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Member Highlight - Christina Gubska, CEO of Archer Adams London

Hello! My name is Christina Gubska and this is my first journey as an entrepreneur. I am fresh out of college and currently the owner of Archer Adams London (IG @archeradams) which is an e-commerce luxury umbrella brand. The unique thing about these umbrellas is that they have silver plated handles in different shapes such as animal heads (lion, eagle, horse etc.) or objects such as a tennis ball, knuckleduster or a skull covered in Swarovski crystals. One of the achievements is that Archer Adams got some great press coverage from luxury magazines such as GQ, Robb Report, Luxury to name a few. I was also delighted to see The Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards with the skull umbrella! 

Tell us and our lovely readers what is it that you do?

Currently, it is just me myself and I on the team, so I get to wear many hats which is amazing! Every day I do something different. For example, at the very start I had to learn how to build a website from scratch. Then I had to learn how to use the business side of social media such as Facebook and Instagram ads, understand their analytics, and learn about SEO. Recently I learnt how to write a proper press kit and pitch it to journalists. At the moment it is all about sales and understanding my target market and I am doing a lot of networking and talking to influencers. 

What is your story? How did you end up here?

That is a great question, looking back a few years ago I would have never believed where I ended up today! My Bachelor’s degree is in International Hospitality Management. When I was in London for my first internship, I made a few friends. One of them was Archer Adams. He had a store in London - where he sold men’s velvet jackets, pocket ties, umbrellas and more. On my birthday, he gifted me one of his umbrellas – a silver plated Eagle Umbrella! It was such a unique gift and it fit with my personality as I am a bird lady! I remember loving it so much, it really stood out from the crowd. In 2018, Archer Adams closed his brick and mortar store as he retired and decided to live his best life in Spain. 

Now in 2020, I completed my second internship in a five star hotel as a Sales & Marketing intern in Dublin where I secured a job. However, the pandemic broke out and unfortunately, the hotel closed down and I had no idea what to do next. Two weeks later after my lay off, an idea came to my head: I wanted to buy Archer Adams store and re-brand it as an e-commerce shop that solely sells umbrellas! However, being a student I did not have the capital to invest in the business. So I went online to find an investor.

I found a promising investment platform and pitched my idea there! A week later, one of the angel investors loved the idea as he already had a lot of experience with online luxury e-commerce shops – so it was meant to be! We bought the store and my project began. He is now not only my investor but my mentor. I honestly couldn’t be happier.

Do you have a “WHY” for why you do what you do?

About 90% of my family members are entrepreneurs. I grew up seeing how convenient it can be to be your own boss. They always had a flexible schedule and were able to give me the attention I needed because they could always work from home. I remember waking up so early to get a bus in the rain to get to work by 6:45 am and secretly envying my parents who were able to work from home and not be stuck in traffic and take their time having breakfast. I love the idea of freedom to be creative and make decisions such as design of the logo, colours of the website, scheduling my day the way I want it. I love aesthetics, fashion, good quality statement pieces that are also practical! Archer Adams gave me this opportunity to show my creative side. It brings me joy to enhance someone’s day with my umbrellas just the way Archer Adams did for my birthday when I was in London.

What are your plans for the future?

Coming from the hospitality industry and working in luxury 5 star hotels, I understand the importance of excellent customer service and client interaction. Interacting online is different than interacting face to face, it is more challenging to distinguish a luxury e-commerce brand with solely online presence. Therefore, I believe it is just as important to develop the customer journey which is flawless, special and that has a personal touch. My plan would be to really work on that and understand what features can be implemented to get distinguished and give the premium shopping experience to my customers. 

Another plan for the future would be to understand the concept on how e-commerce business works and help other women to start their own thing. I would love to give aspiring entrepreneurs tips on how to fast track to their success and avoid the mistakes I have made! I would absolutely love to be someone’s mentor one day. 

What is the best about being who you are?

Positivity and resilience. I always look at the positive side and try to make the best out of every situation. I believe every situation in life can be made into a positive one and take it as a learning curve. I listen a lot to Alan Watts – who was a British philosopher during the 1950s. He always talks about life being a dance and that you should enjoy it and be grateful for all the experiences, so my resilience comes from gratefulness. Covid-19 was a perfect example of my resilience and being able to find the strength to accept the global change and adapt. 

What does your day look like? 

I always loved routine and tried many different types to see what works best for me. It does differ seasonally. But my day is always based on three pillars: Mind, Body & Spirit.  Work wise, I do something different every day as I work alone without a team. Currently my day looks like this: 

I wake up at around 6.30am and always make my bed immediately as it helps to avoid snoozing. I do a 10 minute meditation, drink my coffee, fill out the ‘Five Minute Journal’ where I state the top 3 things I am grateful for (Spirit). Then I go for my 5km run and do my workout while listening to podcasts or a Ted Talk (Body). I then get dressed and take my time eating breakfast. From the night before I already have my top 3 non-negotiable tasks and appointments for the day – so I know exactly what I must accomplish for the day! (Mind) For the evening I write my to do list for the next day, have my socializing / networking time and then read a book. At night, I place my phone in a different room so I avoid distractions. I go to bed around 10 – 11pm. 

What business-related tips and advice do you have for our readers?

Don’t worry about making mistakes, they are part of learning. Talk more about your business idea to people and start networking. Entrepreneurship journeys can be very lonely when you are starting out by yourself, so networking is a great way to get inspired, get new ideas and get feedback. 

Get a mentor if you can! Get someone who has done it and knows what works well, it will really help you to concentrate on important things and not get carried away with the details. A lot of women are perfectionists (myself included) and really waste time focusing on the small things that are not result oriented – don’t forget to have a helicopter overview. I am a huge fan of planning but it’s important to start executing your plans.

For those who tend to procrastinate - have a productivity sheet to focus on one task at a time so you don’t jump around from task to task and end up feeling overwhelmed and not fully finishing the tasks. I write down at what time I started the task, the task name and what time I finished it. This will allow you to reflect on how long it took to do the task and learn to become efficient.  

What mindset advice do you have for our readers? 

I built my mindset on my own three pillars: Persistence, Politeness and Patience. Having your own business has many ups and downs so persistence is the key here. You must get up and do it anyway, even when it gets hard. Then comes the patience. Your hard work will always pay off, it just might take some time before the results come in but any effort will never be a waste. So never give up.

Lastly, I have politeness because as a business owner you will be dealing with A LOT of stakeholders. It is so important to keep your cool and be polite. I came across a lot of rude customers during my internships or bosses that have been worse than Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada. I could have easily snapped back at them, got defensive and got down to their level. However – people will always remember how you made them feel, and being polite will get you further than being rude back. 

You also joined one of our courses - which one? Why did you join it, and did it end up being helpful in any way? 

I joined the 12 weeks Empire Building Masterclass because I absolutely loved the GBE community. There is something special about women helping each other and building their empires! The course is brilliant, I saw how much it helped others. You can really see how much effort went into it. It is so genuine and really does have lessons that were developed by women who went through the entrepreneurship journey and are helping us to achieve our goals.  I got so much more confidence after completing it. 

We are sure our readers would love to check out your website and your social media. Maybe you even have some special offers that our readers can grab!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog! If you have any questions or want to reach out I am more than happy to help you out and answer any questions you might have ☺ My Instagram is @archeradams 

If you want to take a look at the umbrellas the website is www.archeradams.com

I have created a special Promo Code just for our GBE community with a 20% discount that will be valid until 7th of December: GBE2020  I definitely feel like a boss having my eagle umbrella with me for the business meetings haha.  Good luck with your entrepreneurship journey and remember to have fun while doing it!

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