Like a rabbit from a hat – Boris and Karolina from “Le Szapo”
This time I present to you two Heroes in one. Polish-French duo won my heart with passion for … hats. They were the first to dare to open a unique hat shop in Krakow. They have the best quality products imported from different parts of the world. They also plan to expand their offer with products of their own authorship. Meet Karolina and Boris.
What is magical about these hats?
Karolina Kasza: The hat makes people smile, but it also attracts the attention of others.
Boris Gall: That’s right. During many festivals in France, I had a hat, a pure whim, nothing more. I did not think about setting up a brand at the time, it was just part of my outfit. This small element meant that many people approached me, talked and thanks to that I made many new acquaintances. People associated me as a “hat guy”, they remembered me. This was, among other things, the reason why we decided to open a hat shop in Krakow. One day while waiting on the street in Krakow for Karolina, people accosted me asking where they could find a similar hat, where I bought it. I realized that there is simply no place like that in Krakow. The magic also lies in the fact that they are associated with magical tales, such as Alice in Wonderland. Hence our logo, or a rabbit popping out of the hat. The hat hides magic, so is our store. We wanted this place to be different, unique, and also transport our customers to a different world. Even in old beliefs, hats have their place. It is said that they are to protect our thoughts. If you take care of your mind, you will also take care of the rest.
KK: Hats also change people. For me, magic is when customers try on new hats and are delighted with how they look. Their faces change as if they found the missing element in themselves. When we offer people specific models, we pay attention to the shape of the face, the color of the eyes, hair – every detail counts. Before trying, many of our customers say that they feel bad in hats. This is because the only hats they tried on were probably not just their grandfather, uncle or friend. Such a hat has no right to fit and look good, because it is not ours.
BG: The hat is the frame of our face. It highlights it and helps you focus on it, shows you who you really are.
Who started the passion for hats from?
KK: Definitely Boris. Before our first meeting, I wore hats, but I was not crazy at this point like Boris. I have always felt better and more comfortable in them, they were a kind of protection for me. The idea appeared in Boris’s mind, and I caught her and pushed her forward. We have created a place that is not in Krakow, and at the same time we do what we love and sell brands that we just like.
BG: It was also part of our dream to have our own brand. Having previous experience as an employee of a company, I associate it with stress and everyday haste. The first principle of our business is to take pleasure in what we do.
KK: I remember when Boris and his friend wrote out all the costs of business opening, risk and similar things like that. The first thought was “Do not do this”. But such thinking does not lead to anything, if we did not take this risk, we would not be in the place where we are.
Boris, did you find yourself in Poland because of Karolina?
BG: Yes, she is the reason I am here.
KK: I come from Świętokrzyskie, and I came to Krakow 10 years ago to study. Here for 8 years I was a manager in a restaurant and then I thought it would be my way of life. As you can see, the plans have changed.
BG: I lived in France, Karolina in Poland, and we met in Mauritius Island. At the beach, I suggested that she come to me for skiing, because I lived in the Alps. She agreed and two weeks later we met in France, and in the aftermath, I received an invitation from Karolina to Krakow. I made a ticket and I flew in.
Did you like it here?
BG: Yes, very much. I liked Polish reality and atmosphere here. After a short time, I flew back to Poland, then we went to the Valley of Five Ponds and said: “Poland is beautiful, they are not just drinking vodka!” I also wanted to move out of France, so when I met Karolina, it was a mix of love and opportunities to try a different life. At the moment, it’s my place where I feel good.
The entrance to your store is like a journey in time. How do customers receive this place and your brand?
BG: When we opened the shop in the winter, we were visited by several or a dozen people every day who could not get excited about the place. We also have customers from America or other countries who repeat that they do not have such a great store with hats. People are surprised to see such a place here in Krakow. That’s what we wanted. Create a place where we feel good as well as our clients.
KK: Exactly. We have created a place in a vintage style, in which we feel like in our own apartment. We did not want it to be like in a large shopping mall, where every store looks the same. I have my flowers here, we’ve chosen decorations for ourselves, I also know that I have to clean up here, take care of this place and the most beautiful thing is that people appreciate it. The question is often asked: “Who designed the interior?” and they are surprised when we reply that this is our job.
BG: It happens that people spend an hour or two here to buy a hat. They try, they can drink tea or coffee, sit down and listen to the vinyls.
KK: One time a Danish writer came to us. He did not buy a hat, but he sat on the chair and for a long time read Danish books that we have in her collection. He came here to relax and look for inspiration, it was magical.
Do you think that it is worth creating unusual brands such as yours in Poland today?
KK & BG: Of course, yes!
KK: I think that the awareness of people with small Polish brands is growing. Every day, we meet people who say that they prefer to buy in small local stores, from Polish designers. On the one hand, they want to find unique products for themselves, but it is also their support for such creators. I therefore encourage all creative and talented young people not to be afraid of opening their own business.
