Mirela BucoviceanFrom: București Born on: 8 Noiembrie Occupation: Entrepreneur, Business Woman since 1991, Owner - Molecule F
I’m in a slightly crammed room. On the chair next to me are sitting a brown leather vintage bag, a traditional Romanian kerchief made of transparent material with golden embroidery and a gray coat with shoulders fixed on the backrest. A glass desk supports heroically, from left to right, stacked papers, flower bouquets (many are on the floor, supported by cupboard and other pieces of furniture), two statement rings, an Apple laptop with the sticker: eşti BOGAT (you are RICH), other papers and notebooks, a lamp, other flowers and other objects, which I do not remember anymore.
I have long believed that this is the lifestyle of my interlocutor, busy. Mirela Bucovicean indirectly confirmed that I am right.
She wears a thin white cotton blouse with long sleeves on which rests a circular shaped textured gold medallion and a pair of black-and-white, large, thick cloth trousers. She sits in front of me, holding a cup of coffee with both hands. I do not know if it’s a hot coffee, but her gestures are like the touch of a terracotta stove in the winter, when, easily and without burning, you capture the emanated heat. Everything in that space, which for sure hides a story or has a good reason for being there, reminded me that the Molecule F platform does not sell clothes but experiences, being created almost 9 years ago after the face and resemblance of the founder. An objective and rigorous analysis she also applies to her own face and body when she watches her interviews or recorded shows, first of all without sound, in search of misplaced postures or inappropriate movements, and then with sound to identify speech, coherence and timing errors. She studies herself like a product only when she identifies the possibility of improvement, because otherwise, as she often says, joking, “I’m sick of myself.” She is not specifically looking for exposure, which is why she doesn’t keep magazines where she is published “thanks to Molecule F.” With the same type of humor, this time touched by reality, she tells me that the most vulnerable she feels when the savings account drops. She laughs and then she explains lucidly that money represents an anchor in many critical moments of her life, and the hypocrisy, which comes from the expression “money doesn’t matter”, is a strange thing to her. It seems gaudy and a lack of self-confidence, education, poor quality and character of the person, only when you want to show off your money. Mirela was labeled, at one point in time, by the Romanian press as the sexy millionaire. Millionaire, but not from fashion, I quote Mirela, in order to go further with the joke, towards the truth. From the end of 2006, until the beginning of 2008, she had remarkable financial results, working in real estate. But she is one of the people who massively lost from the real estate crisis, not from the money she had, but from the money that she could have. She failed to sell properties in time by bureaucratic reasons. With a practical perspective, she says: If I had sold the proprieties and stood on a bunch of money, I certainly didn’t build the channel through which the Romanian designers came to the public, and the contribution I brought to society would not have existed. My main goal, the one who drives me in fights of all kinds, is to build something. The money are important , but I don’t count them. As materialistic, pragmatic and realistic as I am, my contribution to a common good is more important. I am crushingly pragmatic, but pragmatism is just the link to the everyday life, while my greatest desire is not to live meaningless.
Mirela is currently in a period of spiritual reconnection, when she tries after a very long time to look at her own needs. A difficult gesture, because people were used to caring for them, devoting your time and your life. And when you want to give to yourself this time, the others are puzzled, wondering what they’ve been wrong with and why you changed so much. But I only get my life back. I cannot live in egocentrism and away from the world because I am still a social animal and is not part of my personality to ignore other people’s lives or not helping them. I cannot live my life thinking only to myself.
Poto: The Storyalist
MS: You’ve talked over time about maternal influence, about the importance of independence and seriosity learned from your mother. How is your relationship now?
My mother always wanted „more and better” from me. She still wants it, because whatever I do it can be improved. She tells me directly: “Mirela, you made a mistake, you should do in this way.” For example, lately she corrected me in choosing the monthly value of a real estate that I give it for rent.It was too small and she remembered me why with argument. Obviously, the role of the parent who knows better than the child, through a longer life experience, how is better, shows up, but also, she has the impression that I am a very tolerant person, and that people around me always get what they want. They fooled you, they stole you, Mirela imitates her with humor. But I know that she does all of this for protecting me.
