Alina Pischalnikova: Starting Afresh in a Pandemic

Youth Time Magazine received the opportunity to interview Alina Pischalnikova and learn about her new start-up which was created during the current pandemic.

A Little About Alina

Alina is a high-level specialist in organising corporate events and hands-on management with experience in the Netherlands and Russia, ex-recruiter and strongly committed leader in volunteering events.

Alina Pischalnikova
Alina Pischalnikova

Born in Siberia, Alina was ready for challenges since her first breath of cold winter air on February 19th. In 2005, she became the finalist of Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX).

This programme was funded by the U.S. Department of State to cultivate relationships between America and citizens of the former Soviet Union.

After the year in the US ended, her goals unconsciously changed for the better. By studying International Relations in Tomsk State University, Russia, she gained the complex vision of the modern world system, its laws and mechanisms.

As for her latest career places, she worked as a Recruitment Specialist in PricewaterhouseCoopers and Assistant to the Regional HR Director in Robert Bosch Company in Moscow, Russia.

That experience helped her to understand the Russian market and the company’s needs. During her university years she was actively involved in AIESEC, SIFE and other non-profit organisations where she helped with implementations of social projects.

In June 2014 she moved to a beautiful country – the Netherlands. By learning fluent Dutch, she could easily integrate into the society and found a job in event management and gained five years of experience in American companies. Right now, she is on the way to become a professional stylist and opened her business in this field. Eager to share her knowledge about the Dutch market as well as tips and tricks for the future entrepreneurs.


Starting Up

Choosing outfit from large wardrobe
Choosing outfit from large wardrobe

Could you describe your new start-up and how it began?

Similarly to many in this current climate, I sadly lost my job as Event Manager at American Express in the Netherlands as my expiring contract was not prolonged due to the reduced business because of the pandemic.

So, instead of trying to franticly search for a new job somewhere else, I decided to pursue a new path; to be a professional stylist and to help women dress and to be themselves.

Within this I would also look to implement my past experiences in HR and events and organise photo shoots in different styling methods. I have already begun and currently work as an online stylist with a famous Instagram blogger, where I help women dress and see themselves as new people.

I am also studying further in the field and will graduate early next year.

Why did you choose to start now in the current time considering the global issues going on?

As I mentioned, due to the pandemic I lost my job, but this is not the main reason. For the last few years, I was thinking about opening my own business.

Both my parents are entrepreneurs, so I always had that influence, but I could not find what would give me that passion and excitement to wake up for every day.

This summer I noticed that during quarantine, where we had to stay at home and a lot of people worked from home, there was a problem to be solved: people (especially women) didn’t feel themselves; they didn’t feel pretty anymore.

They needed help to choose proper clothes for the home environment to give them that confidence and feeling of beauty. This feeling usually came from dressing up for work or going out.

Personally, I had the same issue. I had a look at all the clothes in my wardrobe and decided to change it completely. I see the need in having a stylist. People are not satisfied any more in just buying things. It has to be eco-friendly, sustainable and not harming anyone, plus they want personal attention and care to make sure they are buying the right products and ones that suit what they are going for.


Economic Factors

Tips on where to begin, things to consider, do you need a lot of money? 

In fashion it is not just about clothes. Style for me is showing the world who you truly are through the way you dress. It is about the first impressions. Want it or not, but people do judge by the first look. Where to begin?

First, find good schools that provide proper knowledge in topics such as; history of fashion, style, types of clothing, psychology.

This profession requires theory knowledge, but also practice, and to be seen. Make your Instagram page, website or YouTube. Start to publish what you study. Find the team to collaborate with! You do not need a lot of money.

Describe any struggles you have faced and overcome to launch?

My main struggle was to build my own confidence. I lost my job and of course it was not because of me being an unsuitable specialist, it was due to the crisis. But still, it is hard to take and it damages self-confidence.

So, my main struggle was to believe in myself. Luckily, I had a proper coach; my family, friends and a lot of Instagram supporters in order to overcome this struggle.


Building A Brand

Brand building
Brand building

How do you build trust with your brand, as you wouldn’t have the same advertising power, nor the same volume of data at your disposal in comparison to the large corporations?

Being personal, targeting the right audience, offering the best service you can provide and being honest about yourself and towards others. Nothing to hide!

Do you believe to make a great future more people should and will be turning to creating start-ups, or at least looking for opportunities to work in existing start-ups? 

Start-ups give more freedom for sure. I have been working my whole life in corporate companies, such as PwC, Bosch, AMEX, Applied Medical.  This experience brought me a lot of knowledge of people, processes and innovation. But it did not bring me enough value, I was lacking being more creative and doing ‘my own thing’, so to say.

How do you see the future, and why is your start-up likely to be sustainable?

It is hard to predict the future, especially now. But I hope that by next year my business is up and running even more so, I have stable clients and good connections with magazines, showrooms and photographers. I would really love to conduct a few photo shoots.

As long as I keep my focus, the people around me, and the connections and team I have already got, then I can’t see how things will fail.

If you want to get in contact with Alina and see more from her then follow her Instagram pages via the links:

Life in the Netherlands:

Fashion Stylist:

Photos: From the Archive of Alina Pischalnikova; Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney

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