BG: We managed to get out of communism, and thus we came to capitalist communism. Everyone dresses the same, everyone buys the same things. It’s a bit of mock freedom. And that’s what we want to bring to life, handmade, high-quality products. It is known that this is associated with a higher price, but products from chain stores come, inter alia, from China, where attention is not paid to quality or ethical working conditions. In our store we also have hats from China, however, they are reliable distributors who are thoroughly checked under the aforementioned considerations. However, we want to support our backyard and about 90 percent of our hats come from Europe.
Are you planning to create hats from under your own hands?
BG: There will be hats that we will do ourselves, but also those that we will adapt in our own way. We started working with several brands, but we can not reveal details yet. Soon there will be effects!
Where do you see yourself and Le Szapo Hat in 5 years?
BG: Twenty thousand stores around the world, a big company. But seriously, five hours is enough.
KK: Five hours of what?
BG: Another five hours today! Every day is a new fate. I do not think we’re going so far into the future. Not so long ago we did not think that we would open our own hat shop, and today – we have a conversation in here. I have no idea what and where we will be doing.
KK: Maybe a shop in France?
BG: We will see.
Author: Karolina Kamińska
If I couldn’t grow, I wouldn’t feel that I’m alive – Dariusz Goldmann
Dariusz Goldmann is an orchestra man. He deals with various fields, which combines graphics and visualization. He is an expert in the use of graphic programs, but also has 10 years of experience in banking or advertising marketing. He loves new things, loves to grow. Craftsman? No, but also a man with passion, determination and creating art, only in a slightly different way.
How did your adventure with modern media begin?
Dariusz Goldmann: I’ve always been interested in graphics, but I like to go to the left and right. Video, photography, graphics, DTP or web designing have a lot in common, but in each of these areas I try to develop. In fact, everything started with photography. At the beginning, my cousin infected me with enthusiasm, which he drew from the first, good camera from the USA, received as a gift. Then in high school I signed up to the photo circle. We had a great director who was very supportive of students’ passions and interests. I did not know what I wanted to do before high school. The breakthrough turned out to be a great school support, thanks to which I discovered what I am really good at.
It’s rare for the school to support their students so much in their passions.
DG: I’m not from a rich family and I was lucky that the school invested in a camera and a video camera, which opened up a lot of possibilities. You’re right, it does not happen often, but I’m glad that I came across such an open and helpful director who approached the subject very individually.
As you mentioned, you deal with various aspects of visualization. Do you think that you are just as good in each of them?
DG: Honestly, I get bored quickly doing just one thing. Earlier, I was preparing things for printing and after a while it became tedious and I started looking for something new. In this way, I learn new things. This is quite a lot, but I like to combine “new with old”. For example: I have learned 3D graphics and now I am making video, so I started to combine how to combine these things together and create something completely new. My main goal is to be on my own, gain a lot of experience and knowledge in the subject. I want to be sure that when a client comes to me, I will be able to do what he asks me to do. I do not like to limit myself.
Architecture or people – what is more challenging in photography and filming?
DG: At the moment people. Architecture seems to be simpler, because no one, in a colloquial way, complains about me. It is as it is. You have to learn to work with people, and I’m somewhere in the middle of an introvert and I do not like it much, nor can I tell someone how to pose. To learn this, I started going to photo sessions to observe photographers how they work. In addition, along with friends, we created a group to simply walk around Warsaw and make as many photos as possible. However it sounds – I try to do what I can not do.
In your works, you care more about giving up the reality as it is or creating a completely new face?
DG: First of all, I am still looking for something of my own. It’s only been two years since I’ve been dealing with video when it comes to filming and editing. I had to learn how to use the equipment, how many frames per second to use, what equipment is available and what is worth investing in. Then I just started thinking that the film must tell a story. So I try to find my style that will work visually, but also tell a story.
You are an orchestra man, but in what aspect you feel best?
DG: I guess in the use of graphic programs and technical equipment, but also in recording, editing … simply in graphics. But I think most probably I feel in finding new ideas, discovering new things. If I could not grow, I would not feel that I was alive.
What do you currently have a “sneak peek” on?
DG: I would like to learn to tell a story well, which I mentioned. I want to go in the direction of films that tell the story in a very mysterious way, while being visually aesthetic, simple, with a good soundtrack and narration in the background. I was thinking about doing something on YouTube, and it seems to be a different idea from the rest.
Regardless of any barriers, where would you like to be found tomorrow?
DG: I would go on a trip around the world. Especially to get to know the civilizations of the Far East and get inspired by a new one completely different from our culture. That’s what I would like to do. Pack and go to look for inspiration.
DG: It’s better to be a lion for one day than a sheep for one hundred days.
Author: Karolina Kamińska
Patrycja Cyganek – the element of craft in blood
Patrycja Cyganek is a certified diamond appraiser and owner of the Syncret company, who is continuing her father’s vision, wanted to create a brand that perfectly fits the standards of the modern market, but also will refer to tradition, history and unique beauty. In her salon, time seems to slow down. We break away from everyday rush, having the opportunity to see the most beautiful jewelry and delve into their soul and history.
