We proudly present you Marillai Ildiko and wonderLAB!
And we’re definitely talking about a wonder lab, as everything you can find inside this small but charming shop in the heart of the 5th District of Budapest will surely attract you!
But what about its owner? We were curious to find out more about her background, her ambitions and her dreams about wonderLAB! So we went there to find out some more about her personality, which she imprints on her work too.
As she told us, the whole idea of wonderLAB began to take shape about one and a half years ago, when she and her sister wanted to find a place to craft little things, as they both have a passion for jewellery – Ildiko was making jewellery holders and her sister has a jewellery brand. At the beginning, some people wanted to join them, so they started collaborating with 10 designers, whose works were featured and promoted in the shop, but with time the brand outgrew itself. Now they are collaborating with about 30 designers and last December the business moved to the place where we can now find it (info at the end of the article), with the eye-catching showcase attracting the passersby’s attention.
It’s a fact that the business sector really loved their project from the beginning and the number of designers wanting to collaborate with them was multiplied as the time passed. But what about the target audience of wonderLAB? Well, as you can imagine, it is mainly the female population between 20 and 40, because as Ildiko claims “the Hungarian designers don’t really have men’s stuff…I guess men are still learning to like the designers’ stuff!”.
How is it to be part of a 30+ member “team”? As Ildiko told us “We decide together with all the 30 designers whether we should go with the flow or we should stop something. We don’t really have problems…Ok it is not easy to work with 30 people, 30 creative people, but basically we are kind of friends. Yes, sometimes we fail, we may not choose the best people, because sometimes it happens that somebody isn’t really a team player. But usually we are surrounded by good people, and team players!”
She personally gets in touch with each designer, despite having colleagues who could do that for her. The designers, as she tells us “come and go all day long! There’s a main thing here, that people can meet with the designers. That is because there is a «mystic» thing with the designers, and for some reason people are afraid to get in touch with them, so that’s why we try to show that they are normal people. So people learn that it is better to contact directly the designers than to buy something in a shop with at least 50-100% of margin on the products.We do not put extra percentage on anything,since our concept is totally different from other shops.Here,we try to help our designers to build their brands,how to do the marketing and to learn how to do the selling part of the procedure, because they see us here working, so like this it is better for everyone!”
A typical dynamic businesswoman, Ildikó is at the wonderLAB all day long, her daily routine basically revolves around this charming shop. Nevertheless, she never complains about it, as she’s really in love with her job. When we asked her if she ever felt that her attempt was pointless she told us that “No, I think we are receiving a lot of very good feedback, so you can’t really be sad with that. I don’t think I would ever do anything else!”.
Advising other shop owners of her field she says: “You’ve got to do what you love, you’ve got to work for it and you cannot give up at the first misfortune, because misfortunes can happen! When we are doing something, we sometimes do fail, but you just have to do what you love!”. Her motto is “together it is easier!”, she encourages people to work in a group, as she considers it as something that can help you grow.
When asked about opening a second shop somewhere else in Hungary or abroad, she responds that they’re thinking about making a franchise, but the idea is still “under construction”, and her main dream right now is to make this brand a success.
As for Budapest, she says she didn’t have any problem with the city authorities when she started wonderLAB, and she’s really glad to run a business here.
Would she prefer to be somewhere else? “I’m really a Budapest girl, so I love, I looove to be here, I would never live anywhere else! I don’t really understand people going abroad so as to live there, I don’t get it, because I think this is such a good city! Yeah I know that they say that Hungarians have a very bad mentality and everybody here is sad and blah blah blah…But I don’t care, I really love to be here! I try to be positive and smiley! Of course I have my bad moments – mainly every day! – but I’m trying to tell myself everyday «It’s going to be a good day!». I would love to visit other places like New York and Sydney, but I would never live anywhere else!”
So if you’re curious about the place you’ve just read about, you can learn more about it
- through its Facebook page
- or visit it at Veres Pálné utca 3 , Budapest, Hungary, 1053