I Started A Slow Fashion Brand & Got My Work Into New York Fashion Week

Published: November 9th, 2022
Founder, Smaragdas Art
Smaragdas Art
from Athens, Greece
started December 2020
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! I am Albina, I am a designer. I create unique handmade jewelry, one-of-a-kind creations, home decoration items, bags, and clothes.

The business started in January 2020, I opened an atelier in Athens, Greece. Pandemic came soon, and the time of stress and fear began. But I continued to create, I made my e-shop, after I launched the new limited collection which was presented in New York Fashion Week Autumn 2021.

We participated in many exhibitions and our creations appeared in many international magazines.



What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was born and grow up in Moldova, I graduated from University with a specialty in Informatics and Applied English. For many years I was working as a graphical designer, creating colored posters, flyers, etc.

Art and fashion were always inside of me. I admired artists and designers, and it was my life inspiration.

After my divorce, I moved to Greece. I had a child of 5 years, the difficult times came because she was so little. I had problems finding a job, the schedule they offered to me was 10-12 hours. For many years I tried to find a balance between my job and being a good mother because I grow up with my daughter alone. My daughter is everything to me, now she is 14. She was my inspiration to create my own business. Because I could be with her more time. She is very talented, she is a designer too.

The brand name is my daughter’s name Esmeralda just translated into Greek Smaragda.

I had a job on the Greek island in a jewelry shop, they asked me to create jewelry in my free time. I started and never stop. Some pieces which I made were sold, and I heard a lot of compliments about my creation, I understood people like what I do.

I came to Athens, and I found a Jewelry Design School, My Greek language level was low and I couldn't understand the lessons, I had headaches every day after school. I was sure I will not pass the exams at Christmas. But my wish was so strong, I came to school every day and tried to take as much knowledge as I could. I passed the exams and had very good results all that years of studies. I was so happy and proud.

The school allowed me to go to Italy through a program and to gain knowledge too.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Smaragdas Art is:

  • Slow Fashion brand, we create small collections and limited editions.
  • Zero Waste atelier, we dont throw anything during the process of creation, and the metals which remain are melted and reused.
  • Handmade creations, the process is totally by hand, we use electricity and water.
  • One-of-a-kind creations, you will not find the same creation with the same design.
  • Eco materials, we use high-quality materials and ecological ones.
  • Recycling brands, in different collections we recycle clothes, plastic, and sometimes our old collections, adding or eliminating something we create a new collection.
  • Sustainable packaging.

First, I create the design in my mind, and I draw it after the product is created.

The products we sell in our atelier or online by e-shop www.smaragdasart.gr and affiliate e-shops. We send WorldWide the orders.

Also, we make jewelry lessons for kids and adults.




Describe the process of launching the business.

I was very excited about creating my business after graduating from the Jewelry Design School. I wanted to do it at the beginning of 2020 year. I was searching for a place to rent about for 3 months in different regions of Athens. I found and I rent it and I began to get ready legal papers with the help of an accountant and architect, some papers I did by myself. It was Christmas time and it was slow, but we managed to finish at the beginning of the year.

The reparation started, and it was a very beautiful time, I had a lot of fun designing and getting ready the atelier.


I was lucky I got financial support from “The People’s Trust” organization, this was important support for starting the business.

The biggest lesson was “not to hurry because you will manage to do everything at its time”.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The quality and uniqueness attracted our customers. We are different, we create different, for different.

We participated in different exhibitions, to increase traffic and sales. Also to find new collaborations. We collaborated with the showroom from NY which helped us get known. We participated in New York Fashion Week

Our creations appeared in different magazines like L’Officiel, Grazia, and Bazaar, even though we were on the cover.






Also, we use social media items: FB, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, youtube, etc.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We plan to open the atelier in the center of Athens which is a tourist area. At the moment searching for a new place, getting the ready new collection for Christmas. We will create a new limited collection of ecological bags by crocheting cotton, cashmere, and other yarns. It will be one-of-a-kind, sustainable bags. Best gift for your beloved for Christmas time. Also, we participate in a Sustainable Portuguese Project supported by the Portuguese Embassy from Athens and Athens Fashion Club School. The designers shall create clothes from sustainable fabrics from Portuguese companies. The dress I designed was made from ecological cotton and cork fabrics. The creations were presented at the Moditissimo exhibition from Porto, Portugal.

Later the collection was presented at the Portuguese Embassy in Athens.


On 16th November at the Athens Exclusive Fashion Week this collection will be presented too, at the moment we are getting ready for it, and I want to create accessories and bags too from sustainable textiles.

Don’t do it alone, find someone to start together, to collaborate, to develop.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I always took the opportunities I got, and this helped a lot to my business. I studied a lot, and I followed different courses which made me one step in front.

I regret only that I didn't work on my network, I am an emigrant woman in Greece and my circle is small, and It made more difficult the things to come.

The collaborations I made were good quality, I was supported by women.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

The E-shop and Social media tools are musts. My favorite is Instagram, just because it matches me and my business.

I use different tools, magazines, newspapers, and even TV shows.

Embaixada Portugal Atenas

Also, I collaborate with an influencer from Moldova Lorena Eni, which lives in NY, she was so kind offering to support us.


What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I always listen to podcasts and read books that encourage me to do more things.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t do it alone, find someone to start together, to collaborate, to develop.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I am doing everything by myself, I need a person on my team.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Photo credits: Alina Boran, Albina