I graduated from college… and now what's next? Many of us would say a master.
Well, all my colleagues do that, and I thought I'd do it too. Obviously, I'm not saying it's a bad thing for those who know what they want to do later or at least who are educated to figure out what job suits them. That was not my case.
I studied for a whole summer until a large piece of hair actually fell from the top of my head. I had to go on a budget, my family couldn't afford other school fees.
I entered the master's degree and after a year of learning about Psychology in National Security I realized that I would never work at SRI, half-legged tattooed and I would not care about anyone from the Fire Department if in the psychological office is someone dressed cool.
I had a small obsession that as a teenager: to dress differently every day. I wouldn't have thought that I could make money from it, it was just a passion, I didn't need a "book" for it, and my parents taught me that to make money I need a "book".
As I could not afford new clothes every time I sniffed, I made the discovery of my life, second-hand shops. God, how much I liked to browse shoulder to shoulder and make 3 outfits for 20 lei. It was incredible! I was wondering why not everyone does this !?
In my teens, Facebook was the coolest social media channel. The online world compliments me on the way I dress and every time they asked me where to buy my clothes. That's how I got an idea: what would it be like to buy second-hand clothes, change them because I did so with my clothes and try to sell them on Facebook? Said and done!
I managed to raise 200 lei and went to my favorite second hand. For a week I changed clothes, posed for them and uploaded them online. I'm not kidding when I say that they were sold in 2 hours !!! Can you figure out what that means to me? I made 400 lei in 2 hours, from my passion and from the same free time that I spent doing this anyway. Not to mention the satisfaction I had after the appreciations and thanks from the buyers.
Then everything went naturally… a new Facebook page, the likes page, not the friendship page (that's what I called a Facebook business profile in 2012) which was called 'FUNKERS - Second Hand Clothes'.
When I was in high school, my mother had a clothing boutique, with clothes sold from the Red Dragon (for those who don't know, the Red Dragon is the largest wholesale complex in Romania, I would say, with sellers and producers mostly from Turkey, China and Romania).
So, one day he comes and tells me that it would be much easier for me to sell new clothes and that I can use this Red Dragon for a start. Admittedly, her idea was that many girls wanted clothes from Funkers, but not second-hand. So he took me to the famous Red Dragon. A huge complex, with 9 halls full of clothes, accessories, toys and absolutely everything you can think of. I discovered that it's not just "3 to 10 lei" clothes, that I can find exactly what I want to sell, without spending hours changing them.
The business itself
The sale of FUNKERS clothes was exclusive through Facebook. In 2012 it was a novelty, not even the big fast-fashion stores were active online in Romania, so it was a real success.
When I realized that it only takes me half a day to read dozens of Facebook order messages and process them, I asked for the help of my first employee, Andreea.
How did I get to Andreea? After several years of working in the corporation, Andreea and another friend of hers thought it was the right time to do something in the social media field. Who knew about social media and that you can become a specialist in this, that you can earn money from Facebook posts and that you need a strategy for these posts? Very few and I was not one of them.
Andreea proposed a meeting to present their strategy to me, she taught me that it is effective to post pictures of funny animals, with 'Good morning!', In order to receive as many likes and comments as possible (engagement - word learned later) . These brought me followers interested in the posts with Funkers clothes.
Easy, easy, Andreea had become a full member of Funkers. In addition to social media, she also takes over orders from Facebook messages. What's more, he was the first full-time Funkers employee. In fact, the first employee of Georgiana Petrescu PFA. That's how I came face to face with accounting, an area in which I could have sworn that I would never work, but here's how I learned to invoice in excel, to hire, to pay taxes by submitting forms to ANAF.
We had reached 80 orders a day, only from Facebook messages, so we went to Orange and asked for a number and a phone number for the legal entity. Everything was getting serious.
I received the first Funkers phone number, which we still use today: 0758236005, I don't think I will be able to forget it, although I don't know mine by heart.
Later, in 2013, I discovered Wix and the fact that you could make a website with drag and drop. But this drag and drop was also SF for me, so my friend Ana helped me create it. It didn't take long and the first online store, the first Funkers site, appeared. I had no idea what a domain meant and according to what criteria you should choose it, so of course I wanted the most pompous and difficult to remember domain possible: TheFunkers.Com.
It took almost 2 years until I realized that we are in Romania and that the domains in Romania are .ro. And what about that 'THE'? Finally we reached the final and current form of Funkers.ro.
I befriended Razvan, a neighbor of the block who then had an online shoe store. From him I learned many things about the world of online, such as that there are programmers and these programmers manage to create a website for sale exactly as you want. I remember him telling me, 'Georgiana, if you want snow on the site, snow on the site.' It was another level and of course I wanted it. Not long after, I had the first website for sale on a slightly more professional platform at that time, with a popular theme and 'Add to Cart' buttons that I could easily and alone modify.