“Patrycja to the age of 18 did not wear jewelry” – is it true?
Patrycja Cyganek: True! Over the years, every person changes. I grew up in a family where crafts have always been. I was tangled up in my dad’s studio where I saw jewelry, stones, his dirty, hard-working hands, but I did not wear any jewelry, it bothered me. Only now, crossing the magical 30-note, I can confidently say that for about 10 years I have been collecting jewelry and I adore it. I also see my clients like “grow up” to wear jewelry. Often starts with an engagement ring, which has its value in the form of gold, stone, but also symbolic and only then begins a kind of adventure with jewelry.
In your opinion, precious stones are luxury, a way to earn money, or objects with soul and character?
PC: I think if it were not for the fact that I grew up in a family that deals in jewelry, it would never have occurred to me to go for it. For sure it is a big niche, but the model of work that we have created, which is focusing on craftsmanship, high quality and not making the product wholesale, does not treat as a quick business idea, where I only want to earn money. For me, it’s a way of life. I sometimes imagine myself as a seventy-year-old grandmother who chooses stones for clients, supports successive generations and advises in the selection of the best stones.
What is the Syncret brand for you?
PC: We have created this brand a little from dreams. My father has been in the industry for many years, he has created his own brand and many people know him as an excellent craftsman. My goal was to create a place where people of my age and next generations could discover crafts. We live in times where we have lost a bit of fast life, easy availability of various types of products, which has never been in line with me. Therefore, thinking about business, the priority was to make the whole thing work with me. I wanted to be attached to tradition, with great attention to detail, craftsmanship, craftsmanship, but at the same time looking into the future, an example of which is the laboratory that we have created here. It was important to combine these two worlds – classic and tradition, with modernity and technology.
What do clients expect from you?
PC: At the beginning, we were worried whether people would even want to buy what we do. After all, it is not a fast product that comes off the production line, only every design is designed and made with great attention to detail. We have been lucky because all customers who reach us are fully aware of this. They know very well that they can get advice on the selection of stones, design jewelry from A to Z, and realize that the items placed in the showcases and shelves are pampered at any angle. It makes them very demanding clients, which is a plus for us because we do not care about the band production, we only strive for the highest possible quality.
I meet with the statement that jewelry is a waste of money. But what is it for you?
PC: In fact, anything can be a waste of money. One is enough to ride a Polonez, the other is dreaming of having Porshe and you can not judge either one or the other. Since the beginning of time jewelry has an ornamental function and historically it has a huge symbolism. Recently, we watched together with Mrs. Jadwiga, our specialist in historical jewelry, an engagement ring with two stones symbolizing the two lovers, we also have funeral jewelry or a maturity ring, which the owner only dressed once in her life on the day of the baccalaureate. Jewelry has many meanings and uses and looking at my clients I see that this habit is coming back. Besides, life is too short to surround yourself with ugly things.
What is your advice for a person who wants to open a craft business? Is there a recipe for success?
PC: You have to start with the product and check if this product will be defended. It is worth to start working in this proverbial “garage” and look for clients. If the client is found, we are on a winning position and then we can think about creating the whole brand. To sum up: you need to create a good quality product and listen to customer needs.
Author: Karolina Kamińska
“If not now, then when?” – how Kamil Mazela is realized
I like talking to people who have taken the risk to do what they love. That’s what Kamil Mazela did, a lover of leathercraft products. He turned the hobby in the basement into a full-time job. Since January he has been cooperating with Michał Wojewodzic, who is teaching him new things in the field of hand-sewn shoes, but on the contrary – also Michał is learning techniques that he did not know before. Meet the next man with passion, the next Hero – Kamil Mazela.
At what stage of life are you today?
Kamil Mazela: In short, I am very interested in what awaits me. I constantly learn new things, and what is happening around me is for me a cosmos. When it comes to private life, I slowed down a bit – I found a wife, moved to Krakow. In my professional life, I started something crazy and I can say that I am going blind but in a positive sense. In the end, I can show others that I can do something and in the end, I was appreciated for it.
Where did you get the idea to quit your previous job and start working with Michał?
KM: Maybe I’ll start with where the skin in my life came from. My mother started to sew professionally from the age of sixteen. It’s quite funny; she had no business at the time, she sewed around in the neighborhood, and her grandmother bought the machine. She is sewing until today – continue in the same place and in the same position. Looking at my mother, she implanted this passion in me somewhere. I liked to play with the machine, which I had out of control for many times, for which I was regularly punished. Then I got a brush and my mother taught me how to clean all shavings and threads. It started with cleaning and turned into curiosity as “how to sew”. Three years ago, my grandma and my mother made an amazing gift for me and they bought the first machine especially for the skin. Since then, I have thought a lot to quit my job, make a profession from my hobby and try to earn money from it. On YouTube, I found an interesting series of films on the channel called Pasjonaci TV, where Michał appeared with his interview. Initially, when I saw him, I immediately moved on. Again, there was a confusion in the head – quit this job or not? My wife helped me with the decision, who said: “this is the best moment if you do not risk it now when?” Well, I did it. The first time I spoke to Michał on the phone, asking if he needed an employee. He adjusted without hesitating, but he decided that he could use a partner, but it all depends on my skills. At the first meeting, I brought with me a purse that I made – he was very impressed and the next day I came to his studio to work.