My mother is a constant presence in my life, we talk almost every day and we consult ourselves as often. Recently, our properties required more work, and she assumed the role of “site manager”. We are a team, because when I cannot be present, she replaces me and vice versa. It has an absolutely overwhelming energy and always solves a situation.
My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, and my mother grew me alone with the occasional help of grandparents from the father. Althought, they also had a significant contribution to my education, especially during the holidays, I am, in the end, the result of my mother’s education. She grew me up quite rigid, keeping a direct communication and claiming a maturity level away from my real age. I had to be strong, to do it by myself, to be on my feet – independent. There was no room for weakness in my life, but obviously I had such moments. I still feel the same pressure, I still wonder if I could do the things closer to perfection, even when people come and congratulate me: “Well done!”. Surely, as long as you want to do more, the higher your doubts are.
MS: How did you perceive the parental influence?
At that time, divorces didn’t leave behind friends, people were not as open as they are today. My parents did not fully understand that the formation of a balanced child requires both the mother’s and the father’s contribution, and due to the circumstances the situation was not ideal. My mother tried to bring my father towards me, but to the extent that I didn’t intervene in her new life. I have always appreciated her for the decency she has shown, and although it is not maybe a productive feature, I have inherited it.
Dad was an exceptional, respected and known lawyer in the whole country. We came close to the end of high school, when I knew what I wanted and I can say that our relationship was a good one, and in the last years of its life, even a special one – which makes me very happy.
I have always considered that the right choice for a family that doesn’t work well is, with afferent regrets of course, only one active parent. The advantage of this separation was the freedom to create my own image of how a family should be. I think in high school I also confessed to my mother the appreciation I feel for her courage and verticality. I missed my dad, but I didn’t make from this a reproach. Perhaps, because I managed to separate things and never, at least at a conscious level, I had no tendency to judge.
As for Dad, with the mentality of those times, emotional manifestation was not an option for men. His proof of love was financial support. I think it was modus operandi for him, it was the attention he felt confident to offer. Family, friends, or colleagues in the professional environment had this expectation from him, but it was never an act of buying sympathy or comforting his own ego. To me, it had become a way of compensating for the lack of emotional interactions. Even so, I knew, I felt he loved me a lot, and maybe he felt guilty, helpless. And if you imagine that his contribution was extraordinary, I would tell you that of all those who was fed with money, I was getting the least: 100$. This was my monthly dowry in the 2000s. I remember the frustration of that time and how I asked him: “Dad, but why do you give it to all of them and not also to me?” And his answer surprised me because it came quickly and honestly: “Because you can, you can do it.” These are words that marked me and that motivated me over time. If my father said I can do it, it means I can.
And I did it alone; I remember how in high school I was making more money than my teachers were earning. Working. I worked a lot.
We were close, we were talking openly about my pretenders he never liked, about his life partners that I never supported, but also about his affairs, difficult clients, and other delicate family subjects. The memory of our relationship is beautiful, very beautiful, emotional, surround by a surprising honesty.
Poto: Lucian Broscățean
MS: Was it hard to do it all: two faculties, a job, and others besides?
It wasn’t hard. I take my energy out of satisfaction. I think I fed up with the joy of doing well and all my life I’ve been fighting to do everything by the book.
(I remembered how, at an event she organized with her team, in the last few seconds before the scheduled live, she came in front of the lens to move a few centimeters to the right a relevant object, but not the most important, then walked behind the cameras and critically watched the scenes, and she relaxed completely late, when the screen turned black, a principle changed in a lifestyle, I would say.)
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t do compromises, even if it bothers me. You know, I’ve been bragging for a long time with my adaptability, my ability to fit in any environment, because I’ve worked with very different human profiles, from merchants to bankers, from creative to multi-millionaire business people. In my mind, for a long time, I thought the my highest quality is – adaptability. Until one day, when I read a simple post on Facebook, a quote from a book, where Romanians were urged to give up praising adaptability, because it actually demonstrates the lack of principles. Those words hit me very hard. And then, I said: Yes, Mirela, you have adapted a lot, but at each adaptation you gave up on some of the things you believed in, on some principles.
