12. September 2019
“Everything I do is done with passion––that’s the only way to ensure it will be a success. Always ALL IN.”
Victoria Chirita founded her first company with two friends in 2006 while she was still a trainee. The idea behind DeinDesign was inspired by everyday life; it all started with a laptop, a photo, and some double-sided adhesive tape. So simple, yet so brilliant. “DeinDesign was all about allowing people to personalize the design of their electronic devices––cellphones, tablets, notebooks, and so on.”
Today Victoria has 140 employees and creates products for over 4,000 devices, with licenses for the whole German soccer Bundesliga, Disney, Star Wars, and much more. DeinDesign is the European market leader in the field of accessories for consumer electronics. “Anyone seeking an individual protection for their cell, tablet, laptop or whatever will find exactly what they need from us,” she explains. In the past few years she has also launched a beverage and a dog bowl, both created in response to her own needs and both highly successful.
We met the self-made entrepreneur in Berlin and photographed her in the WHITE CUBE. Of course we were eager to know what she is currently engaged in.
I’ve been working on the “AlphaBambi” brand for years. The name is my take on the modern superwoman––we’re alpha women, but we can also afford to be “Bambis” occasionally. It’s the combination that makes us so special. I’d really love to create something outstanding with the brand but it hasn’t happened so far. I’m sure it will some day, though.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My parents. My father fled from Romania during the dictatorship and built a life here in Germany with my mother, starting with absolutely nothing. “Risk” was my father’s second name and “All in” was his third name, so I absorbed all of that with my mother’s milk.
Have there been key turning-points in your life that have made you what you are today?
Every day of my life is a turning-point! Every day I have to––and want to––decide what to do and what not to do, in every area of life. But if I have to choose moments that have had a lasting impact on me, I would say spending over a year in a wheelchair when I was 12 years old, founding DeinDesign, moving to Berlin, and having children. All these events had a sustained impact on my life, although in very different ways.
The White Cube reduces everything to the basic essentials and turns the spotlight on you, the subject of the photographs. How did that feel?
To be honest, I don’t usually feel comfortable being photographed; it’s just not my thing.
The Cube also stands for the “rough edges” or personal quirks of the subject. What are yours?
I just asked our CFO, who sits opposite me, and his reaction was, “Ohhhh, there’s enough there to write a whole book about.” Er… OK : ) I’m very impulsive, uncompromising, and chaotic, and I always play to win. Seemingly––or perhaps obviously––there are a few more quirks, but they’re always counterbalanced by a positive characteristic.
One aspect of our project is female empowerment, stories about special women. Do you have any suggestions for strengthening women’s role in business?
I think it’s especially important to do things with passion; in my view, that’s the only way they will be successful. Always “all in.” I believe every woman has to identify her personal superpower––because everyone definitely has one––and follow her personal passion. Not everyone is a born entrepreneur, and that’s OK; you can be passionate about a perfectly normal job too, and in fact I think that’s even more important. Success isn’t all about the number of employees on your payroll or the salary in your bank account. True success is
being happy with what you have. If you don’t want to jump in at the deep end of your own volition, maybe a nice warm bath is the best place for you?
How do you manage to juggle being a mother and having a career?
To be honest, I don’t find it stressful at all. My kids are great and I love spending time with them; they’re crazy about their father, and that frees me up to be away occasionally. We also have a fantastic housekeeper; I’d be lost without her.
What makes your heart beat faster?
My children always come first, above everything and everyone else. And I’ve always loved sport. I used to play basketball when I was young and I almost became a professional showjumper, but today my passion is boxing. It starts as soon as I go into the club; that sharp smell, the noise level, the training that pushes me to my limits time after time, the moment when I lose concentration for a split second and immediately suffer the consequences. The feeling of living with every fiber of my being causes a rush of feelings that are very hard to describe. A pounding heart, happiness, humbleness, addiction.
Another great passion of mine is music. I used to play music myself and I’ve always loved hip hop. The times when I’m not playing music are few and far between, but even in those moments the music carries on in my head.
What makes you laugh?
My friends, without whom life wouldn’t be half as much fun. Especially when they confront me with myself, with something I’ve said or done, and ask “Seriously?!”
What does love mean to you?
Love… has so many facets. I love a whole lot; intensely and loudly, but also quietly, discreetly. Sometimes love changes, but it doesn’t mean I love any more or any less––just differently. Love is what makes life worth living. Sometimes I wish I could love more than I can, sometimes less.
What was your first experience with Laurèl?
Oh wow, that was years ago. As far as I remember we met through a partnership with NutriWater and did a whole lot of great things together, from Laurèl cellphone cases to events. But the most memorable was the 2013 summer show. I was pregnant at the time. A solo cellist opened the show. As she played I was overwhelmed, my eyes filled with tears and I suddenly experienced a wave of fulfillment and gratitude for everything I had. I’ll never forget that feeling.