Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Lena Berens and I am having my own label. Originally I come from Germany but I am in Maastricht since 10 years now. I did my study here, at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design Maastricht.
I am now busy with my labels, but I started very slowly four years ago, more for myself because I was searching for simple clothes. Even though I studied fashion design, I didn’t and do not make crazy things, I create more very wearable clothes.
Everything started when I wanted to have a simple t-shirt, so I did it for myself, and then I started to make clothes for some friends and gave it as a present at their birthdays. So I started very, very slowly besides my work for another designer.
What will you consider your distinctive achievement?
Sometimes I can be very impatience, at some days I think that it must grow faster. However, when I look back it’s very good that I grew very slowly and I can catch up with my mind, and I am not getting to stressed out. It’s very nice if you are having success but it can be very stressy too. One year ago, my label was much smaller, and now I am still growing. The best thing I can hear is that people are coming back, because they are happy with the clothes. I have to say that ‘I am very proud that I did/do it by being patient’.
What are you looking forward to?
Actually, I am looking forward to grow with my business. I would love to have people working for my label. Currently an intern helps me; thinking about the long term, I would love to hire someone that works for me full time. However, I also have to learn how to teach others and to let go, especially if you are control freak, as I am, I want to do everything by myself. But, it’s not healthy; it’s good to allow someone else to help you out.
My dream is to have the production close to myself.
I have to see, how it is possible, because you have the risk to have many employees.
I mean, you can choose when you make a collection, to let it produce, or produce it by yourself. I really like these ideas of handmade and homemade. But I have to see.
Which advice would you give to the young professionals?
It’s always good to do, what you are doing with passion. But it’s not always easy. Someone told me, if I had known how much work is to be a Freelance, I would have never done it!
It’s a process, just start slowly, and it’s always good to work with or for somebody else, to see how it is. It’s fundamental to get an understanding of the job, the needs and the all packaging (how much is important to create an impressive and consistent images, from flyers, to design, to website and so on, not only the product).
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make ‘cultural entrepreneurship’ more accessible?
It’s important to have facilities, a space, because sometimes for me it was hard to find one – I chanced five spaces. There should be more opportunities to rent spaces, in order to have a location to test and see if your product will work.
People are more interested in what you are doing when they can see, that you are physically making it. Having this transparency is a need on both sides, the producer and the client.
By giving the space, and flexibility, it’s already a good opportunity.