Years ago I was exploring the stunning Italian region Liguria. Convinced by my ignorance I used to think of Liguria as: Cinque Terre & Genova, second category soccer teams, San Remo and Genovese Pesto. I was wrong! Liguria won my heart and gave me lots of emotions and friendships; friendships that I kept alive during several years.
I left my town Pontedera, Tuscany on a Saturday afternoon and I followed the navigator along the west coast going North. After almost 1 hour of driving I was sick of a boring radio and I decided to leave the highway and stop in a small town called Sarzana (tra Carrara e La Spezia). That destination became, later in my life, one of my favorite towns for two reasons: the first, because it gave me two of my wedding’s grooms men. Second, because Sarzana is a place full of curiosities.
What makes Sarzana a city full of Curiosities?
- Sarzana became a Piccolo Borgo Fortificato in late 963 BC, thanks to a paper signed by the emperor Ottone I
- The Bonaparte’s family was exiled there
- Sarzana is surrounded by small little Borghi that I call Unique Places
- They have an annual Antique Trade Fair
I will always be sure about something…
Everything happens for a reason. In fact, the destiny wanted me to leave the highway and drive into Sarzana for this Antique Trade Fair (I’m kidding; the true reason is because I was dragged by a woman).
After the initial steps on this town’s roads, something was happening with me. I felt internal warmth and I suddenly became happy. Sarzana was winning my heart and I was falling in love with it. Let’s say the truth, it is really easy to become “prey” of its’ charm.
The city was full of stands with plenty of pretty vintage stuff.
Out of the historical center I reached a shady square, full of other types of stands. Car batteries illuminated the single tents and everybody was selling something interesting.
That day I discovered an interesting side of Italy. I found out about a really original and revolutionary idea:
That square was hosting the flea market of those who have a hobby. The flea market of those who are sick and tired of waiting for the politics to create new jobs.
That square, on that weekend, was hosting the Hobby Flea Market.
Remember I said that everything happens for a reason? Well, that night I stopped at a stand where I met the one who became my best friend: Sabrina. Owner of Black Owl Project, she was crafty in hand-making her jewelry.
After five minutes of interesting conversation about her hobby, she decided to take a break and invited us to go have a coffee (in Italy, if somebody invites you for a coffee, more than sure, you will become friends).
At that bar I started to become more curious about her hobby and I asked if she would tell me more. I needed to find out what it means for a young woman to find a solution in a country where the young population were struggling to find employment:
How did you start having this hobby?
“I love buying jewelry but most of the time it is tough to buy it because of the high prices. The fact that I always looked at the jewelry with a judging thought, most of the times didn’t allow me to buy it.”
Where did you learn to create those things (TV, Internet, Magazines, Friends…)?
“I tried multiple techniques that allowed me to improve my creativity. Most of my skills were created through video tutorials and magazines.”
What inspired you to create all this jewelry? The idea of making money or for personal reasons?
“The reason I started to create all these jewels is due to Christmas time: I needed to buy the presents for my girlfriends but my economic factor didn’t allow me. So I started to buy the tools and I created my first things.”
Who supported you during this tough adventure?
“My parents weren’t too excited about my hobby but they always gave me a hand. I would definitely say that all my family supports me now.”
What’s your thought on all those who are trying to put a stick in your wheel’s dream?
“I know it’s a tough world and building a dream will not be easy at all, but I will always try not to give up. I will always follow this dream.”
Do you remember what was your initial capital? What about the kit you needed to start your dream?
“The biggest investment I made was when I first started. I bought a tent and some tools. Everything cost me around $300. I used the money wisely and I tried to use some stuff I already had in my house. With the initial money I earned, I reinvested to buy tables and exhibitors.”
Who did you involve during your adventure and how did they help you?
“My fiancé is the one who supported me from the very beginning. He always comes and helps me with the tent and prepares the stand with me. My parents and his parents showed sometimes a big interest and they helped me with the exhibitors.”
How much time do you invest in your hobby each day?
“I do not invest too much time in it. Besides my hobby, I have school and a part time job, which keeps me sometimes far from my dream. When I find time, I invest 3 hours a day.”
Where are you selling your products? Internet platforms, Shops, Flea Markets?
“In addition to the Flea Markets, I have an online shop on ETSY (https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/BlackOwlJewels ) that I recently created.
How do you see the future of your small business?
“I will never stop dreaming and I will always fight to make it grow. I always dream of a day I will be able to make it become the main source of my income. All I know is that I have to believe in Black Owl Project and step by step I will try to make my dream come true”.
What would you like to change but you can’t?
“I would love running a proper e-commerce business and I would love to have my own shop/laboratory.”
Which kind of help do you think you would need?
“Definitely more capital.”
Would you give a tip to all those who are trying to follow their dream?
“Well, I’m still struggling, so I am the one who still needs tips.”
Everything happens for a reason in our lives. That day, the curiosity had me discover two things:
- The humanity always finds solutions to social struggles
- My best friend, Sabrina, the one who runs Black Owl Project
Should you go take a look on her website? Definitely!
Thanks Sabrina and Black Owl Project to show to the world what it means to keep strong and never stop dreaming!