In this present world, where everything is only image, beautiful, smile, perfection, you make compromises, maybe even for fear of being judged. I admit that I ended up to talk to people to whom I have nothing in common with. But now, I’m doing this, and it’s a concession, that there – in a corner of my subconscious, it bothers me, in the sense of disappointing myself. I could have been more radical.
On the other hand, if I kept all the principles from the beginning, I do not think I would have been able to work in this industry.
A place where I really do not do compromises at all, is my team. We among us, accept and love our defects, I have, they have also, but we have learned to live well without making concessions. If something is wrong, we say it out loud. There is no hierarchy in Molecule F, and the first question I’m asking when I go into the office is: What do you give me to work today? So, they are my bosses, not the other way around. (she laugh)
MS: You said in one of the discussions at Creativo that there is much to be detailed on the question: What advice would you give to Mirela, the one at the beginning? However, what advice would you give her?
I’m going to tell you what I discovered at the age of 20 when I had a job, a marketing director with two departments in charge, marketing and sales, in a rather communist structure, with some people who could have been, in terms of age, almost all, my parents. I invested energy and time at that job to prove that I can, but I realized that in the morning I did not wake up smiling. The pressure and the stress were so huge that I opened my eyes at six in the morning, without alarm, I was getting to the office at 7 am, meeting only the janitor and working until 8 pm. I was not bothered by the fact that I was working, but the fact that my effort was not appreciated and the results were not so impactful. I did not have satisfaction, so I had no justification to stay, no matter how well I did my job. So, I decided that my morning smile is the most important thing and if it misses, it means something has to be changed.
Thinking to that Mirela, I would say to her: Live today to the fullest.
In the last few years I have softened a lot, and the Mirela you see now is the soft Mirela. I would like to return to 20 years ago, or at least 10. (She laughs and puts her mug, which she holds in her hands, on her desk. She lay back in the chair.)
MS: And why do you think this has happened?
Because I’m tired. I’ve been working since the age of 14.
Another reason is that, if I would have been tough, it would have been in vain, I would not have gained more in this domain. In addition, I think I also needed this quiet Mirela in my personal, spiritual and emotional evolution. One important thing I learned while working in real estate is to take care of my life, not just my career. Then I worked mainly with Jews, people who work very much – from 7 a.m. to late in the evening, have different holidays, which is why I was “in the office” for Christmas and Easter. Somewhere along the way, I felt that I had lost the purpose of life, that I was no longer in the landscape.
MS: Only the dry mouth and sweat that flows gently from your forehead into the eyes tells you that you are at a macadam rally. At the end of the test someone is interviewing you. Until you gather your words, it saves you the smile that shows everyone how happy you are to do this. Even in high school, with a lot of self-control, I managed not to attach myself beyond logic of something. I think I found my godfather in the car rallies. Why did you try to not get emotionally involved in something, beyond logic, exactly in high school?
I had a very beautiful and healthy maturing process in high school, but I realized I needed some levers to work, being an extraordinary shy, timid, and sensible person. I said to myself: Mirela, you have no way of succeeding in the world with your features. And I created the necessary tools.
MS: How did you do it?
I’m not sure it was a healthy initiative. You put on a platoon and you get used to this shield, then you put one more, and another one, until you forget how and where your soul is. You protected it so much, you covered it with armor, and you were no longer in contact with it, you lost the connection, although what you built was for its benefit. It’s a trap.
So, I think the only right way to defend yourself is by understanding others. It is said that you know too much psychology when you understand the motives of all. People interact, first and foremost as we treat them, and then according to their problems and weaknesses, or on the contrary by their generosity and balance. If someone said a malice you must think to it as a mirror of the person that said it. It will be a mistake to consider it your reflection. There’s no one to blame, it just happened to be on that person’s trajectory in an unfortunate moment.
Another unhealthy attitude, taken from my mother this time, is not to bother. A natural concept in a normal society, but completely inappropriate to the one we live in. Do not bother is associated with not knowing what you want, with the lack of determination, becoming exactly the token with which you lose the game.
