Fayra: "It has been a totally enriching experience, not only in terms of work, but also personally. My host is an entrepreneurial person, very creative and with a hyperactive mind. It has been totally stimulating to know his story and the love he has for his work. This experience has made my mind awake in several directions, enjoying the process, the importance of having clear goals, as well as examples of management, both work, administrative and business. But above all I feel very grateful to have known the cooperative part that exists between new entrepreneurs and how important is the support of this economy, making me consider my lifestyle and giving me a value that I can add to my product. I would definitely encourage new entrepreneurs to participate in the program because I feel it gives much more depth to the product they want to offer. Learning about different points of view, cultures and other realities is an extremely valuable advantage for an entrepreneur because it boosts their creativity to achieve greater expansion in their business and a product is more valuable if it has content and is not just superficial, and this is noticeable as an added value. I feel that it has been one of the best opportunities of my life. It has given me a great impulse to pursue my goals, because it is clear to me that with perseverance and being clear about what you want to offer and knowing what you can personally contribute and what differentiates you from the rest is the key".
The presentation could start with the common points that I and my host share and what has made this exchange unforgettable and very fruitful. My name is Fayra and I'm 33 years old, a few years ago I started my studies in pattern making and fashion driven to create my own clothes because I didn't feel represented by the uniformity offered by the big clothing chains and neither the pattern making system they used, which only catered to one body type. So it can be said that I began my studies in this field knowing beforehand that I wanted to offer something different from what the textile industry offered. On the other hand, for years I have been following a lifestyle in which I try to be respectful of the environment around me. I am a regular volunteer in animal sanctuaries and I have a lot of respect for creation. I guess this "rebellious" and conscious spirit ended up taking me to Athens, and my decision couldn't have been more correct, taking me to Aristidis' business. The fantasy and controversial realism of his designs caught my attention from the very first moment. Aristidis decided to start a business years ago as a result of a personal and financial crisis, and out of that crisis he created inkhead. Which makes me feel even more proud of him for the enormous emotional intelligence he had to build an unfavorable situation to create his own business where he has the luxury of allowing his mind to play as much as he wants. He really is a very enjoyable person, because he has a beautiful mind that expresses itself through art and the magic of it all is that he manages to infect you with his vision. At first I did not consider Greece as a priority for the exchange, because I was more interested in more developed and English-speaking countries, but the experience showed me how wrong I was. Due to the economic situation in Greece, I believed that the entrepreneurship could only be carried out by privileged people. My surprise was to discover a country, a culture, and a people, that aware of their situation, there is a support network for the small businessman. It is like an unwritten moral code that is respected and it has been absolutely wonderful to see myself in the midst of this cooperation. However, due to the crisis with covid that we currently have, my exchange did not flow at all. To begin with, the start of my exchange was postponed because it coincided with the beginning of the pandemic. So I was affected, like the rest of us all. So you could say that my expectations were dashed from the start. Six months later, due to Greece's good management of covid, the borders were reopened and knowing that the situation was not entirely stable, I plucked up my courage and decided to give it a try.
MIDDLE (during the exchange) When I finally got my plan back on track, I had the best of welcomes from my host. He already had experience hosting new entrepreneurs. The work in his company was very stimulating from the beginning. Due to the pandemic, many of the music clubs were closed at that time, and Aristidis, besides being a great painter, is also a musician and considered it very important for me to know the musical culture of his country. This was the best thing for me, because I also have a great passion for music. So our production had the best soundtrack. The printing process, despite being somewhat mechanical, was quite enjoyable, Aristidis was very patient explaining things to me and transmitting me all his knowledge. He provided me with reference material and many resources where I could consult or get inspiration for my business. Unfortunately the pandemic hit again and his business was limited to the online store and workshop production. I learned how he ran his online business and how this situation forced him to change the way he managed. It was a sad time for all of us but I am comforted by the fact that we both dealt with the situation trying to be positive with each other. By the time the measures got harder and I could no longer go to the workshop. Aristidies and his wife brought me machinery to my house and all the necessary tools so that my personal production did not change. They really saved me the time I was confined alone. After Christmas and despite the strict quarantine measures, the situation did not improve and I could not stand the situation. I was alone and isolated and that was causing my motivation to fall and also my health. I decided to finish the exchange on my island with the good fortune that Aristidis agreed to keep in touch periodically to supervise the final project we had agreed upon. ”
END (after the exchange/resolution) I am currently working on the project I have in common with my host. I have decided to use my new knowledge in the field of screen printing to add it as a differentiating element to my garments. I have bought the necessary machinery to undertake this work and I am ready to do it on my own, all this under the watchful eye of Aristidis. Regarding my host, we do not rule out collaborations in the future. During my stay he felt attracted to make other types of garments for screen printing and expand his offer in terms of clothing. If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we still have ideas to exchange.