Vania Kukleta on design markets, street food festivals and other events
“It would be really cool to earn my money like that. But that isn’t possible anyway...”
That is what Vania Kukleta thought after her first public event. The fact that it was a public event at all was a matter of chance. Out of curiosity she placed the event, a flea market in the attic of her apartment, on a new social network called Facebook. Suddenly fashion brands, street wear distributors and stylists were all applying for a stand. Vania rose to the challenge, set up a bar and organised a DJ. The attic was full that evening. And Vania had discovered her vocation.
Back then I spent a lot of time wondering about how I should move forward. My job as a copywriter and head of promotions didn’t entirely fulfil me. And when I organised the attic flea market it became clear to me that it suited me and that I had fun doing it. A short while later I set up the Mercato Rimini design market with Katja Weber...
That is eight years ago now. And the design market on Schanzengraben still enjoys great popularity. Exactly the same as all of the other events, which have since been added to Vania’s portfolio: legendary parties (track roulette, John Doe), various design markets at various locations, the first street food festivals in Switzerland, the popular Christmas village at Zürcher Bellevue, two cafes (Z am Park and Salon) – and soon there will be the Schön und Gut Weekend [Beautiful and Good Weekend] (a three day design market with street food with a giant flea market). And although she has since become an established key figure in the Swiss event business community, the loving care and attention to detail she displays at events are always her top priority and are still very evident at all of her events.
An event is something that is always very short-term, limited. And as an organiser I’ll be right in the middle of it all. The temporary, improvised elements and team spirit always release such an unbelievable energy. And at the end, when you can see how your own fantasy world has unfolded, the decoration, the music, the drinks, all of the elements intertwining and strangers coming together to enjoy it, that is always a very emotional moment every time.
In order to be able to manage the number and size of the events, Vania and Katja combined efforts with various partners in order to form a strong team. She likes the fact that this meant everyone could concentrate on their own strengths and delve even deeper into detail.
Of course I’m pleased when I receive compliments. But you need a good team so everything works. So the praise should really always be given to the team. If everyone including the light assemblyman thinks the same way, has the right attitude and helps to create the buzz of enthusiasm, then these magical moments are sure to happen. Teamwork has to work properly!
Vania wanted to become a lot of things in her life: Mechanic, designer, journalist. But two things were always important to her. There needs to be some kind of output, which can delight people. And she always wanted to work with other people. That’s why it’s unsurprisingly easy for her to talk to people. Her inspiring, open personality definitely serves her well in this respect.
Whether it’s assignments at extraordinary times about special price agreements or approvals, you always need people who are able to achieve the impossible. That’s why a broad network is very helpful in my industry. Ultimately you’re just a cog in a bigger machine. That’s the beauty of it.
In addition to a good team there are other factors that are essential for a successful event. Above all Vania lives by her motto:
I’ll only plan to the extent that everyone involved knows what they have to do. Because the really exciting things only happen during the implementation. The path from the idea to implementation should be as short as possible, so you always need to be open to new inputs and ideas during the implementation.
Vania can’t explain exactly where she gets all the ideas from. She relies on her gut feeling. And so far it’s never let her down. What is important is that you can distance yourself from it when you’re in the middle of it, allow your thoughts to wander, travel, gather opinions and finally to recombine everything. But how do you know if you want to implement an idea?
When I put a project through a reality check I ask myself the following questions: Does it have its own signature, a face? Is it tangible? Do the individual elements make sense together? Can it be started quickly and is there still room for spontaneity? That’s the thought process behind my guiding principles. Then, of course, there’s still a dash of business administration that goes into it too. But you shouldn’t be discouraged by it either. Don’t think it to death, make it simple! That should be the motto. That’s how you release energy.
Where is Vania heading next? What can we look forward to in the future?
When someone asks me where I want to be in five years time I don’t have an answer. First of all, we need to know where our company is developing. We are developing in parallel and have a mutual influence on one another. I will always want to do something creative, most likely something to do with catering and food production. But the main thing is to feel fulfilled.
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