Looking for Flexibility I Discovered an Opportunity

Creating Memorable Gifts that Stand-Out from the Ordinary!

An interview with Andreea Stoinescu, owner and founder of Pastel Gifts.

Many women after giving birth feel trapped between childcare, house chores and other obligations (husband and / or job). But that was not the case with Andreea, an optimistic, creative, and lively woman. One of our collaborators looking for meaningful and memorable gifts for babies found Andreea’s shop. She was impressed from the first minute of Andreea’s positive energy and passion on what she does. We decided to interview Andreea and found more about how she managed to build a business growing her kids, what is her recipe of success and how she manages to balance life and work! We hope her story will be an inspiration for many moms!

Andreea Stoinescu
Andreea Stoinescu holding two pastel gifts products

1. Andreea, tell me more about yourself? What kind of person are you?

I am an optimist, always seeing the best in people. I am an open heart, giving my best in this world.

2. Andreea Stoinescu try to describe yourself in 3 words!

Cheerful, creative, fulfilled!

3. What was the reason you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

There were two reasons, the first one was my family. I wanted to be more present in the life of my kids and I was looking for flexibility. 

The second was that I enjoyed making baby gifts for people. One of our bedrooms was filled with boxes and baby clothes and my husband was complaining that is too much and that I should give them up. That was the time I said I am keeping everything and in September 2019 went on and rented my workshop.

4. How did the idea for your business come about?

The idea came when I had to leave about 5 vases with flowers in water on the hallway of the clinic after I gave birth. Was not possible to put everything in the car and carry home, so we had to leave them. And from there on, the idea of offering a gift that will last and be memorable really stuck with me. I asked myself what if I made a flower arrangement that is not actually from flowers. And that is how I found out that you can make a baby clothes bouquet! And I made a pink little pot with bodysuits for the baby girl of one of my friends and then another one, and so on, and by now I’ve made hundreds of gifts for different occasions.

5. Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?

Yes, I believe the winning formula is learning how to do the things that you don’t like doing in your business repeatedly. For me, Andreea Stoinescu, I don’t like dealing with papers and accounting issues in general, but I know I know that if I want be able to plan ahead and be organized, I have to. I also don’t like filming videos, but I do it. For all the things I don’t like to do I have to put an extra effort into it if I want to move forward.

6. How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?

Business opportunities usually come from my clients. They tell me want they like or want more of and I come forward to them.

Andreea Stoinescu holding her buquets of flowers

I also survey my most loyal customers (basically I give them a call 😊) and I ask them what they would like to see, what would be their needs, what makes them come back to me and what could I improve. For metrics, I look at my sales and the designs that are not really working out I replace them with something else.

7. How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?

The split for marketing actions would be about 70% social media and 30% networking, either events or meetings. Was very happy when last year I started received orders from people finding my website on Google and this is working well for me also this year.

8. What are your hidden inspiration sources? How do you generate new ideas Andreea Stoinescu?

Every Summer I will go and practice in a flower shop for about a week with my initial trainer in floristry. She has 20 years experience, very good exposure with weddings and delivering orders at country level, so for me is a great opportunity to learn from this environment. It’s my time to revisit the techniques, learn about the trends and what I can do to improve my process. I love everything about flowers so I would regularly read ‘The Flower Arranger’ and ‘Elle Décor’ magazines, keeping up to date with what is new and what customers are interested in.

9. What best motivates you?

The best motivator is the reaction and feedback from my clients. It makes my day every time. The other day I was delivering the flower arrangements for a spa salon who is one of my corporate clients and there was a girl doing her manicure that said ‘I always look forward to see the flowers they will have here. They look so beautiful!’ When someone tells you this is really uplifting, it’s a great feeling.

10. How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?

I like to take a positive look on things and for the areas I don’t feel confident enough I try to learn. During Covid it was a confusing situation and I was lucky to have a great coach on marketing and be part of a community of entrepreneurs that gave me a boost to move forward and adapt to the new situation. Orders kept coming in and I continued to serve my clients in the best possible way.

11. Who is the one entrepreneur that is Andreea Stoinescu great source of inspiration?

If I were to name one from Cyprus would be Ramona Filip. She is a role model for me when it comes to consistency, the way she is present on social media and at events, even though I am sure is not easy. For me is a great inspiration.

12. How would you rank the key 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

I would rank first courage. It takes courage to start a business, face your parents with what you want to do even though maybe they have a different opinion (like mine did…), or your friends, and in a way reframe yourself to them. Then, you would need perseverance, optimism, openness to constant change and self acceptance. I mean self acceptance in the sense that you cannot know everything and you cannot be good at everything. You need to create good partnerships and bring people around you to help you with what you are trying to do.

13. What success means to you?

Ensuring business continuation during Covid was a success. Having good Christmas sales last December was a success. Taking my kids to all their activities and the birthday parties they get invited to is also a success for me. I have big dreams but I also like to celebrate the little victories achieved.

14. What’s the most exciting experience to memorize in your entrepreneurial journey?

My first “memorable gift” delivery I remember I was so worried, I checked the bow probably 5 times and it started to rain and had to cover the gift bag with the sun screen of the car. Since then I always have an umbrella in my car, just in case. I guess every entrepreneur remembers their first order, their first client with great excitement.

15. How do you balance life-work?

 I believe trying to balance them doesn’t really work. In 2019, with the support of my husband, I decided to end my corporate life as vice-president in an asset management company to prioritize my family.

Even though I loved my job I never regretted it. For the next 5 to 10 years my family is my priority and because of that probably my business will not expand very much and will grow from a solopreneur to a small business, and for me that is ok too.

16. What ‘s your milestones to help you develop a profitable business?

At the beginning it was developing the range of products and the overall branding. Another milestone was breaking even. From there on, I take into consideration the seasonality and plan my campaigns. I also do things that would have a long term impact on the business, like I did with the investment in the e-shop.

17. What do you believe is unique about your business Andreea Stoinescu?

My business offers gifts that are both useful and practical, intended to create lasting memories. I also offer a complete service with easy to order gifts, delivered to door. My clients are usually women who want to offer thoughtful gifts to their loved ones but do not have a lot of time during the day for shopping, so they prefer to have their gifts beautifully packaged and delivered. 

Andreea Stoinescu holding one of her memorable gifts

18. What is the biggest struggles you face in your business?

Sometimes the biggest struggle is my self-discipline. In prioritizing all the ideas I have, all the things I want to achieve. Time is scarce as a solopreneur.   

19. What are the most popular selling product and why?

My bestselling gift is the round box baby gift. The baby clothes ‘flowers’ are placed just like you would make a flower box arrangement. I place great emphasis on the chromatics, borrowed from floristry. You will always find a contrasting palette of colors in the gifts.

20. Which are the best 3 products that you would recommend today!

The 3 products I would recommend are the birthday gift for her, the round box baby gift and the flower vase arrangement for the home. Anyone interested to see the gifts or meet me is always welcome at my workshop in Nicosia for a coffee with Andreea Stoinescu and a chat about gifts and flowers!

Share this article 😊