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Our story

Agnieszka Marecka Founder & CEO of HANDIEU

The idea

It was beginning November 2019. I was a full-time-mom of a 3 months old baby girl. I had been already unemployed for one year and I didn’t see many chances to be able to get back on the market (you can imagine how many people with a one year break in their CV are actually invited even for an interview ๐Ÿ™‚ ). So instead, I was looking for some options to start a business. I was preparing everything to open a business with baby products till that one day…

Everything started when I was searching for unique presents for my family for Christmas. We live in those times that everyone has everything and even if you don’t, you just go and buy what you need – you don’t wait till Christmas to get some long-awaited present anymore. And this way I found Etsy and got really excited about the idea. Without checking too much, first thing I did, was to send it to my friend who has just opened her company with handmade pottery. I thought it was a perfect solution to grow her business. But apparently she was not really interested in it…

It made me thinking. I checked it through and I realized why. There were so many products that I have got lost myself, as a potential buyer. Then I understood that as a seller she would probably need to cut her prices a lot or invest in advertising to be visible and make actual sales.

So I started to look for similar marketplaces but from Europe. And there was no such a thing. Couple of local (national) marketplaces but nothing truly European. I realized it was a great idea – to support our European market and become independant from global leaders.

The idea was just the first step. What is truly important is the whole preparation precess and the consistent concept.

Preparation

In the beginning I had to figure out how to make it work. Fortunately, I graduated Business School and had already couple of years experience in marketing. Few months earlier I also studied a bit of programming so I understood what kind of knowledge there is needed. I made maps of thoughts to figure out my strategy. I have spend actually 9 months on it so this project is really like my second baby. And I have got to the point where I had a clear vision of my company…

But then there was another test for me. Coronavirus and the lockdown changed a lot for me and my plan. I had some doubts if it is a right moment to start a company. On top of that, I was investing my family’s own savings. I felt even more pressure and I wasn’t sure if it will succeed…

I started to read more about current economics and analysing the situation. Still thinking about giving up on the project. And one day, I saw a new post on a Facebook group written by one of the handcrafters. I will not copy it here so you don’t identify the person, but the meaning was the same: “Hey everyone, I am just posting these couple of things I have made and I hope someone will buy it! I have just lost my job and I am trying to make my living with it. I will be grateful for your support!”

It was a break point in my thinking. I realized that handcrafters need this platform to get to more customers. But there is so much more behind the concept that with your help we can develop soon!

The concept

Customers buy products from European handcrafters, after they are able to support economics by buying in local shops, going to local restaurans, hairdressers or go for vacation. All of those industries get more sales and can hire again! On top of that with development of my company, I will be able to hire people from all EU countries and get suppliers for other services. And who knows, maybe also the handcrafters will grow enough to hire others – you can imagine that with your two hands you have some production limits ๐Ÿ™‚ Basicaly European market may revive faster!

Are you excited already? Isn’t it a nice thought to support our European economics? Yes, I think it is ๐Ÿ™‚ But it was not the end of the social value impact that I have in mind…

Maybe you know, maybe not, but handcrafts are quite specific industry. All of the handcrafters share passion to arts and design and they create unique products, that is for sure. But each person has a different story. Many of them are quite touching, as the one above… I understood that many times this is a way for them to make a fair living. Not always independant (hopefully with HANDIEU it will be possible), but at least better.

Having a business for money would never give me satisfaction. That is why I decided to go for something that will change more lives.

Let me tell you this way: Handcrafts are a possibility for an income for those social groups that struggle the most on the jobs market, like:

  • full-time-mothers
  • single parents
  • people with disabilities
  • elderly people
  • young artists
  • people from small villages and towns

As a matter of fact, my mom used to make pullovers when we were little children. That was her only source of income. She did it to take care of us. Now, as a mother myself I understand her decision. Time flies and you don’t want to miss the moment. You want to enjoy as much as possible that one life you have. You don’t want to spend 3 hours a day in a traffic jam. You prefer to share it with your family and friends, no? That is also why one of the core values of HANDIEU is life balance. I believe, we all deserve it. And I see that with the lockdown more people and companies realize it too and this is a very good sign for us all ๐Ÿ™‚

Becoming HANDIEU…

From the moment I realized how much good I can bring with this project to other people, I have got like a huge boost of energy! I went through all the formalities to create a company in Luxembourg (yes, I am Polish, who lives in Belgium but opens a comany in Luxembourg – meaning I am European ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and really pushed website development that I have made myself.

In Luxembourg, I met people who found my idea interesting and were supporting me even though they didn’t really know me back then. That was an amazing feeling to see more people interested in what I want to do! You can imagine me, a full-time-mother, who finally gets out of the house and diapers and comes to people with “an idea” ๐Ÿ™‚ I was really scared how people will react! But they were great! And they gave me a lot of strenght to do it and not to give up. I have experienced so much positive energy that I definately want to give it back to the world!

And we will see how the project develops but I truly believe that there are more people that want to revive our economics and support people who actually want to work!

If you have got to that point, thank you very much for your attention! I hope you enjoyed this article and also feel how much good you can make without even trying too much!

Have a nice time on HANDIEU!

Agnieszka Marecka,

Founder & CEO of HANDIEU

Watch our project’s economic impact!

Watch our project’s social impact!