It was so wonderful to spend an afternoon with Kristina Salceanu, who has created the first of its kind charity advent calendar: Advent of Change. As it is being stocked in John Lewis, we hung out in their winter grotto among the many Christmas trees and had a chat about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and where her great idea came from.
Kristina told me Advent of Change began with one simple idea: to give the gift of giving itself and behind every door is a donation to charity. And that small idea has already taken on a life of its own – she has captured the imagination of charities, retailers and celebrities.
It hasn’t been an easy ride for Kristina - she’s managed to build her product alongside a full time job at a marketing agency. She admitted she’d thought about giving up “all the time” but it was “never an option, because it was for charity – there was no way I could live with myself”. Her car has often been her office, with her glove box storing all her paperwork. One of the biggest challenges facing Kristina has been getting everything done on time and making it work quickly as she rightly laughed: “No one is willing to move Christmas!”.
A self-confessed ‘born entrepreneur’ Kristina believes she has stayed that way “despite life – everyone wants comfort and security” but you have to let this go a little if you want to be an entrepreneur. She’s always brimming full of ideas – the fact she has around 100 domains registered is a testament to that!
She told me it was quite a challenge picking the 24 charities – of which I’m so proud that Big Change is one of them. Her process was to go through what she thought were the worst things going on in the world and then try and find a charity partner who are working on the issue. But she said she stays positive as “opening a new door each day opens up possibilities across the world, whether helping the environment or improving the lives of refugee children, endangered animals, and those struggling with life-threatening illnesses”.
I really love how she’s taken a traditional product which is typically built for the person to receive something, and turned it on its head and made its purpose to give instead.
Kristina said she has loads of ideas for the future and now has the confidence to make them happen. She said her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs would be: “If you have an idea, just go for it!”
Grab your calendar now over at AdventOfChange.com.