Poto: Oltin Dogaru
After the word „game” the phone rings. She apologizes and answers: Yes?, she says, focused. […] She ends the conversation and say:
– I learned difficulty that when your partner calls you, you have to answer. It was hard to assimilate this gesture, because work has always been my priority. If I had a call, I would call back only when I finished my work.
– And when did that change?
– It came “imposed”: “When I call you, please answer!” And I said, “Ok!”. She laughs and explains: Yes, on the principle: If I answer you regardless of the importance of the people I am with or regardless the actions at the time of the call, and I ask if it is urgent or not, I expect you to do the same. Fair enough.
MS: How have been and how are the men in your life?
Emotional unavailable. That’s what I chose; by mistake … (she laughs).
Sure, instinctively, you think that a woman with the education I received and the course I followed would find men as strong as possible, financially powerful or with notable voices, but it is not at all. It has been given to me to have weaker but also stronger men, determined and willing to evolve personally and professionally. Every story came at the right time. I would not be the person I am today without those relations, which is why I respect every chapter of my life and the people who were part of it. Thus, we remain in good relations. I looked to the future, went further and had the opportunity to meet different types of people, with perceptions, visions or experiences different from mine or those lived until then. It is a personal evolution that I would not change for nothing.
I think that in couple life we choose people who attract us, who we like, with whom we have a connection, which we fall in love with, with whom we go through certain experiences, until we no longer repeat the previous mistakes. It’s like an attraction to the journeys you are meant to live, each with its own purpose, each of them allowing you to be closer to a more sophisticated and more perfect version of yours.
MS: But, through your present partnership, what are you trying to build?
I don’t get in relationships with goals. I mean, I do not act as follow: I see a man, I evaluate him, and if he pass the quality check, I’m planning a marriage, a baby, a house and a puppy. If I think now, I realize that I’ve never gone after a man, but especially, I have not searched. I’m pretty fatalist and I think what’s going to happen to us, it happens to us anyway. That’s how I managed to get through all: fights, losses, winnings, success, oblivion. I took them the way they came, because I thought it should happen.
Also, if he doesn’t make the first step, all is in vain. I’ve known my partner for about 12 years, but we’ve consented (she laugh) just about five years ago. We try to build a harmonious, mature love, a beautiful life together. It’s not easy, because we have strong, complex personalities, but it is a relationship that has brought me a lot of personal fulfillment, personal development, opened me to people, helped me not to label everything in the first place, to be more patient. In this relationship I think I have learned, more than all, what couple life means, and that’s why I thank him.
MS: What did you think was important in a relationship when you were a child – to the people around you and is not at all?
I now remember the years of kindergarten and how the other children were brought in front of the building by their fathers. I did not have a father to do that, and I felt incomplete. I realized late that there was a lack of social aspects achievements, and not necessarily one of the paternal element. In the same register I saw happy families with mother, father and child.
When I grew up, I realized there was no perfect couple. Even today, I do not know one, no matter how much they strive to present an idealistic picture to the world.
So, that was the pain of my maturity: to discover that love seen with the child’s eyes has nothing in common with reality. Sad.
Poto: Oltin Dogaru
MS: You have created a business development platform for young entrepreneurs – Business Institute for Creative Industries (BICI), where the first module speaks about Business of Fashion. What does BICI mean to you and what attitude do you want people to leave the courses, the future entrepreneurs of fashion industry?
It’s a project I’ve been thinking about for about 4 years. I have found that I am inclined to education and that there is a need for this on the market. Young people in creative industries lack pragmatic notions, business, production, sales, financial, communication, brand construction. The universities focus on creativity, but only with talent you cannot build a healthy and lasting business. So every BICI course will have a practitioner specialized in his field, who has realistic arguments to guide them. My hope is that these courses will structure and sediment their knowledge, motivate them and be a support also in the future.
MS: I think there are people who misinterpret you and the BICI acronym is likely to fuel their opinion.
I have chosen this acronym intentionally. In business, if you’re not a little bit [bi:ci], it’s hard to succeed. Of course, I also have a reputation as a tough business woman (she laughs) at least until they get to know me and then they marvel: “Oh, Mirela, but you’re a sweetheart!”