Q+A with Magda Daniloaia
Tell me a bit about yourself, your background and where you are from.
Hello! My name is Magda and I am the founder of luxury brand, The Changing Factor based in London. Before undertaking the Cordwainers Accessories course at London College of Fashion, I studied architecture in Romania, my country of birth. I have been living and working in London for over six years now and I am truly enjoying the wonders of this city!
Tell me more about The Changing Factor and how the idea for it came about.
I have always thought about having my own company and fashion brand, but at the same time, I felt that a lot of companies in the fashion industry are very similiar. This is why I wanted to create a brand that is different, that would be a ‘changing factor’ in the industry and for our clients.
We are aiming to achieve this by offering a lot of value through mixing unique, cutting-edge design with practicality and exquisite quality to excellently serve the stylish modern women from different countries around the globe. We also aim to do this by being a brand with a cause, in the sense that we genuinely aim to have a very strong social impact through our charity partnerships and also our women’s society, #theuntamedclub. We’re so excited about it all!
The Changing Factor donates 10% of its profits to women’s charities and causes. Why is this important to you and how has this impacted your business strategy?
As I have mentioned, our aim is to truly have a strong social impact with our brand. This has been motivated by the fact that a lot of fashion brands out there simply want to gain more no matter the consequences, sometimes even severe and we really wanted to go against the flow. By doing this, we try to set an example in the industry. We do think having a social impact is also beneficial for the business, but we see it more as a long-term plan.
How did you get to where you are today and what was your career path?
After deciding architecture is not exactly what I wanted to do – although I still had and have an enormous passion for it – I reflected on what I enjoyed the most and that has always been fashion. Fashion and style in general are such great ways to express yourself and say who you are, without saying a word. Fashion reflects history and I think it can be an incredibly interesting subject. So I went on and enrolled onto the Accessories Design Course at London College of Fashion and never looked back! During and after university, I worked with several luxury brands in London in the design and production departments, but then decided to take the leap and start my own brand because I felt like I had a different story to tell.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running your own business and how did you overcome it?
There are quite a few challenging aspects of running your own business, but I do believe with the right attitude one can overcome anything! For me, one of the hardest parts was setting up our supply chain successfully. There was a lot of research, trial and error and patience involved but, in the end, we have managed to set up a system that works for us. Not to mention doing it all on a budget!
What does your work day morning routine look like?
6-8 AM – Waking up to a relatively slow morning before I dive into the real day!.. Waking up in a relaxed manner, having some tea and breakfast, allowing myself to breathe and achieve the right mental state for the day. This is also when I assess what the priorities are for that particular day.
8-10 AM – Quickly go through emails, deleting unnecessary ones, dealing with important ones and starring some for later. I try to not take more than two hours to do this and I don’t check my emails all throughout the day so I can focus on more important things.
10-12 AM – Doing something that is really important for that day – having an important meeting, doing an interview or feature, signing contracts for new partnerships.
The aim before lunch is to have sorted the most urgent things for that day and get a sense of achievement. I find that this way the afternoon runs way smoother and there is some space left for creativity too!
Is there anything about business that you’ve learnt that surprised you?
I hate to admit it, but everyone saying that it takes a few years to get a business up and running and profitable is right! There are always some shortcuts we look for, but the reality is most things simply take some time. So I think the secret is to get armed with perseverance and patience!
What do you enjoy the most about running The Changing Factor?
I have always felt that I am a natural leader, so running the business feels quite natural to me. I think I really enjoy that, because I did not necessarily expect it when I first started out. I did not really know what to expect!
Have you had any mentors to help you along the way?
I have been looking for mentors since the beginning, but haven’t found the right people. I still think having a mentor no matter what you do is really important and helpful, so I will keep looking. I think I will probably find the right mentor at the right time!
How do you keep motivated to keep going?
I am just not the kind of person that gives up easily. If I have started something, I normally like to finish it. But it’s really important to have a good support system and for me that has been my partner, friends and family. I also feel very motivated by empowering women and helping women get together and that is something we are trying to achieve with The Changing Factor.
What advice would you give to designers wanting to become entrepreneurs?
Having come from a non-business background I think it is vital to understand you will need to become a self-learner if you are not one already and you will have to read up and do a lot of research! I also think having a non-business background can help you come up with fresh ideas and look at business in innovative ways, because you do not have all those preconceived ideas cluttering your head. I do feel a willingness to learn and having an open mind is essential!
Have a look at The Changing Factor here: https://thechangingfactor.com/