Roberta is an organic and sustainable fashion boutique for women, men and children located in the heart of Düsseldorf and its owner, Daniela, runs it like an art gallery: she finds local labels from highly talented designers and gives them the opportunity to showcase their work in a get together in her shop, before the designer´s collection is available in her boutique.
Daniela´s mission is clear: she wants to make the world a bit better by offering in her shop fair fashion from organic fabrics and send like this a message about sustainability and self-awareness for our world and our actions. She is a strong advocate of the #whomademyclothes movement and she gives us a reminder that organic fashion is also fun and fashionable. After all, who said green could not be chic?
Name: Daniela Perak
Place of origin: Pforzheim – Southern Germany
Place current residence: Düsseldorf, Germany
Occupation: Shop owner
Background: I studied art history and worked in the art business / gallery for more than 10 years. I loved it, but after quite some time I got fed up with the always same talks at openings, people that are just showing off their wealth without any responsibility for others. I was looking for something that had more content. With a real impact on society and people.
What are strong work ethics for you?
To only do what you really love, because only then, you are the best.
Did you always wanted to be where you currently are?
I was always able to imagine myself as self-employed and running my own business. At the beginning of my working life I saw myself as the owner of a gallery or as an auctioneer, as I studied art history. But I´m so happy to run my own organic fashion boutique / Green Concept store now
You are a very strong advocate of fair fashion and organic materials. This way of thinking is slowly becoming stronger but it still needs a lot to happen before it becomes the norm in the fashion industry. What do you think it needs to happen to make this thinking more mainstream?
I think we are on a very good way, as (bad) news about pollution / ocean plastic / bees dying etc are constantly in the news and thus the people are becoming more and more aware that something´s wrong with the way we behave. A lot of progresses have been made in the last year only (acceptance of multi use bamboo cups in to go Coffee Shops / no more plastic bags in supermarkets). For fashion is still a long way to go as I feel the major players of the industry don´t want to move far enough e.g. to ban synthetics or even to ensure fair working conditions, probably because they fear to lose too much margin. I think it would only need one company to switch to all natural fabrics to set the pace for all.
And I think the professional formation of young designers must teach more of the ways of sustainable design at the schools and universities right from the start
What do you think has been the most important thing you have accomplished so far?
Be brave enough to take the step into setting up my own business and leaving a well paid job as an manager.
What do you think it will be the most important thing you will accomplish in the future?
To keep a proper work life balance while opening another shop.
Which has been the most recurrent stereotype you have had to deal with as an entrepreneur?
There´s not a stereotype about me being an entrepreneur, but the people keep asking: Is it working? How´s business? Probably out of empathy because they want to show their supperort in some way. But it feels weird and intrusive to be asked this question by complete strangers. If you are a banker or an apothecary or if you opened a restaurant noone will ever ask you this I guess.
You used to work in a usual 9-5 job, what drove you to make yourself independent?
I was abolished and used my funds to open roberta 😊 But that was just the final kick off to make my imagination reality. I always felt a strong urge to move things forward and to get people together for an idea. I was never afraid to try new things, so here I am now.
You are also a strong advocate about female empowerment, why do you think it is about time everyone talks about it?
When I was employed, I soon noticed that I earned less then my male colleagues and I got promoted slower even though I was more suitable for the position. This is really happening and still women are not fighting enough for their rights in business. But probably for women money is not their main motivator. However that´s not a reason to pay the less! But we have to support each other much more to get our rights, no matter if it´s in your neighborhood or in other parts oft he world. For example, most of the people that work in the garment factories all over the world are women. And most are not even paid minimum wages nor given proper working conditions. The least we can do is to care about them and think twice before shopping the 34th T-Shirt from a Fast Fashion Company.
How does a perfect day look like to you?
My day starts with a quick breakfast at home and then I´m off to the store. Truly, I sometimes still think by myself „OMG, I have a shop!“ when I´m walking to work. The day becomes perfect when nice people are dropping by and we have a good and inspiring talk.
You can learn more about Daniela and her shop Roberta by checking her website roberta-thestore.com or following her in instagram and facebook.