The Self-Employment Programme has been designed to help everyone with a viable business idea, whether late or early starters. With a vision of carving herself a career combining fashion and business, Daniela took an MSc degree in modern management in Nice, France, and worked as an intern in London before she applied for the Self-Employment Programme in 2013. These locations were no accident, of course: Daniela chose them because of their reputations for fashion and lifestyle.
“My idea was to bring the fashion trends that I encountered in London and Nice back here to Skopje – not only trends in style and ways of living but also new ways of selling and enabling greater access to designer goods.”
The truly 21st century business that Daniela chose to set up with the support of the Programme is a sleek-looking fashion portal—bastetnoir.com—that works as an effective platform for presenting and selling the products of some of the country’s leading designers. The bastetnoir site is currently selling about ten high-level designer items a month. “That might not sound like much,” says Daniela, “but it means a lot to the designers to be selling their products to countries like Switzerland, the UK, Turkey, Serbia, and Slovenia.
” Daniela’s plans for the coming period are focussed on promoting further exports, creating an online campaign for social networks and other fashion media. As well as leading the way in her combination of online marketing savvy and fashion knowledge, Daniela has made her bastetnoir.com site a powerful vehicle for promoting the country in foreign markets as a source of unique and original creations. “I was looking for ways to help get my idea off the ground when some friends told me about the Self-Employment Programme,” says Daniela, “and since I was doing this all on my own I applied immediately.
The workshops really speeded up the process of starting up and the grant money I received once my plan was approved went a long way to cover the initial costs of equipping the office and the expenses involved in designing the website.” The really hard work began for Daniela in the first months after setting up the firm – the challenge of overcoming the scepticism of designers unfamiliar with online platforms for selling their products. “It was tough to win them over at first but now the site has over ten designers presenting their products and the sales are growing slowly but steadily. We’re taking one small step at a time but we’re moving forward.“