You seem to be completely different personalities. What does your job look like? Are there any clashes?
KM: I know that Michał cannot talk when he works. Sometimes he laughs that he’s fed up with me, because I’m pretty much talking about nature, and he likes to focus. Besides, he probably ruined me with his music. In the studio, we only listen to rap, and my leg is already jumping, although I prefer the atmosphere of the Nocny Kochanek and such things. Fortunately, I am not listening to the car yet. And seriously, it’s a positive atmosphere. Sometimes there is a rasp, sometimes there is a joke, but work full of steam and help too.
Do you feel that you have learned a lot from the beginning of cooperation?
KM: Yes, of course. Michał has a lot of knowledge, certainly bigger than me because he had time to develop. I tried to reconcile two works at once. I came home around 5 pm and by midnight I was able to sit in the basement, where I had a studio. Now I finally have the opportunity to devote ten or eleven hours a day to what I love. During this time I have learned a lot, but we also try to complement one another. I also showed to Michał things he had not met before. He keeps repeating how much he could have mistaken me at the beginning when he did not appreciate me, and now I’m constantly surprising him with something new.
If you then heard the categorical “no”, did you have Plan B?
KM: In general, I was going to start a business and devote myself to what I like to do the most, but Michał is a complement to all this. Has experience in marketing, social media, photography, where I feel completely green. If he wasn’t here today, I would certainly go in this direction, but with much slower effects.
So what is your goal: to create a good business and make good money, but to be artistically and constantly develop?
KM: I know, money is a lot of satisfaction and that’s why I do it, but it’s more important to meet a person who, after buying my wallet or shoes, will be delighted with the effect and quality of a hand-made product. Handicraft is characterized by the fact that it is unique – you will not make the second pair of shoes. Another one will definitely be better and it is great that people can appreciate it.
Do you like dreaming or do you prefer to walk hard on the ground?
KM: I think I’m definitely in the clouds. I often take up a challenge that is beyond my capabilities, and I do not seem to realize it. It is worth planning and hard to tread on the ground, but you never know what will happen the next day.
If for one day you were supposed to be a fictional character from a fairy tale, movie, TV series … Who would it be?
KM: James Bond! But only to the one Sean Connery played, who was the only one who looked like a real man. Expensive cars, the company of beautiful women, and of course the killing license.
What is the best thing that happened to you in life?
KM: Maybe I will come out for a romantic now, but the best moment in my life happened when I met my wife. We are together for only 5 years, but I just wanted to catch this moment and I just wanted to stay this way. I got to know the love of my life and already on the first date, I knew that it was a person with whom I could jump “in puddles” – figuratively and literally.
Author: Karolina Kamińska
Become great or die tryin’ – Michał Wojewodzic and his confession
This time a bit different. A bit more serious and maybe more reflective. Robert Krawczyk in conversation with Michał about failures, passions, dreams, and pursuit of the goal. Sometimes we do not realize how hard the road is for someone’s success. Nobody talks about the failures that he scored – people only talk about success. However, Michał stuck out the middle finger with a utopian look and talked about success from a completely different side.
So tell me the story!
Michał Wojewodzic: I will not tell you this story as it happened, I will tell you how I remembered it…
MW: One of my favorites.
As I managed to get to know you a little bit, I will ask you directly: where did this obsession with movies and about the cinema come from?
MW: It’s been in me somewhere since childhood and It doesn’t want to leave. On the contrary. I remember how I sit with my grandfather when I’m a few years old and paste a photo of Sean Connery into my album, listing his pros and cons as an actor. And, of course, I give him a rating on a scale of 1-10 for the overall lifetime of his work. Prejudice your question; he got 9. Such a serious critic, but also a big fan. [laughs] As I mentioned, interest remains and is still one of the main hotspots in my life – the greatest of this world; often imagined by writers. Somewhere out there I describe myself as a person invented by myself for my own needs. Do not ask, please.
Become great or die tryin’?
MW: For some time, my work, duties and most of the things that I do are the simplest vector-based, that lead me to a goal in a better or worse way. This is probably the fourteenth year of my struggle on the market in fashion and private, in a professional sense, so I am not afraid to say that it has already become obsessed with attaining it – not in the Machiavellian sense because I usually feel scratches on myself.
If you try to fulfill your ideal plan for so long, do you finally feel that you have chosen a good direction?
MW: I’m sure I will not know that until the end of my days in these one hundred percent. Each artist strives for perfection, but only those wise and experienced know that they will never achieve it – but they are in a sense obliged to catch up with it; as my Master, Robert says – I hope I have not distorted his words. [laugh]
Even if, I’m sure he will not be mad at you. Master, Mentor, Sensei – Friend?