2014 was the magical year for me: I gave up PFA and created the company Funkers SRL.
I met my current husband, Adrian Popa, who worked at DPAP, a large company compared to Funkers and my entrepreneurial level.
Adrian deals with the Marketing part, a part that I went through from "feeling" and not according to real criteria. I had no education in this field, so any help (preferably free) was welcome. Why do I say free when the store was successful? Well, because I was still selling from my own living room and because I started from such a 0 level, maybe even minus 0, that I wouldn't have risked anything to go back there. In addition, I had just heard of a terribly high percentage of start-ups that fail in the early years, which is why I was very careful about the company's expenses and personal expenses so as not to fall into that percentage.
However, the number one priority was to move the store out of the apartment. He was no longer comfortable. There were at least 3 people who worked constantly, two people who had a key from me at home, who came to work at 09:00, sometimes even before I woke up.
How do employees who come to work wake you up, given that you have an average of 50 orders per day? It was clear we had to move! And so I did. Suddenly I had an office, a company headquarters separate from my home, a place to prepare to leave in the morning, but also a living room. I forgot what it's like to have a living room.
After moving from the living room, I felt a huge need for the next upgrade: creating my own designs. This has been the goal since the beginning, since we modified second-hand clothes: to create and manufacture our own models. So I turned to a production workshop in Bucharest. There I came face to face for the first time with tailoring, but at a superficial level, such as: if you want the pants to be so wide, these meters of material represent a loss, but if we make them narrower by 5 cm, the production cost halves.
Hmm… halved cost, it also means doubled profit, but those 5 cm make the difference between what you find in all stores and what you find at Funkers. Clearly we decided to make them with the extra 5 cm and we assume the losses.
We assumed more and more losses, but at the same time we laid the foundations of a Romanian brand with our own production. The success of the first articles I created and made was impressive. Imagine that we still have a large part of those products on Funkers.ro, products for which there is still demand. For example, the Conic Crush pants are one of the first own models, still active on the site. It has become a classic model, which customers, after repetitive behavior, return and order again.
From this point, everything has escalated in terms of investment.
We changed several locations, more workshops, more employees, until we reached a form that still exists. I ended up having a team that knows where each needle and thread in the store is, that knows the loyal customers and anticipates the needs of the new customers.
Speaking of needles: one of the best investments was the creation of the Funky Workshop.
I had to be able to control the prototyping in my own workshop.
The dozens of trips to the workshop we work with and the dozens of refusals to create a product as I wanted, motivated me to this change.
Like anything so far, it has not been easy.
Like accounting, marketing and IT, initially SF things for me in which I gradually became educated, 'baby steps', so was the field of tailoring. Yes, I change second-hand clothes, but I attach an accessory, a few targets, a painting, this was not even 5% tailoring.
Investment in me
I enrolled in a tailoring course, it was the simplest and cheapest way to learn what to eat.
I was not interested in learning to sew, so I failed to pass the practical test of straight sewing, but instead I knew the role of each sewing machine, each cutting machine and the types of sewing needles for industrial machines, what kind of industrial iron it is more efficient and for what kind of stitches it is used, etc.
After I bought together with Adrian, my husband, everything that was necessary for this workshop and after a constant struggle to find labor, I realized that I will have to deepen the field of cohorting and through practice, not only through the acquisition of raw materials. .
My mother was involved in Funkers from the beginning. From the stage when we spent hours at the post office to completing delivery orders and handing over the parcels for delivery, to the point when we had a contract with a courier company, which picks up our parcels from the living room. Together we went through all the processes necessary to build this business: customer relations, procurement of goods, packaging, ironing, primary accounting, etc.
Now we are at the point where we have people to sew the products, but we do not have a person to cut them, that is to cut them. So I learned to cut. From manager and accountant as a basic position, my mother became a tailor at the Funky Workshop. And not only is he very good at it, but he also likes it so much that he has created his own workshop, which is currently one of Funkers' collaborators for production.
Until I actually started writing this story, I didn't realize how cool the feeling of a goal, or a dream, or what you want to call it, is.
There are thousands of memes on Facebook and they insist with 'enjoy the ride, not the destination' something like that, and although they are in the middle of the 'ride' and it's a long way to the destination, you don't take them into account and you don't you enjoy the road until you have a little story to tell. No matter how small, no matter how short, start it now! You will be amazed at how far you are already.
I have tried in this summary of the Funkers story to capture as much detail as possible, especially for people who believe in the power of starting from 0, but I know that I have omitted many others that are relevant or less relevant.
To be honest, every little detail helped build the current Funkers brand, a brand that is constantly evolving, based on the simple passion of a 20-year-old girl to dress differently every day.
Not the end, just the begging