Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview 3: Christina Plakopita-bringing Fashion in our lives

Christina Plakopita (CP) is giving us this time the weekly interview in the DUBAI PROFILE NEWS Blog (DPN). She lived in Athens, London, Paris, New York and currently she established her own online business called NETROBE.COM. As a young entrepreneur is offering her online wardrobe tool to help us manage and style our clothes. Fashion is a must. Let’s meet Christina.

DPN: Christina, describe us what fashion means for you?

CP: To me, fashion means personality. The way you chose to express yourself and live your life. It is the perfect way to show how you feel, what you’re striving for, what you’re all about… without having to say anything at all.

DPN: You are the founder of NETROBE.COM, an online wardrobe that helps you manage and style your clothes. Tell us some things about your Project.

CP: Netrobe wants to help people utilize their closets to the maximum and reply to the “I have nothing to wear” moment that all women go through. Make them remember what they own and be creative with their clothes, so that they dress better and faster. By creating an online database for your clothes, you will be able to sort what you want to wear, by color, season, brand or style, get suggestions from your friends or us and at the same time shop according to your style – all this from the comfort of your bed. It’s like Cher’s digital closet in Clueless – but the 2.0 version.

DPN: You chose internet as your vehicle to do business. Someone said that “internet is important but print media will never die, as you will never be able to kill a fly with your laptop”. Do you agree with that?

CP: Personally, I chose the internet to create this idea of mine, since women were running out of Polaroids. Just kidding… You are mentioning the eternal debate here, print vs. digital. My thought is that print will never die and digital will only get stronger… just because they are not comparable. They are different channels of communication that serve different needs, just like TV didn’t kill the film industry. People still have a need to go to the movies, even if there’s something to see on TV at night or they can rent a DVD. The important thing, I would say, for a business is to decide what their product is and what value proposition they offer to their customers.

DPN: Does a well-dressed person have an easier access to success?

CP: Definitely. I’m a strong believer of the saying “Dress for the job you want” and I even believe people should dress for the life they want. Being well-dressed shows manners, confidence and determination.

DPN: Who is the worst dressed celebrity?

CP: Unfortunately, I have to say Britney. I love her to death… I wish she could let me style her… for free or just let Nicole Chavez do it for her!

DPN: You lived in Athens, London, Paris and New York, 4 cities totally fashion oriented. Which one is the most sparkling one?

CP: For me, these cities are like people. They have their own personalities.  Athens is where it all begun. She is a mother, who taught me the essence of style and the importance of a timeless classic wardrobe. London is the most groomed and handsome gentleman I have ever met and you can find him online now at MrPorter.com. Paris the most stylish woman, I know, in the world. She’s effortless, elegant, important and ahead of the game… and New York is everything combined. It expresses me the most, at the moment.

DPN: Is fashion a female privilege?

CP: Absolutely not. I think it’s lucky for women that fashion has been identified as a female prerogative… but it’s necessary and indulging for both, men and women. A well-dressed man sometimes can stand out more than a woman will.

DPN: Which do you think you have the most of: talent, intelligence, education, or persistence? How has it helped you in your life?

CP: Even though I couldn’t use the first two to characterize myself, as I believe they’re attributes that should be given to you, I would go with persistence anyway. I’ve always had a big drive to achieve something in every stage of my life that would make me proud and feel happy. Persistence is the active side of drive. It has helped me best by not compromising to less satisfying and fulfilling options.  

DPN: What’s the best compliment you ever received?

CP: That I’m kind. It’s nice to know that people still acknowledge kindness and I would like to see more people being like that.

DPN: What kinds of things bring you the most pleasure?

CP: Family time, my friends, summers in Greece, traveling, creativity, architecture, design, photography, blogs… and fashion. Good, old and new glamorous fashion!

DPN: Which things frighten you?

CP: World uncertainty and corruption

DPN: What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted but still don’t have?

CP: To be able to speak every language in the world. That, and an English bulldog.

DPN: What do you do for fun?

CP: Dance a lot…

DPN: Is there a person in your life you trust and depend on?

CP: Thankfully many. My parents and my brother are my life advisors and rocks… and my friends, whom we’ve grown together, made mistakes together and laughed, a hell of a lot, together.

DPN: What have you liked best about your life so far? What’s your happiest or proudest moment?

CP: That it feels like a well-written book so far. Every major phase in my life felt like a chapter, complete… that when it ends, a new one follows. I like consistency, but I’m also very open to change. So now, I’m at the chapter of making it on my own. Happiest and proudest would be making it in New York! Songs… never lie! The city definitely builds character and makes you stronger.

DPN: Tell us what’s the most difficult thing that ever happened to you? How did you deal with it?

CP: Realizing that you should never take things for granted. When graduating from high-school you are taught that if you get a good degree at a good university, you are guaranteed with success. The only thing you need to do is decide what you want to do in your life. That for starters is tough, unless you were born with a dream of a specific profession. But even if you are lucky enough to figure it out, the circumstances may change so drastically that you have to find ways to adapt and move forward. Coming out from grad school in 2008 with an MSc in Real Estate Development gave me the first taste of what new reality means. In the peak of the crisis in New York and the rest of the world following suit, I had to redefine my goals in life and adapt in what the new career scenarios would be. I got into commercial real estate consulting. Two years later, ready to invest in my own idea by creating a business with a technology being built in Greece, I am in the core of my country’s biggest financial meltdown. Once again, uncertainty and new reality are in the front seat. In both cases, I didn’t think twice to switch gears and redraft my initial life goals. I don’t believe that we are destined to do only one thing in life and since it is a short ride, we have to be multi-taskers. So, I think being flexible and creative is the best way to deal with things.

DPN: Do you have a philosophy of life?

CP: Aim high and aim with meaning… Life should have a purpose that would affect people in a good way, not just yourself. We’re in this together… anyway! Looking at my country’s situation, I get saddened by the fact that everyone blaims the government for our current state. Everyone has contributed to this result and everyone should try hard to help get us out of it.

DPN: Define us the “success”?

CP: When you look back and you think you did good… in anything you were striving to do.

DPN: Share with us an important thing you learned from your work experience.

CP: The ability to sell is the most important thing I have learnt so far. Selling something that you believe in will keep you motivated, make you resourceful and ultimately successful in reaching your goal. It’s essential for any type of business you are in and whether you work on your own or for others. In every business, people are selling a product, an idea, a story. You have to be able to sell yourself well to excel… to convince your boss that you are doing well, to bring in more clients, to find new investments or to sell your merchandise. My experiences in advertising, private equity, grad school, real estate and corporate America had one thing in common… selling. I learnt that if you can master the art of selling, then you can do anything.

DPN: What’s your vision for NETROBE.COM

CP: To have the same subscribers as the number of people who watched the royal wedding! No really, my vision is to make shopping more relevant for people and less ephemeral than at the moment. If I have the opportunity I would like to make it a business of giving, the way Blake Mycoskie preaches of how a business can be successful.

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