Cecilia Capri: Self-made flower enthusiast and keeper of creatives, this stylish boss tracks her progress
With the help of a diverse and hard-working team, made up of designers, illustrators, programmers, filmmakers and social media, communication, PR and event representatives, Vienna native, Cecilia Capri has found herself on the way up.
From ‘Ikebana-esque’ inspired entrepreneur turned co-working space come hotel co-founder- she’s an all-round boss. Humble yet business-owner direct, this is a woman who knows her power. Noticing a niche in the market, the Viennese creative and her close friend and partner Mathias, set out with the not immediately obvious mission to provide ‘the perfect floral headpiece at an affordable price for all women’. Standing out as Vienna’s leading flower arranging business with a creatively unique vision, these two quickly made a name for themselves through ‘We Are Flower Girls’ on the peak of everyone's lips.
Emerging from Berlin with a degree in fashion design, Capri has worked across the board as a fashion editor and all round style icon. From there she became the author of ‘We are Vienna’ city guides before launching the business ‘We are Flower Girls’ which would light the creative fire that would go on to inspire her full potential. Come 2017 and Capri had founded the creative agency Pavillon Studio with the Shared Office Hotel Pavillon, offering a creative space for artists and creators alike to express and explore themselves with stability and comfort. A photographer herself, Capri knows when it's time to take a break and recharge which she captures on her blog with insightful reflections on her creative process.
Clearly an individual driven not only by personal intention but also by the passion of others – her team – Capri shows us that sometimes success simply comes down to finding the right people: As she states on her blog, "Acting alone on your playground day-in, day-out makes you stay inside your own horizon ... it's getting super boring. Share your fantasies, projects and crazy ideas with others to create something even better. That's the only way to learn, to see and explore something new every single day."
For neubau eyewear, Cecilia shares her business secrets, sustainable ambitions and life learnings with all the up and coming creative entrepreneurs out there:
You dabble in what seems to be very different fields - making floral wreaths and running a creative agency amongst other things - how would you explain your unique career trajectory?
That's true, it is something I hear quite often. “You run a creative hub, an accessories brand, a creative agency and you’ve published a city guide? What do these things all have in common?" From the outside, it might seem kind of random but for my partner and I, it all makes sense. The common factor behind all our projects, businesses and ideas is that they all have formed from our own personal needs or desires. Let's take the WE ARE VIENNA city guide and blog for example; my partner Mathias and I, we love to travel and so when we experience those really special adventures, say in a particular city where a friend or somebody we know lives, we’ve wanted their advice and so we’ve placed it into this guide. If you’re with someone and you like his style and the things he/she does in life, you can be sure that he/she will lead you to spots you will probably also love. So we thought, ‘Why not do a city guide for Vienna, with locals – most of them creatives – who tell us their secret spots. That's exactly what we would love to have, especially if we didn’t actually know anybody in the specific foreign country. En voila, WE ARE VIENNA was born. Or let's take HOTEL PAVILLON – our shared office. Mathias and I were looking for an office for us and our Pavillon Studio team. But all we found where coworking spaces without the kind of vibe and style we were looking for. So we started our own shared space. The same stories I could tell about all our other projects.
Another thing is, that my career path was not planned. After school, I moved to Berlin to study fashion design. Then, I got a job offer in Vienna from WOMAN magazine. So I moved to Vienna and due to the need for journalistic knowledge, I decided to study Journalism part-time in Salzburg. There I got to learn all about online platforms, blogging, and social media. Later, for 9 women's’ magazines, I worked on the building of each of their websites and social media handles- all in Austria.
Then, the WE ARE VIENNA book project came along and it suddenly was my first contact with the world of being self-employed. Six months later, Mathias and I launched WE ARE FLOWERGIRLS, our accessories brand. After we finally quit our day jobs, our next project was our agency PAVILLON STUDIO. Then – due to the lack of an office – HOTEL PAVILLON came along. Since the interior and style of HOTEL PAVILLON is not typical – soon the first inquiries for interior and decoration jobs came along. We are very interested in interior and styling so we started 'ERIEUR – our interior webshop. Yep, that's us – let's see what comes next.
What's the biggest entrepreneurship lesson you've learned?
To be honest, sadly it's a negative one: The more cool projects you do and challenging moves you make, the merrier people will be and allow you to reach your success. That's a fact and you have to learn to deal with it. But the good side is, you will see who your real friends are. These will be the people that will support you endlessly and celebrate your achievements with you, no matter how successful you or unsuccessful you may become.
How do you remain creative and productive when you're so busy?
I have an amazing team around me who does a great job. So I don't have to do it all by myself. If you have people you can trust, even big loads of work will be (more or less) easy to handle and you will have enough space to be creative.
What are the unique challenges you face as a female entrepreneur and how do you tackle them?
For me, it was always more my age than my gender. But as you can imagine, the older I get the more these problems dissolve. I was very young, twenty years old in fact, when I got the job as an editor at WOMAN magazine, and also kind of young (23) when I became the head of digital at echomedia Verlag. In this time it was not always easy to gain the respect of older co-workers or clients. Obviously. It was a great challenge, but I learned how to deal with it. Of course, it's also a thing to be a young, self-employed woman who has two businesses that are successful. But to be honest, for me, it was never harder to get respect from men, than getting respect from women. In my family, my sister and I were always educated that there is absolutely no difference between men and women and you can always achieve what you want if you pursue it. So, for sure this mentality helped me immensely – for me, it was always a fact that men and women are equal: in business, in relationships, and in life. And, my experience is that men can sense and respect this once they face a woman who knows that she has the same strength or power to get things done, has visionary ideas or can lead a project/team.
What's the best piece of advice you've received with regards to entrepreneurship?
Whenever a person criticizes you, face this feedback professionally and reflect for a moment. Maybe it's just constructive feedback you can learn from and not personal criticism. That's a thing I had to learn. But now it makes me stronger and allows me to learn a lot from others.