Lockdown Economy Albania in an Online Clothing Store with Sanja Mulla

The interview was transcribed by Siola Cevani

Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world. This interview was done in collaboration with Epoka University.

In this interview, we meet Sanja Mulla, the owner of Angel’s Store, online clothing business in Tirana. Due to the fact that Sanja’s online store does not include much physical interaction, there were not many challenges because everything was operated online. On the other hand, since she started her business during the lockdown, she was facing some difficulties getting the word out because her company was new to the market and not familiar to customers.

Watch the video version of the interview.

So what do you do as a business?

Sanja: My business is a small one and its aim to sell clothes for young women and all types of female body. We are very much focused on building our brand to accomplish the needs of every female to feel like an angel.

That’s very beautiful. How long have you been doing it?

Sanja: The idea of opening my own business has been going on for some years now but I decided to implement it during the lockdown that happened last year in March, since I had a lot of free time and I was feeling productive I decided to make it happen.

That’s great! I know you live in Tirana; your business is also based in Tirana I believe.

Sanja: Yes, it is true; my business is based in Tirana. We are an online-based business, which means there is no physical interaction, but on the other hand, we can operate in more places that one, so not only here in Tirana, but also in other cities here in Albania.

Thank you for your answer. I understood that you are online based, so I believe you do not have a lot of employees, right?

Sanja: It’s true. Since we are online-based we don’t need a lot of employees but to be clear with you, I have 2 employees, the first one is the marketing director and one delivery guy.

Okay, so you are a small business as you said. How many clients do you normally or usually have?

Sanja: I think it depends on the demand but probably 40- 50 clients per week.

This is great! As a small business, you are you do have a lot of customers and clients.

Sanja: Yeah, lucky me.

Okay, so we understood a lit bit more about your business, I believe now it is time to continue to lockdown strategy because it is more important to us right now and to this situation. The first question I wanted to ask you is this: What did you do on the business front during the lockdown and what have you done to stimulate the business and attract customers?

Sanja: Thank you for your question. It is very interesting. Considering that the lockdown has been very hard in general, but mostly on our customers. We decided to help them in three different ways.

The first one is about promotions. Promotions work like this: we pay a small fee so that our Instagram page will have a huge extension, not only among our loyal followers and customers but also among other potential customers that we could have.

The second one is about giveaways. I think you know how it works, so let me tell you more about it. We organize some different games, where everyone can participate and at the end of the game, a winner will be chosen. I suggest you take part in it.

Yeah! I will for sure.

Sanja: That would be great. Let’s proceed with the last one, but not the least. Given that the economy during lockdown has been very low, we offer day to day sales to help our customers to manage their needs.

Okay, so if I got it right they were: promotions, giveaways and sales.

Sanja: Yes, you are absolutely right.

Among these options can you tell me what worked and what didn’t?

Sanja: In fact, all 3 of them were productive and I believe we managed the situation pretty well. Even though at the beginning we face some difficulties because we were new to the market and we were not familiar with customers, but now we do have our regular clients and we are very happy about it.

That’s great! So, I believe your business is going good right now, as I understood.

Sanja: To be sincere with you, like every other business we also have our ups and downs but I believe that if we take it, in the long run, we can clearly see continuous growth.

Another important point I wanted to lend on, was about your customers because I believe your customers are the most important part of your business. So do you know how your customers are doing right now? Are they pleased or not with you and your business.

Sanja: Well, let me explain to you. In fact, during lockdown itself, people had more free time to navigate into social media, Instagram, Facebook. We had a lot of interaction, which was very encouraging for us. People were asking us questions, they were appreciating the product, the clothes that we sell, the work we are doing. For us, it is important to get feedback from our customers and those were mainly positive and we are grateful for it.

Absolutely feedback is very important. To continue with the next question: What is the outlook for the coming months? What do you expect to happen?

Sanja: We strongly believe that we left behind the dark days, and in the upcoming months we will present the new collection which we think is going to attract our customers’ interest and hopefully we will increase our profit. Let’s say this is our main goal.

I understand. That’s great to hear. Before you mentioned something about difficulties and I want to ask you: what are three things you need help with or you think you may improve in your business?

Sanja: The first thing that comes to my mind, while you are asking me this question is the delivery process. Fortunately, the demand has been increased, but on the other hand, we are facing some difficulties to deliver everything to everyone in time. We are handling it and let’s hope this won’t be a problem in the near future.

Yeah, I believe that the delivery process was a little bit more difficult because of the lockdown, and maybe it was affected more. I wanted to ask you how you rearranged these operations to adapt to the lockdown challenges and manage their efficiency.

Sanja: As I mentioned before, online businesses all around the country were not affected a lot in this difficult situation. In my case, I didn’t face a lot of challenges during this pandemic and now I am addressing everyone who has a dream like mine, which mean that even in dark days for everyone who is willing to work and to chase their dream everything is possible, so go for it. Chase your dream! Make it happen!

About the Guest

Sanja Mulla is a very passionate young woman, eager to accomplish as much as possible in business life. She is a very hardworking girl with an outstanding vision for the future. Sanja is a team player, motivator and always opens to new ideas and initiatives.

Angel’s Store Tirana is an online shop for women, where you can find any suitable clothing you will need for all ages and all beautiful curves. As a new brand, their only priority is to satisfy the clients.

Courtesy of Angel’s Store Tirana

The UN-registered nonprofit social initiative that helps small businesses and self-employed professionals to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.