MW: A very hard question, because I do not know if I can afford such a notice regarding our connections because of the huge respect for him. I do not conceal that I would like to be able to say so and the most beautiful is that it is something more, from my perspective. Mr. Robert – although I’m not sure if he is aware of this – saved my life by devoting his time to me, sharing knowledge and great patience, which I often miss learning or motivating others. I came to his studio at the time of my life, which can be commonly called “on the bend” or “in the deep ass”. Since the first day I was afraid of not letting him down, as well as my parents who then (as always) ‘held’ more for me than thumbs. I knew and know myself so I knew that I can screw up this by my own stupidity.
So what happened so that an apparently very confident person can doubt yourself?
MW: I do not feel this way anymore, but it was quite bad. I am very happy that everything turned upside down. I have fulfilled my dream of being great, about unrolling the sewing room and producing my own clothing collections on my own. The business was growing, customers were coming, that I had to say goodbye to all this in literally one second. There is no point in scratching old wounds, so here I will finish the story of one of my failures.
When conducting workshops or training for almost an hour you talk about your failures. Contrary to appearances, it’s quite a lot of time to fit a lot of content. Is there so much of it?
MW: As I mentioned, over a decade I tried to get to the place where I am now somewhat. Most people only heard about shoes and maybe about one or two other endeavors. At the moment I have over ten unsuccessful projects both in fashion and in other industries over the years. Everyone usually tells how great and unbeatable they are. Literally perfect. On the contrary; I say and admit to many mistakes that I have made and I still do not do it once. I explain why I have not achieved success with glasses, evening dresses or simple t-shirts.
MW: Because you can not do everything yourself. You can not be a designer, producer, photographer and seller at any one time. It came to the fact that I made websites by myself, but weak and not effective even in 3%. So, seeing the real potential with shoes, I decided to find someone a’la brother in crime. Someone who knows things and above all places fights more than me. I cooperate with Mateusz to this day and does not say anything that our paths would be divided. On the contrary. We have brought our lives into this, that we no longer feel weekends in the sense of time off from work – Saturday and Sunday allow us to quell even more when the competition is asleep.
Do you feel the breath of competition at the back of your neck?
MW: That’s the beauty of what I mainly do – the shoes. I have practically no one to compete with. Those three years ago, Mr. Robert really realized the niche of the footwear industry in the segment of hand-sewn shoes, both in Poland and around the world.
The Craft Club, who you create with partners to help revive this market?
MW: The Foundation and also the elite club is not only to support the footwear section but also broadly understood craft – from handicraftsmen, designers through stylists and photographers. All those who fight alone and do not have an idea of how to win. Like me not so long ago [laughs]. We’re looking for rough, often embarrassing diamonds.
How can you find time for another project, quite serious due to your current and future Heroes’ obligations?
MW: As I mentioned. I’m not fighting alone anymore. If I say that I need help or assistance, someone will relieve me and finish the task.
It was hard?
MW: It was.
MW: I realize that all these feelings are very subjective and it is not fair to compare with others or make from myself a suffering person. That is why I believe in the personal path of the samurai. I know how much it cost me nerves, sacrifices, and tears to talk to you today as a person with a pulse. I always speak or judge subjectively, based on my experience and knowledge. And if you do not like it, the door is always in sight. [laugh]
Three years is not much. Your progress over this period is quite uncommon. I would say quite impressive because I think I realize how much self-denial it was. Where does this motivation come from?
MW: I will come back here to the issue of “wailing people”. For years it seemed that I am a person who, against all intentions, will not achieve anything worthwhile. And there was a lot of evidence for it and a lot of wasted time. And he is fucking rushed and does not take prisoners. At some point, I came to the conclusion that it may be the end of this path on literal fumes. The worst thing for me was always how parents constantly still suggest that life is not only about making dreams come true and running after artistic success. Thirty on the back of the neck, and I’ll probably go back to the construction or other gray work again. However, as I always say Fighters Fight, and life, in the end, is one big surprise. And I also talk about it during meetings with interested people. Destroyed, exhausted, breathless, but proud and at the head of the pack [laughs].
By helping people, motivating them, you only move on the subject of business, professional development or dealing with private life problems?
MW: If I decide to cooperate with someone, there are no taboos or secrets. I know how much on me, my development and my psyche influenced the alcoholic problem of the closest person, death or other quite big tragedies that people face every day and I realize very much, how it overwhelms and withdraws the desire to open every morning eyelids. I think to this day I feel slightly suspended between the unwanted morning and the fulfilled feeling of the evening. Therefore, both I and my partners do not give anyone hope. We create reasons in the form of our companies and achievements, and show evidence – and I am one of them.
Are you sure that this hope does not win?
