Inspired by a lack of innovation in the luxury industry and her passion for Italian craftsmanship, Victoria Burlacu founded Faber Novella with the aim to democratise the luxury footwear sector, by offering customers the ability to create a unique product, that truly reflects the personality, lifestyle and ambitions of the wearer.
What inspired you to start a business?
I had quite entrepreneurial jobs for most of my professional career, so I knew I would start a business one day. It was just a question of what and when. As a lot of businesses out there, I started Faber Novella from a personal need. Despite living in several countries, I always struggled to find shoes that suited my personal style and needs. Either the heel was not right, the fit was inapt, the color not to my taste. So, I embarked on a journey to create high-quality, yet accessible shoes that women could actually walk in, shoes that support them in every step of their journey and give them confidence because they are uniquely theirs. Without knowing anything about shoemaking, I then travelled to Vigevano, Italy’s luxury shoe capital, where I spent two years working with master craftsmen to develop Faber Novella’s signature styles, curating each custom-made feature with the highest attention to detail.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
Taking responsibility for the decisions you make and accepting that a lot of bad decisions will be made on the way, being able to take risks, but also finding the motivation to keep going when things get tough.
On the other hand, being an entrepreneur provides an incredible learning experience. You are exposed to so many different areas. Everyday there is something new, there is never a dull moment. At the same time you feel a much greater sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when you start seeing the results of your hard work. Nothing beats that feeling when you receive a thank you note from a happy customer.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?
Often entrepreneurs ignore setting long-term goals, as they are trapped in the daily operations of running a company. I think it is important to think about them, write them down, and then review every year and check if you are going the right direction or if you need to change it. Short-term goals are equally important, but the approach is different. It requires agility, greater flexibility, and keeping an open mind. Don’t focus just on the outcome, but also on the process getting there. Without doubt the path is not always smooth.
Share the success with the team and celebrate it. Acknowledge failure, take the time to analyze what went wrong and why, learn from it and move forward. You are not the first, nor the last to make mistakes. Every entrepreneur experiences failures throughout their journey.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
When you have a business that involves manufacturing of physical products for consumers there are many challenges: from getting the right suppliers, developing the right product, to identifying the right customers, but also the right investors. Creating a successful business is like a big puzzle where all the pieces have to fit perfectly.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
Having started the business in an industry I knew nothing about, getting external advise from the start was crucial. Identifying the right mentors or advisors is one of the most important task to do when starting a business, as these people do not only have knowledge and experience, but also a vast network, which is highly important for any entrepreneur, especially in the early days.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
I am a big supporter of networking, but attending events and meeting people for coffee can quickly turn into a full-time job. So focus on what is relevant for you and your business. At the same time, building a valuable network is a long-term exercise.What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
As Carmen Busquets, a luxury and fashion entrepreneur, says “Think big but start small”, and I couldn’t agree more.
What does the future hold for you?
The fashion industry is undergoing a mini revolution, with more and more brands embracing the latest technology, redefining business models, and providing customers with unique experiences. Faber Novella is part of this movement, redefining luxury footwear. It’s an exciting journey.
Reach Victoria on Twitter @Vburlacu
Step into the Faber Novella world on Instagram @FaberNovella
Connect with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fabernovella