1. Please tell us about who you are and what you do.
A: I was born in Tulcea in a lower middle class family. I studied Marketing and Commerce in College and also attended Chemistry Faculty for 2 years. Although chemistry was a very interesting field, I didn’t finish those studies due to various reasons. When I was a student, I needed money, like every other student, so I got a job as a door to door sales person. Doing this job, I learned a lot about interacting with clients and people in general and I gained new perspective and self-confidence, not to mention selling abilities. Since then, I worked for different companies doing direct selling or business to business. Now I work for Flanco Retail, a renowned national electronic company, where I gradually advanced from sales consultant, to deputy director, and finally, to store manager. I proudly manage the store for already 10 years now. Here, I learned a great deal about how to persuade and persevere, overcoming obstacles and crisis management. I also learned that in order to succeed in business, one has to surround himself with valuable and responsible people, whom sooner or later would want to work on their own dreams.
2. Share your backstory with us. How did your business or organisation come about and what was it that switched you on to this area in the first place?
A: I’ve been wandering the Delta channels since I was 9. I’m passionate about fishing and this is how I got to explore and get familiar with all the channels, backwaters and hidden corners of Danube Delta. Back then these were remote spots known only by local fishermen. I gradually got in touch with the locals in Crisan, Mila 23 and Murighiol, learned customs and local traditions and was just enchanted by these still untouched by capitalism places.
Danube Delta Riders was just a natural response to my wanting to share the Delta’s beauty. As for the company’s name, it was inspired by the motorbikes clubs. I always had a thing for crests and like them, I wanted the name to suggest trust, security and masculinity.
In 2012 I had my first commercial touring adventure. Back then, I had a 6 m boat with a capacity for nine adults. Later, in 2018, I associated with my partner, Dan Pericleanu, and we started Danube Delta Riders. We expanded and we now own four speed boats with a total capacity of forty adults and seven kayaks. We offer team buildings, guided photography tours, and packages that include accommodation and transport from the airport or any city in Romania upon request. For those who like to be pampered, we have a VIP package to satisfy their needs, with luxury transportation and accommodation.
3. What do you think or hope the future has in store for you and your business? Where do you see yourself or your organisation five years from now?
A: Romania offers a large range of landscapes and biodiversity. Romanian tourism is well developing and 2019 numbers show that: Danube Delta’s tourism potential rose to 70% from previous years. I’m confident that this development is durable and sustainable. In five years time, we are hoping to evolve from traditional tourism to niche tourism strategy, focusing more on the quality of services, then the commercial aspect.
4. How has lockdown been for you and for your business and what have you done that has helped you personally and professionally?
A: Of course, the coronavirus restrictions greatly impacted the economy, the Romanian tourism especially. Moreover, in the Danube Delta and on the seaside, tourism is seasonal, and the activity span is around 6 months every year. On my opinion, companies that handled well last year’s profits, cushioned their economic decline and bounced back after social distancing restrictions were loosened. We maintained our partnerships with the accommodation facilities we are working with, we negotiated and signed new contracts and had an overall good retention with our clients.
5. What’s your take on Bucharest and Romania. What are the highs and the lows in your opinion?
A: Bucharest is a very busy city. Highs: business opportunities, great coffee, exciting nightlife, beautiful historic buildings. Lows: traffic, pollution and parking are problematic.
Romania is quite a unique, still developing country, full of variety and rich history, mountain, sea and delta. Highs: rawness, organic food, tradition Lows: infrastructure.
6. What is your must do/must visit/favorite thing to do or show off to visitors here in Bucharest and Romania at large?
A: If you are in Bucharest, you must take a walk down Victoria’s Way. You can shop luxury brands, admire old buildings, rest for a bit on the steps of Athenaeum and breathe in history, and if you’re into classical music and the coronavirus restrictions will be lift by then, book a concert too. If you get hungry, you’ll find a lot of restaurants and nice terraces all around the Athenaeum.
If you want to see more of Romania, I’d for sure recommend visiting Danube Delta, but also cities like Cluj, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Constanta.
7. What is your number 1 recommendation now for a book/film/series/app/ or gadget?
A: I would recommend Maitreyi by Mircea Eliade and Morometii by Marin Preda. These books are famous and you can also find films based upon them: The Bengali Night (1988) and Morometii (1987), (2018).
8. If you could eat in any restaurant in all of Romania and have dinner with anyone in the world (not a husband/wife/relative) which restaurant would that be and with which person?
A: I’d like to have dinner with my favourite actor, Joaquin Pheonix, at Vatra Regala Restaurant in Predeal, Romania.
9. Sum up your business in one sentence, what it is and why should people engage with it.
A: KEEP CALM AND RIDE WITH THE BEST!
10. Describe your Romania in one word.