MW: I assume in advance that a person who knows me closer, realizes that I will require some kind of seriousness, awareness and a hard heart. One that is responsible for everyday struggle. Nothing comes right away. As Mateusz says – success nowadays is based on long-term activities and being stubborn often in a superhuman sense. It is no secret that Kamil, who is now with me for good and for bad. After six years, he took the risk and quit from gray work, invested in the necessary tools and from January starred with me arm in arm and is now developing our studio. Following the blow and my light advice, he attacks with the next project – namely with embroidery in which I will help him as much as I can. The more so because the art of embroidery is one and the techniques of ornamentation, with which I would happily settle in the near future.
How would you like to feel in the near future?
MW: Overwhelmed by the successes of my previous partners and new stars in the team!
Referring to Dirty Dozen – ready for a quick twelve?
MW: Go on.
The Legends Of The Fall
Fat rap and film music
Time of day:
One hour before getting up
I’m on a date and I do not have a wallet
New Year’s resolution every year:
Become Great Or Die Tryin.
Only those unruly and imperturbable
Author and photos: Robert Krawczyk
Edition: Karolina Kamińska
Yimi Audu – Wonder Woman in real life
In 2004 she came to Poland from Nigeria and dared to stay. Rebellious and with great dreams, Yimi Audu is a bit like today’s Wonder Woman. She found herself in our country and she is realizing her biggest dreams. It is very possible that she is now at a turning point in her life, as evidenced by numerous cooperation, including photographer, the author of the pictures for the interview, Robert Krawczyk or designer Michał Wojewodzic. Talking with such a positive person was a great experience for me.
You are a bit like Wonder Woman. Designing, sewing, acting, modeling, creating jewelry … How do you find time for everything?
Yimi Audu: Of course, I do not do all these things at once. However, modeling has always been intertwined with this. When I was studying architecture, I tried other things and acting was one of them. After the architecture phase, which is no longer a part of my life, an opportunity to act came my way. I appeared in one episode of “Na Dobre I na złe” and the producers decided to record three more episodes because they thought I was pretty good.
You are also a co-founder of the Kinda Soft Porn brand. It’s a controversial idea. What would you like to achieve with this brand?
YA: When Michał invited me to work on the brand, the immediate thought was title “Kinda Soft Porn”? No way!” The subject was not clear enough to tell everyone about it immediately. However, at that moment I felt that it was a good time for a change, to make a courageous decision and in the end, I liked the idea of the brand due to the controversy behind it. People should feel at ease with sexuality as it is. I would also like to show women that they can be lawyers, doctors or anyone else in the professional world, but at the same time they can be “kinda soft porn”.
You have recently added a funny post on Facebook with the inscription “People, I’m not doing porn!”. Aren’t you afraid of the negative reception related to the brand?
YA: I was afraid to enter it, so I understand that there will be good and bad opinions, it’s obvious. But I think people should get used to my face that stands behind the brand. Many people know me and they know very well that I do not do pornography. But I do not worry about it that much, I even think that the brand has great potential and I am ready to be part of it.
Do you like risk?
YA: I am beginning to understand that yes, I like the risk. It started with Kinda Soft Porn, it bombarded me from all sides. Then, I realized that the initial fear that was behind all this disappeared. I was expecting more criticism, but it’s really fine. First of all, this is a business, people have to understand it. This is not a market for everyone, but we hope to create it for everyone to feel comfortable.
What is your biggest disadvantage and advantage?
YA: My best side is that I like to support the people I work with and more. I feel motivated when I see people around me motivated. However, my shortcoming is too little self-confidence. People around me believe in me more than I do in myself sometimes, but on the other hand, there are days when My confidence is exaggerated and sometimes I struggle between being humble and too self-confident, so I count the ups and downs in this aspect. There are times when my self-confidence can break down the buildings, then I say “Okay, slow it down”. That’s why I try to keep the balance between not being scared and trying new things. And that’s why I like the idea of Kinda Soft Porn.
Who do you think is an artist in the 21st century?
YA: Artists of the 21st century are original. They are people who learn to create things in a different way. We build a system where everything is defined. A sort of template on what should be done and how. Like Steve Jobs and apple ideology, Artists are outsiders who once saw the same things as others, but at one point they became curious about the aspect that “did not fit the picture”. More and more people are looking for a different identity, and real artists are those who have small brands and fill the niche in the market. The world would die without artists, each of them should be treated with honor.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life?
YA: You ask about the moments when I was drinking or I was sober? Seriously, I think the craziest thing I ever did was the decision to stay in Poland. In 2004, I moved here with my family and I did not have an influence on the decision to come here. At first, I did not like it, but later I decided to stay here. Most of my family and friends thought this to be crazy and they were right because it was a crazy decision to want to follow my dreams. I believe that if I succeed in Poland, I can succeed everywhere. You can say that I grew up here. My life as an adult I mean. Before coming to Poland, I did not know anything about life, I was a naive teenager. I am now very sentimental about Poland because I learned everything here. About life, my ambitions, the things I want to do, the people I have met. It wasn’t an easy process. As I mentioned, if I achieve success here, I hope to be the queen when I move to New York!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
YA: : I will probably be a businesswoman in the fashion world, where I hope to be a creative director. However, I have many ambitions and I also want to do things that will help my country. I would like to connect these two worlds: Poland and Nigeria. Of course, I like it here, but nevertheless, I miss my home, family, culture… In these ten years, I want to continue my business and I would like to find a link that will connect these two countries. I know that there are many Polish businessmen today who are trying to break into the African market and I want to find a way to do it. I would also like to be part of a happy family, for sure. After all, I’m not so young anymore!
