Lucie Konečná,COO of NanoSPACE, ex travel blogger at Loudavým…
Lucie, you have built a quite strong following on Instagram with your great travel content. Can you take us on your journey? Where did the idea of starting the Loudavym Krokem blog come from?
I always loved writing and taking pictures, and I studied journalism with a focus on photojournalism. However, during my first year at the university, I started working as a social media manager, and I start learning about online marketing on my own. I realized I don’t have to follow the path of journalism, but I have never lost my passion for writing. I was also a passionate traveler because both of my parents loved to travel, and so I was writing about my travels and then sharing it on my blog. When I met Lukas, we transformed my personal blog into Loudavym Krokem, which is the name we came up with when we were mushrooming. It means walking slowly , and we wanted name baring both our initials (LK).
I have been following you for some time now, which is why I know that you have been running several side jobs at the same time and created quite a strong business with your husband. Can you tell us a bit about that?
It was quite a long journey; as I have mentioned, I started working as a social media specialist when I was in my first year of the university, it was 2012. I started as a freelancer because it was easy to do it during school. I couldn’t take a full-time job because I wanted to focus on my studies. I knew nothing about it, but I have learned very fast; I have read many books about marketing, I have listened to all the podcasts I could have found, I read marketing blogs and magazines. When I met Lukas, he helped me to become a real professional. We have learned a lot about marketing, content creating, SEO, and email marketing from our blog, and we started working together. When we finished universities, we already had enough clients to live as a digital nomad traveling the world.
Fast forwarding to last year You have become the COO of nanoSpace. How did you go from blogger to COO?
I was always more marketing specialist than a blogger, but I understand that it is the thing we are known for. NanoSPACE is our family company, I used to help with some small tasks in marketing, but I was never really involved on a daily basis. We were about to sell our shares to an investor when the pandemic hit. But when the pandemic hit, we were the only sellers of nanofiber face masks. We used to have 3-10 orders a day, but when the news about COVID hit the Czech Republic, we got thousands of orders in one day.
We couldn’t handle so many orders; we had only one employee. That’s where I stepped in; we automated and digitalized everything in less than 14 days, from accounting to logistics. It sounds easy, but I still can’t believe that we have managed to do it.
I read several articles about your great contribution to the astonishing growth of nanoSpace in the last year. You went from a company with 3mio CZK turnover to over 100, if I remember correctly. That’s amazing growth and success. How did the company manage that?
I still can’t believe that. Everything I did last year was to ensure that we sell only the best of the best nanotech face masks and other nanotech products. I have visited most of the factories, I have tested all of our products we offer. We have invested a lot of money to educate people about nanotech products. People noticed it, and that might be the reason for our success. People trust us.
How does it feel to be the COO of such a successful company and be one of the reasons for such an exponential growth?
This role carries a great deal of responsibility for sure. It is true that we were successful last year, but the following years will tell us if we are a successful company. I don’t think we can label our company as successful based on one year, especially a pandemic year.
As a female COO, do you meet with some push back or struggles in the industry?
Oh yes, I am a woman, and I am also the youngest one in our company. Sometimes I find myself in awkward situations; other times, it is funny, and most of the time, it is just a struggle. When you are a young woman leading a company, you have to prove yourself to other people all the time. Last year taught me to be tough.
What are the challenges women in the Czech republic face career wise in your opinion and from your experience?
Some business partners don’t take you seriously, but I don’t mind that. They will find out soon that they should. 🙂
If you could give some advice to girls and women who are not sure if they should follow their dreams, what will be your advice?
I am not wise enough to give life advice, but I think we should at least try, or we spend our lives asking what would happen if we did try it.
We are in Covid times when many women put their goals and careers on hold because they don’t have the capacity to do so for whatever personal reason. Is there a word of encouragement you would like to give them to make it through this tough time?
Oh, god, I feel shitty sometimes as well. We are all in this together, but I believe that the best thing we can do is to adapt and try to look at it from a new perspective. You should never put your goals and careers on hold because of the situation. We don’t know how long we will be in this situation and what life would be like after the pandemic.
Is there a book/books that you would recommend every girl and woman to read that you feel had a great impact on your personal and professional life?
I don’t really have a book recommendation for women only, but everyone should read Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
You can follow Lucie’s life on her Instagram.