Monica Cadogan is the CEO of Vivre Deco, one of the biggest home&deco online stores in Romania. Her success proves, without any doubt, that females entrepreneurs are a key player in the current economy.
Trainart: What was the key-moment of your career, what made you create the basis of Vivre Deco brand?
M.C.: The key-moment was when I became an entrepreneur (in 2004) because I embarked on a complete new vision and I took the responsibility of every result of my decisions. When I got involved in what was about to become Vivre, I wanted a new area, B2C, to be related to technology and where I could use my skills.
Trainart: Vivre reached, from April’s 2012 opening to sales of 17 mil. Eur. What objectives did you set when starting this journey? Did you manage to accomplish all of them?
M.C.: Primary objectives were to start a “big” project, according to some principles – a fair trade and high standards experience. The project proved its viability and we became an organization, but we still have to go through many steps in order to ensure the best experience for online home&lifestyle shopping – especially because new requests are surfacing (mobile, competition, etc.). So our objectives to be the DESTINATION for CEE online shopping are still ongoing.
Trainart: Electronic commerce developed a lot in the last few years. 8.300 of online shops have been opened in your industry, how did this impact your business?
M.C.: It is normal for growth to appear, because the percentage was and still is low (the online commerce percentage is below the European average rate). And the field where Vivre is placed – home and garden goods – is a lot more populated if we compare it to 2012. Competition is normal, healthy and it increases the standards in the entire industry (both for suppliers and client expectations). We monitor the online shops in our field and we always position ourselves as a favorite destination.
Trainart: What are the most important features for a business woman to succeed in front of the competition?
M.C.: To focus on results, to delegate tasks and to correctly evaluate outputs. For success, in general, it is important to know similar players, to participate in developing and imposing high quality standards, and, of course, to learn continuously.
Trainart: From the international business environment, who do you prefer to follow?
M.C.: I am especially preoccupied with similar organizations’ decisions (from our industry or the ones with a similar business model – Zulily, Wayfair, Westwing )
Trainart: How to you see the future of feminine entrepreneurship in Romania?
M.C.: Entrepreneurship in Romania goes through a stabilization faze, with new barriers for entrance and operations, tough legal conformity requests and (still) unpredictable environment and not very friendly for business. Anyway, I think it is a healthy direction, more and more entrepreneurs take long-term commitment, to build the middle class – of SMEs – so necessary. I don’t see any obvious tendency to feminism in the new organizations.
Trainart: Tell us shortly 3 life situations when you felt empowered/resourceful/spectacular.
M.C.: One would be when I started Vivre and people believed so much in the idea that they left other opportunities to follow me. I would add, when people from the most important international fairs in this industry started to recognize our business card. And when most of us gather in a single room and I hold my breath seeing how many we are.
Trainart: Beside a successful career, you have been part of HelpAutism Association, what was your contribution to this initiative?
M.C.: I am still involved, especially in sustaining executive management with ideas, contacts and initiatives participation.
Trainart: How does a normal day look like for Monica Cadogan?
M.C.: If it is during the working days, a get to the office after I drop my children to kindergarten around 9 AM, I check my agenda/email and I start meetings and appointments. I always take lunch at the office (catering) with my colleagues and I leave for home at around 7 PM, where I spend time with my family and I read before sleep. If it is weekend, we go out with family/friends at the movies, restaurants, coffee.
Trainart: What advice would you give to young female who recently embraced entrepreneurship?
M.C.: To have courage and not to give up.
Trainart: From all Romanian female personalities, who would you choose to appear on a Romanian banknote?
M.C.: Sofia Ionescu, first female neurosurgeon in the world.
According to the principle that successful entrepreneurs defy conventional, and the courage is a must-have ingredient, Monica Cadogan continues to be a model for young female entrepreneurs.« Back to articles