What is the most difficult word for you in Polish?
YA: Now I’m thinking over a list of a thousand such words. There is one Polish name that I can never remember. In general, the Polish language is really difficult and a great challenge for me. But my most difficult word? Nah … I do not have it yet. But Polish language breaks are just hardcore!
Author: Karolina Kamińska
Photo: Robert Krawczyk
Positively crazy Wero Wysoczyńska
Weronika Wysoczyńska is a person you would like to meet personally. Every day she deals with everything related to fashion. She is a stylist of a photo session, a director of shows, a costume designer, she also conducts classes at a visage and stylization school … a firecracker woman. But she is also a positively twisted unicorn, which belongs to our extraordinary Heroes.
What element are you and why?
Wero Wysoczyńska: Unfortunately, fire. I am a girl with temperament. I try not to be so at work, because it bothers me, but I’m definitely in my private life and in the sport, I train.
So you are a different person at work and privately or is it the same Wero?
WW: It depends. From the circumstances, from the people I work with, how well we know each other, whether there is a client on the set or not. My friends know that I like to fool around. But I know, if I’m making a commercial, I try to be serious, professional and I’m doing what’s right for me.
What aspect of your work do you like the most?
WW: One hundred percent creation. That, I can create an image and then move it to reality and it depends on me how it will look. I just like to do pretty things and I like to think that the things I do are pretty.
Do you prefer to do something on the spur of the moment or according to the schedule?
WW: I’m definitely spontaneous and impulsive, I’m doing things faster than I think. When it comes to work, I’m inspired by weird things and looking at them I know straight away that I want to use it. Sometimes paper net or socks are the starting point for the entire editorial or session. However, due to the fact that I have a lot of work, I can not afford to do it right away. By nature, ideas that crystallize somewhere in the back of the head must wait.
Why “Fasion Victim”?
WW: I strongly believe that fashion is not just for looking good, but above all for experimenting with it. I like to enter different roles. If I want to go out in a unicorn outfit, I go out in a unicorn outfit. Sometimes I have such days that I feel like a child because the sun is shining, I have a good mood, I go in dungarees, my pants are short, I do not have socks and it’s great. On the other hand, there are moments when I feel like a woman and I want to look like a woman. And even if I go out in a unicorn outfit and I know I look foolish, I feel great anyway! I wear spurs, if I want to be a cowboy, I dress in blue with blue makeup on my face, because when I want to be a mermaid, why not! Let’s say I treat fashion for usage.
Nobody at work says “hey, it’s time to grow up!”?
WW: No way! I think I have a midlife crisis, but everyone says it just fits me. I am counting on wrinkles and I say that it may be time to stop wearing these unicorns, but somehow it has grown to me. I had blue hair so long that when someone asked what my natural color was, I said it was blue. Because it’s natural for me. And if someone thinks I look stupid because I put on two different shoes, and I like it, I don’t care. Unfortunately, we live in Poland and it happens to hear that I am a devil’s spawn. And all my life I wanted to be a mermaid, what went wrong ?!
On the one hand, fashion and kickboxing on the other. Where did the idea for such a sport come from?
WW: I have been training for three years because I lost the bet in total. I was a typical couch lazy, “a man from the industry”. One day, I bet with a friend who started kickboxing training, that if I do not bend and do not touch my toes, then the next day I will go to training with her. And I lost. The next day, without any condition or form, I fell in love with this sport. Besides, I have a genre of rivalry and I like this contact in kickboxing.
What will your life after fifty look like?
WW: For a long time, somewhere in the back of my head I have a vision of myself in gray dreadlocks when I run naked in Ecuador, I gather bananas and live in a hut. I think that’s how it will look. By nature, I’m also an anarchist and I do not like it, I have to pay taxes, have an accountant and do all these “adult” things.
The best taste of ice cream is…
WW: I think caramel with nuts. But you must know that I am a connoisseur of donuts. And the best in the world are from Stara Pączkarnia. With chocolate, rafaello … If you want to bribe me, it’s just a donut!
Author: Karolina Kamińska
A girl with character – Luiza Matyba in The Craft Club
Talented, beautiful and with character. The model with the soul of the artist and many successes on the account. For the first time, I had the opportunity to talk to such a positive person, who is a living example of how everything can be achieved. I present to you the new heroine of The Craft Club – Luiza Matyba.
You are not only a model but also an artist. What is the art for you that you create?
