Time is not quite enough. We need more than 24 hours a day.
What’s the greatest piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
KD: Know when to take advice or critique from someone and when you should ignore it. I’ve had people telling me the idea is not good enough and people who criticized me in a way that wasn’t constructive. You have to learn how to make the distinction between someone who’s genuinely trying to help you and someone who’s trying to undermine your dreams.
KA: Educate yourself and do your research but still ask questions, a lot of questions. There is no better way to learn but sharing information with people. Collaboration is key for successful business.
You’re 3460 miles away from each other, what tools do you use to stay in communication?
KD: We have regular catch-ups over Skype but for everyday chats we use everything – whatsapp, viber, facebook messenger, snapchat.
KA: If Viber incorporates conference call, we will stop using Skype.
What’s your favourite New York and London spot?
KD: New York – anywhere I can be with Karina! Last time we had a chocolate overdose catchup in Max Brenner on Union Sq. You can’t go wrong with friends and chocolate. I love the Sky Garden in London or walking along the Waterloo Bridge. It’s really hard to choose just one favourite spot!
KA: New York- Central Park in May. I love brunch in Brooklyn.
London- anywhere with friends. I would love to see Saw Swee Hock Student Centre [Riba Stirling Prize 2014].
Can you show us your desk space? (Photo)
KD: My “desk space” is anything I can put my laptop on … my bed, a table in a coffee shop, my lap on the train.
KA: Don’t judge.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
If you have any questions you want to ask INTERLACED, please let us know! You can read part one of their interview here. Interested in learning more about fashion tech? Early-bird tickets to INTERLACED 2015 on Sept 3rd at the Truman Brewery in London have now been released and can be purchased here. Get them quick!