By Anda Ene
I met Dorine, less then a year ago at a Christmas Fair, organised by the American International School of Bucharest. Her kids were enrolled in the school but she was taking part in the fair as an exhibitor, among the other mothers from many different parts of the world presenting specific products from their their native countries. Dorine presenting their own unique creations – a very small collection, only five pairs, of exquisite earrings. From that moment, I became one of Dorine clients, probably one of her first, and it has been a real pleasure for me to see what she has managed to accomplish in less then one year: establishing her own brand, designed ten new models, handcrafted about 70 pairs of earrings, attracting a circle of loyal clientele and on the verge of going international.
How old are you and where do you come from?
I am 33 years old and I come from France in the Auvergne (volcanic countryside).
Why did you come to Romania and how do you find life here?
I followed my husband for his work. The life in Romania is good, I am feeling safe, the people are welcoming and they are interested in other cultures… I feel good here.
Dorine, I know that you are the designer and you also manufacture your collections. How did you discover this creativity of yours? How did you discover that you like to make earrings?
I have created handmade jewelry since I was very young. I was always interested in Brazilian bracelets. I made some small animals with beads…. I created Swarovski rings when I was teenager and sold them to my mother’s friend. So, it’s something that I have in me for a very long time, but before to came in Romania, I have no time to do, because I worked and I had to take care of my kids. When I came in Romania, I discovered that I have time for me, so I came back to my first passion.
At the beginning, I made the earrings only for me, playing with beads and colors, reproducing some models that I saw on internet, on DIY video…. and step by step, I started to come with new ideas about my own models, with shapes and colors combination that are reflecting my style.
I got new ideas, always in holidays or during the week- ends, when we are out of Bucharest, because I don t have my „working kit” and the beads with me, so I can not make what I usually do. Inevitable, I start to think and visualise new shape and new colors combinations. Another source of inspiration is the internet, in terms of the materials I work with: natural stones, beads and other accessories that help me come up with new models. Just playing with colors, making, sometimes, unexpected combination is a great source of inspiration for me.
Can you describe the process of creation? You followed a course or it was a self-taught process?
I didn’t do any course, except when I learnt how to make Brazilian bracelets or a specific animal for a broach. This technique of weaving is very old and was used by the Amerindian people and African people to make necklaces or to decorate their clothes.
I learn it by myself with internet tutorials and the more I practice, the faster I am and my technique gets better. It Is a work of patience, because you weaving bead by bead so it takes a very long time to create big pieces.
Where you sell and who is your clientele?
I sell in Bucharest, in French community and international community and to my Romanian friends at my kids’ school, to my friends also and in France in my reseau (colleagues sister’s friends, mom friends) and now I begin to have clients who see the earrings on my customers and asks to have photos of my collection. So, I had to prepare a catalogue with all my models, because people are curious find out about my others creations. Hopefully, soon, an online shop will be available, also for my international clientele.
We could say that coming to Romania offered you the chance to rediscover a part of you that, maybe, otherwise, would have remained unexpressed and underdeveloped. What do you think is the best approach for an expat wife to make the best out of her time here?
For myself, I took this opportunity to leave my job and my country to develop something new, that I’ve had within me for a longtime. Now I try to think about the future, how can I develop this activity more when I return to my country.
What is the best way for an expat wife, who, like you, wishes to promote her business and make herself known within that community and beyond?
Go to the coffee gatherings of the expat community, communicate about your activity, take time to discuss and make new friends, new connections and step by step you will built a reseau and also frelationships and you will be able to access fairs or even you can organize a private sale or a coffee sale by yourself at home at first, and see how it works.