Luiza Matyba: I’ve practiced art since I was a child. I was painting, I had my easel in the garden, I went to different dress design courses or even to music school. However, after a while, everything went into oblivion, which for all happiness was reborn in Miami during Art Basel. I would like to start training in this direction by starting drawing, painting and graphics lessons. Although I must admit that being an art director also attracts my attention quite strongly. At the moment, art is for me a stepping stone from gray reality, from this hypocrisy, the Internet, where everything is artificial and fairytale. I stated that I would start to create something of my own, something that would be the complete opposite of what is happening around.
And as a model, is there an order that you would never have taken?
LM: There are many such orders. It all depends on the idea of the session, who photographs, how. It all depends on the whole, which consists of many elements.
Do you like challenges?
LM: I love it! I adhere to the principle that the harder the better. I can then face myself. I believe that everything can be achieved in the same way in private and professional life. Nothing is impossible, only there are those for which you have to try harder, and for whom less (and I prefer this option first). Besides, my zodiac sign is Gemini, so the simpler things are, the sooner I get bored.
The world of fashion is widely regarded as cruel. How do you see it?
LM: This is a cruel world but also very addictive. It is important, however, to set boundaries from the beginning and have respect for each other. It takes a few years to gain self-confidence, but it is in every profession, not just in modeling. In the Internet age, everyone wants to do everything for free and the market breaks down. For the most part, Instagram stars want free clothes, buy followers, and transform photos into power. Not only modeling suffers, but also the art or film industry. Everything is artificial. It went a little not in this direction as it should. I am waiting with great hope for the return of normality.
Do you think you’re doing well in this world?
LM: I think so. Only that I like to live a little in my world. It looks completely different for me, more like art, which is why I’m sorry that current trends are going more towards the commercial side. But in the end, due to the fact that I have a quite positive approach to life, I somehow advise ;).
What is currently keeping your head?
LM: Currently only that I enjoy the Polish honey that I have not eaten for centuries!
Would you like to know what is waiting for you in the future?
LM: I am a person who likes to know. Maybe it’s a bit scary, but even watching a movie, I wonder how it will end. Unfortunately, this is what I am! Before I start doing something, I like to collect information on a given topic.
High mountains or ocean and beach?
LM: Ocean and beach. And of course, someone who bring drinks in a coconut!
Author: Karolina Kamińska
Katarzyna Sokół creates beauty for the youngest
Another heroine, a person with passion and great ambition. Katarzyna Sokół is an unusual fashion designer because she creates for the youngest ones. She took the risk and found a need on the market where she can vent her artistic side. For me, after such a short conversation, she became an inspiration and I am delighted with her motivation to act.
You chose to design high-quality clothes for children. In Poland, it is quite risky. So where did this idea come from?
Katarzyna Sokół: Yes, it’s very risky. Actually, it happened from the case. My friend from Warsaw asked me to sew a dress for her daughter for baptism. I agreed, and due to the fact that she is a very demanding person, I put on the best possible quality. It turned out that she liked her friends too, and also wanted such dresses, then more and more … So I decided that it was a good idea to root in the minds of Poles thinking about good quality and to use that there is a great need for these types of products.
What is more important when you create: quality of material or focusing on details?
KS: Both aspects are just as important. The material itself is not everything. The way the clothes are finished, covering the label, covering the slider, every detail is important for everything to be in harmony with each other.
You find your materials in Poland or do you import them from abroad?
KS: I mainly buy them in Poland, but these are materials imported from Italy. I have a short series of clothes, so I have no problem using materials that appeared in one or two beams. Which is cool, because it makes them unique. I also use materials produced in Poland – high-quality cotton or linen, which is interestingly the best in Europe.
You are currently working as an e-commerce specialist at Strix. If you had to choose between this work and the design and running of your brand, what would it be?
KS: Running your brand is a great joy. First of all, you feel such fulfillment when you see someone dressed in your clothes, and secondly, it’s a great way to prove to yourself that you can achieve something. My heart grows when I read from clients that they leave my clothes for granddaughters because they are so beautiful. However, it is hard for me to say whether I would be able to give up my career. In both aspects, I feel satisfied. However, looking forward to the future, if I had more free time, I would like to devote myself to my brand.
How useful are you today to graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts?
KS: It has been very useful for many reasons. I was in the painting department, but I actually hooked on all the faculties, such as graphics or sculpture. Because of that, I had a view on each of the fields, which made all the materials I created myself. You can say that I am self-sufficient thanks to this.
Focusing more on you. What do you think three traits would be for your relatives to describe you?
KS: I’m sure a workaholic. Probably sometimes unhealthy ambition, but also certainly sensitivity.
What are you really proud of in your life?
KS: From many things. I’m proud of what I’ve come to now. I am also proud of the fact that he quickly finds himself in a given environment. After taking a specific path, I can quickly adapt and find myself in a new situation.
If you won a million on the lottery, what would you do?
KS: I would definitely invest a lot in further development. I would not change my life completely.
What superpower would you like and why?
KS: I would like to anticipate the future in order to be able to use what can happen in my current activities. Very strategically!
Author: Karolina Kamińska