Ioanna Olărescu, General Manager of Frarom International Est: As a woman, business objectives must merge with those of family and passion.

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Ioanna Olărescu, General Manager of Frarom International Est
Ioanna Olărescu, General Manager of Frarom International Est

We are constantly looking for role models and success stories. With today’s interview, we reach a new point and discover an ideal vision transformed into reality. How many of us did not want to do a business out of passion and succeed in co-opting several generations of the family. Her name is Ioanna Olărescu, she is a wife, a mother and a company manager. She likes to discover new things, loves music and travel, she likes what she is doing and does everything with passion and involvement. Thank you for being kind enough to answer a few questions.

C&B: Describe or define your activity!

Ioanna Olărescu: We are the ones who come forward with beautiful and useful accessories in your life – at home or at the company. Basically, we are distributors of items and accessories, especially for our customers, which are found in three main categories: Key Accounts (buyers of large chain stores, Carrefour, Auchan, Cora, Real, Leroy Merlin, etc.). HoReCa (buyers for restaurants, hotels, canteens and offices), partners and clients of our online stores: diqis.ro and brabantia.com.ro.

C&B: What does the story of your career or business sound like?

Ioanna Olărescu: The story of my career and that of Frarom International Est begin during my student days at the University. I chose the evening study option because it allowed me to work during the day in all six years of college. I earned a TEMPUS scholarship (the equivalent of today’s Erasmus) – a partnership between the University of Economic Sciences of Iasi and the University of Lille, a combined program of courses and practice. I had classes in Iasi for six months, classes in Lille for six months, then an internship in Paris for six months (at Frarom company). At the end of the program, on February 17, 1994, the company Frarom International Est, based in Iasi, was listed at the Trade Register.

C&B: Speaking of numbers, how would you present yourself strictly based on them?

Ioanna Olărescu: Interesting challenge. The numbers look something like this: 28 years of Frarom, 34 years of happy marriage, 2 wonderful children (Adara and Dorian), a team of about 10 extraordinary people, involved and efficient, external and internal partners (out of respect, I won’t use numbers in their case) with which we have been collaborating for over 10 years, deliveries in over 300 stores, 2 sites (online stores: diqis.ro and brabantia.com.ro) with fast delivery throughout the country.

C&B: You also included the family in the answers. Is this a family business?

Ioanna Olărescu: Yes, Frarom International Est is a family business. Gheorghe, my life partner is also in the company. I am also glad that my sister, Cristina Soficu, has been with me as the chief economist since its inception. We already have the second generation involved in the company, through our daughter, Adara, lawyer. And there is the team, an important part of the Frarom family.

C&B: What were your career, family and business goals when you chose to open Frarom International Est?

Ioanna Olărescu: As a woman, business objectives must merge with those related to my family and with those related to my passions. I’ll start with passion, because we should develop / implement activities and businesses based on our passions, otherwise we become apathic and can’t really enjoy ourselves, even if we succeed in the business. My passion, my great passion, is related to the Home Deco area. I enjoy any find in this field. Time allowing, I travel and aim to discover more and more solutions. This field is extremely fulfilling, because it is based on skill, creativity and pathos.

Now, speaking of family, I don’t have to say what an essential role a woman has and how important it is not to compromise the ideal vision. I was lucky to be fully supported by my family. Honestly, this, the fact that I work closely with my loved ones, makes me happy and gives me the energy we all need.

Regarding the business, we are where we wanted to be and we grow as much as it is needed. Most importantly, we enjoy the trust and the support of our customers and partners – we are definitely on the right track.

To draw a conclusion, I wanted a business based on passion, a beautiful family and a company in which that family is involved, so that everything takes place in a healthy environment, accepted by everyone. I am grateful every day for all this.

C&B: What were your childhood / adolescent visions and what are they now?

Ioanna Olărescu: I have always liked work. I saw myself as an active person, surrounded and appreciated by good people and dear persons. I could not have identified exactly the field that would bring me fulfillment, between us, no one could define the field in which I will work, but I could see very clearly the way ahead and the actions needed to get there. My biggest wish was to do something that would make my soul happy and that’s exactly what I do – every day I add a lot of patience, passion and flexibility in order to resist and to continue what I created with my Frarom family and team in the 28 years.

C&B: How did the Pandemic Crisis influence your activity and what conclusions did you draw?

Ioanna Olărescu: The pandemic affected our partners a lot and therefore us too, so we had to reinvent ourselves, to find solutions to stay present on the retail market.

The online presence, both through our stores and through our partners, helped us to deliver our products when everything was closed. The fact that we are planning strategically, thinking about tomorrow, has allowed us to be one step ahead of the times and to continue our activity. We never stop, even right now, we are looking for partners in the retail field, businesses with stores in the area of ​​home accessories and Home Deco, partners that we could help as wholesalers, through a wide variety of products and with fast delivered stocks.

Of course, we also had losses – we lost colleagues who feared the future in a small business, we lost turnover, we lost profit, but this welded us, made us ambitious, and the team that remained is extraordinary and I don’t have enough words to thank them.

If I were to draw a conclusion here, after these difficult years, the message would be: be flexible, be ready when opportunity arises, be careful, be consistent, be fair and, above all, be HUMAN!

C&B: What advice / tips do you have for those who are just starting out or are undecided?

Ioanna Olărescu: To start from an idea, a visualized and assumed goal, not from the desire to make money, the material fulfillment follows naturally if the goal is achieved with passion and a lot of involvement.

To enter the new business with courage, to be patient with them and those around them, to always be on the lookout for novelties and to be surrounded by quality people.

C&B: Please provide your own definition for Romanian society, business and careers!

Ioanna Olărescu: Without accusing anyone, I would say that our society is divided, that the legislation is unstable and insecure, frankly this gives businesses the opportunity to be creative, but with an enormous consumption of energy, time and money, especially considering that education and the career are done at work and not at school, as it would be fair!

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