Evgeniya (Eva) Dragoeva is a self-employed fashion designer based in Portsmouth. She has a background in higher education and freelance fashion design.
Self-employment lets you take your life in your own hands
“I became a self-employed fashion designer in 2017. I wanted to use my skills to create my own fashion line. As I developed in my career, I began to focus on sustainability and the importance placed on it in fashion today.
“I never thought I would be self-employed. I always used to say that I respect people who have the bravery to take things in their own hands. One day I realised that if I truly wanted to be creative and grow myself in the process – the path of self-employment was the right one to take.
“Little did I know how much I was going to develop as a person and as a student of life. There are still many things I need to learn and there is much room for improvement. However, self-employment is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has helped me to develop self-awareness, courage and resilience. I am more curious than ever before, and I look forward to the work that I do every day.
“I found out about Radian’s Create course through networking and I was curious to find out more. I love learning and even though I wasn’t right at the start of my self-employment I knew there were plenty of things I could improve. It was a very helpful experience and I met some great people along the way!
“I loved working with the mentors, they know what they are talking about and they are great people. I also appreciate the support I have had since Graduation. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.
Don’t be afraid to change the direction of your business as you grow
“When I started out, I focused on upcycling and the concept of circular fashion design and what it could mean for the fashion industry as a whole. I really like a creative challenge and designing with the concept of re-design in mind fascinates me.
“I’ve changed the direction of my business more recently. While my brand is still part of what I do, I am now aiming to use my knowledge to inspire people to work with what they already have.
“Through free video content, PDF patterns and paid courses, I want to spread the idea that everyone can add a creative touch to their clothes. My educational and technical background enable me to not only help people but explore more creative concepts for sustainable fashion design for the future.
“I have done a few markets since ‘Create’ and have a shop on my website. As I am gradually developing courses and ‘design knowledge’- based services I have stopped participating at markets so much. Instead, I am currently heading a sustainable fashion course for adults at Portsmouth College and am creating educational content on Skillshare as well as on YouTube.
“However, ‘Create’ has given me so much more than just the free market stalls. I have met some great people and gained a good understanding of how I can improve my business going forward.
Focus your business idea
“Reaching clarity took time. I always have a lot of ideas – perhaps it is part of my creative nature. In design terms this is not bad but in life and in business I have found that focus is key. I learnt about the importance of focus during the Radian’s ‘Create’ course itself – the course is the reason why I started to look for focus and clarity.
“Along the way I’ve tried various things – within my expertise. I think when you start and there is so much to learn – trial and error are always there. They can be discouraging but they can also be very helpful. Accepting this and building on it was challenging. I have also found selling products at markets challenging – despite positive feedback, while I find selling my services is easier.
Measuring success when you’re self-employed
“Success can mean so many things and much has happened in the past two and a half years. I feel successful in many ways. At this point as a designer and a creative professional – being recognised for my ability to create and think in innovative ways is what gives me great joy. Innovation and creativity are at the heart of human progress, so receiving Radian’s Award for Innovation in Business is something I cherish and something I am tremendously proud of.
“To be successful you need to make sure you get the right advice and training. It has given me confidence and improved my network – it is always wonderful to meet people, who are passionate about what they do.
“Financially, self-employment was always going to be difficult. However, in my opinion beginnings can often come with difficulties and being self-employed is a step towards greater wealth in many ways, including financially. It is a long game and it takes time to build something worthwhile. I have sacrificed a comfortable job, but I have gained much more in return. You can always get another job, but the experience of self-employment is life changing.”
Find out more about Eva and her business:
Website – www.evadragoeva.com
Instagram – @evadragoeva
Facebook – @evadragoevafashiondesigner
LinkedIn – @EvaDragoeva
Twitter – @evadragoeva
YouTube – Fashion Transformation with Eva
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org