Eight months pregnant and furloughed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, architect Magdalena Krzak sensed an opportunity. Undeterred by grim news about the future of the economy, she felt that it was the perfect time to realise her dream of starting a business. Here is her journey so far.
Why she started her company now
Stuck inside her Devon home, Magdalena didn’t want the time afforded by lockdown to go waste. She wanted to do something productive, and the idea of being her own boss has always intrigued her. As she readily admits:
“I had started a different business venture last year but I found that particular market too crowded. Luckily it was early on so I could easily stop and reassess things.”
Being at home presented her with a lot of free time to think about the future. With a baby on the way and motherhood on her mind, her business idea seemed to land in her lap: she wanted to sell custom-made children’s toys and furniture.
“Everyone likes personalised items for their baby. Whether it’s engraved or stitched names or their favourite colours, I offer a personal touch. The future of this idea looked brighter.”
And with that, her business Mincia Studio was born.
Why she knew this was a viable business
Originally from Poland, Magdalena remembered that her childhood toys were of better quality than the ones she was now seeing in the UK. She soon found that similar toys were still available in Poland. To top it off, they were cheaper too. Importing handcrafted Polish children’s toys and setting up her own e-commerce business was a no-brainer, as she explains:
“With the exchange rate of pounds to Polish Zloty, it made financial sense to find a way to get these products to the UK. I’ve already had some orders and a lot of interest and I’m sure more people here will love these toys and furniture.”
What were the main challenges in starting her business?
Logistics were her first challenge, particularly for larger items like furniture.
“For certain goods, such as the wooden prams, I’m still looking for a more affordable method to get them delivered from Poland,” she says.
She also needed a way to regularly pay her four manufacturers in Poland on the same day, safely and at an exchange rate that worked for her business. Luckily she was already an Azimo customer, so trying Azimo Business was a seamless transition.
“I’d been using Azimo to send money to my family in Poland for nearly six years. I kind of stumbled on Azimo Business by chance. I wanted to use my personal account to pay the manufacturers but then I saw that you offer business accounts with five fee-free transfers. For a new business, not paying fees initially was really helpful.”
What she likes best about Azimo Business
All businesses need a money transfer provider that offers security, simplicity, speed and value for money. In Azimo Business, Magdalena and her company found their perfect match:
“It’s really straightforward. Setting up my account was easy and I love the emails I get whenever I send a payment. I like knowing where the money is at every stage.
“For me, these updates are important because it makes scheduling deliveries with my suppliers and customers easier.”
The best advice she’s received while starting a business
Launching a new business venture meant scouring through lots of how-to guides on the internet. However, she discovered the best tips a little closer to home:
“My sister-in-law has her own business too, so the best advice I got was about web page hosting. I have a lot of free time so learning about building new websites keeps me busy.
“I also spend hours looking at baby accessories, so in a way, I’m researching all the time.”
What the future looks like
The ongoing restrictions surrounding COVID-19 are a problem for business owners around the world, but Magdalena isn’t letting the pandemic block her vision for the future.
“After the pandemic is finally over and the baby is born, I’ll go back to my job as an architect. I’ll still keep Mincia Studio going but I’ll definitely need some help. It’s a big risk starting a business during COVID-19 but being online helps. It means I can adapt or change with the times quickly.”
And will she continue to use Azimo Business?
“Absolutely. You guys have great rates and it’s easy to use. It works for me.”
Mother and child (a baby girl) are doing just fine.