I am very glad that you clicked on my first blog post on my website. It means that, in addition to the products on my e-shop, you are also interested in posts from a deeper perspective, such as stories and experiences from my creation and business, which I am going to share here with everyone who visits my website. I would like to first introduce my intentions and describe what this blog will be about.
Lately, I've been realizing with a heavy heart how drastically the fashion, music, and internet industries in general have changed over the past few years. First of all, I think it's absolutely great that everyone can be anyone in this world and there are no limits to the possibilities for success and professional growth for almost anyone.
When you wanted to start a company years ago, you had to count on some capital in advance, be in the right place at the right time, ideally study the field in which you do business and have at least one person next to you who will support you in the beginning and have a little more contacts than you. However, that has changed with the advent of Instagram, Facebook ads available to all users, and other applications and tools that make our lives so much easier and at the same time put incredible pressure on every entrepreneur.
I grew up in a time (I'll mention the period 2008-2014) when Facebook barely started to serve as a personal public diary, on YouTube were mostly published music videos from big record companies and funny kitten videos, Instagram belonged to artistic photographers, graphic artists and designers had their place at Deviantart and you could follow self-proclaimed celebrities on MySpace. At that time, Twitter in the Czech Republic was mainly for politicians, journalists, publicists writing short messages or jokes. Looking back, it's amazing that every community had a platform and a place to stand out.
Today, all platforms are interconnected and the acquired freedom is starting to take its toll. You can start a fashion brand without knowing how to sew, you can start a business without having a physical product in your hands, and you can become worldwide famous without having any talent, discipline or specific plan. Anyone can become an actor, singer, artist, comedian, entrepreneur, teacher, basically anyone on Tik Tok today. And it's great because today teenagers can grow up without worrying about what they'll be doing for a living for the rest of their lives. They can try everything on one single account and they can do it themselves without having to get a job somewhere and get years of professional experience.
I can see it in myself.
Originally, I wanted to become a journalist or an editor in a fashion magazine, so for that I studied fashion design for four years and after getting a diplom I was going to enter Charles University to study journalism. I thought that the road to success was paved with years of study and gaining experience with an employer before I built up some reputation and an attractive resume that would ensure my career advancement.
After high school, I applied to the journalism department as planned, and when they refused to let me into the second round of the admissions process, I went to Germany for two years to try my luck there. In Nuremberg, I received a valuable life lessons and experience at a company, where I learned to work with latex and instantly fell in love with it with the first touch of sheet. In October 2019, my plans were turned upside down and I had no choice but to return to the Czech Republic and try to build my own brand of latex clothing from practically nothing.
For the first few months, I spent a lot of time thinking about what to start with. What do I name the brand? What kind of clothes will I design, who is my target audience and who are my competitors? I will elaborate on these thought processes and beginnings in one of the next articles.
Now I would like to talk about why I am writing this blog and what my intentions are with it.
I founded my brand just one week after the Covid-19 pandemic was declared worldwide. All governments in Europe and the world have taken security measures and closed borders, airspace and severely limited personal contact. People stopped going to work, schools, theaters, cinemas, fitness centers, bars and shops. The whole world turned into ghost towns and all life went on behind lighted windows. There was a strong sense of the inevitable apocalypse outside. I remember that despite the curfew, I ran out in a panic attack and went for a walk in the center of the deserted city. Prague, usually infested with thousands of tourists every day, was suddenly all for me. Literally and literally, I met only one person during the two-hour trip, who probably suffered from the same feelings of fear and the unknown as I did and did not want to believe that life behind the walls of the home really ceased to exist.
I remember the exact moment when I realized that I couldn't wait any longer and I had to take action. In the first days of the pandemic, I couldn't sit at home and needed to be out in the air as much as possible. I walked the empty streets of Prague for hours. I wanted to make sure it was dead the same everywhere. At the end of the walk I realized that I had gone too far, it was already dark outside and the fastest and safest way home was by tram. I boarded tram number 22 and carefully examined my few fellow passengers from head to toe. I couldn't see their faces, but I could see what they were covering them with.
At the time, there was an acute shortage of medical masks in Czech republic, and the entire nation sewed them at home from the materials they had available. They were mostly pillowcases, tablecloths, old T-shirts. And then I saw the old man who had a giant sanitary pad over his mouth held together by two pins. I also saw an old lady with her bra on her face. As corny as it seems to me now, at the time I felt sadness and hopelessness for all those who found themselves alone in this difficult time without outside help.
At that time, I had about four meters of latex at home, which I bought for my personal use in 2019. At the time, a family friend lived in our house, who, like me, pondered what people wear on their faces and for the first time expressed the thought out loud, that I should create a collection of masks.
And so, during one of the first evenings of the pandemic, while listening to Eckhart Tolle's audiobook, I created the first collection. It was an unprecedented success. During the first month, I sold exactly 111 of them.
The pandemic fashion show was in all public transportation.
Despite this, the virtual world flourished and people in a flood of boredom began to think of ways to entertain themselves. I won't lie, I did the same thing. I spent the first mornings by cooking a lot of my favorite dishes with my family, as if I was going to eat them for the last time. I spent the rest of the day and into the night developing a collection of latex masks, not caring if it was successful or not. I just wanted to do what I love before I die of this horrible insidious disease (which, by the way, has eluded me the entire time).
And now finally comes the reason why I write this blog.
That marketing. In my opinion, this is the most difficult and boring part of the whole business. I would especially like to mention that during the pandemic, I didn't catch the moment when Facebook bought other apps and platforms, conected them together and modified the algorithms. I didn't even notice the moment when people stopped reading.
Lately, I've been noticing more and more world wide known celebrities (for example, Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park or singer Halsey) complaining that artists and entrepreneurs nowadays have to focus on social media and promotion in addition to focusing on their projects. And especially shoot videos the most, otherwise you won't be seen at all and will disappear in the giant ocean of tens of millions of small entrepreneurs, models and influencers. I said to myself "OK, I have no choice but to go with the times, even though I really hate being in front of the camera, I hate editing videos and most of all I hate spending long hours looking for the right music for those videos".
But then I realized that I can do what I've always enjoyed the most and limit doing what I don't enjoy and what the environment and the stupid algorithm require of me.
I always enjoyed writing and was good at it. I enjoy writing about myself, my thoughts and feelings without trying to sound perfect and professional. From videos and posts on social networks, you have no chance to find out who the person you are following really is. Often you don't even know what the person actually looks like under the makeup, filters and plastic surgeries. Unfortunately, I also encountered harsh reality with some of my models. They just didn't look like they did on their profiles in real life and it amazes me how much they edit their photos when they don't have to.
I have always wanted to be authentic in everything I do. I will always strive to stay true to myself and I will always prefer to target my true fan base and followers who don't just want to see the product and grasp at the straws of the consumerist society, but want exclusivity and authenticity.
I would like to mention at the end of the article what I will write about here.
Here I will tell the background of what I do. I really have a lot to say. I want to tell you how and why my designs are created, what I know about latex and take you on an amazing journey of my adventure.
I hope you guys don't mind to post your own thoughts in the comments.
Sincerely with love
Maria Kirsten Kronová