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Aina Kari was established in 2020 and has been Butterfly Mark certified since September 2021. The Italian homeware brand creates one-of-a-kind home décor, from a mixture of precious, unique Murano glass and Palissandro marble. It celebrates both the traditional and contemporary in art, design and craftsmanship – while making zero compromises on the sustainability of its ingredients and production processes. We recently caught up with the founder and creative director, Marina Cighir, to find out about what they think makes a successful leader, hardest lessons learned and what the future looks like for Aina Kari.
What three things do you think make a great leader?
Energy – at the beginning, you are the CEO and also the warehouse manager, so you need a lot of energy to cover all these positions and never feel tired.
Passion – you need to transfer the passion and love you have inside, otherwise nobody will fall in love with your project. People buy stories, feelings, memories, not objects.
Reliable – business is business. All the energy and passion are not enough if not supported by reliable behaviour towards customers and suppliers.
What three things would the people around you say make you a great leader?
Never be afraid to be a demanding and exigent person. That I am extremely passionate about my work and creativity. Also being bilingual in both English and Italian means I can communicate with a top buyer and also with small artisans with humility and charisma.
What is the toughest lesson you learned?
There are so many and still I am learning. Some include confirming orders only after a quality check, to have an even longer lead time when working with artisans and to be ready and prepared to change and adapt your business.
And the most rewarding?
That moment when people discover our products (especially in store or during trade fairs) and have such a spontaneous and amazing reaction when touch and smell our products. That “WOW” pays back for all the effort.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you had been given early on in your career?
That success is a blend of experience, courage and preparation.
What is your immediate focus for creating positive change as a leader for Aina Kari?
Working exclusively with small suppliers, only locally made north of Italy, limited quantity and creating beautiful things. The most sustainable product is one that is beautiful and you will keep it forever, we should all start from here.
And your long-term goal?
Big enough to spread influence, small enough to remain a gem.
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