Mom Entrepreneur: Dominika Nell Applova
ALBUM was created to give consumers an easy, high-quality way of sharing their memories through pictures. There’s so much digital content created but no good way of delivering it so that’s where ALBUM comes in. It is our goal to bring affordability, portability and quality to the market with a sleek photo sharing device. We believe ALBUM is the partner device to the digital camera.
What inspired you to start your business?
When my daughter was born I began to take a lot of photographs of her and I wanted to share them with my family and other mothers; in a yoga class, in a coffee shop, when traveling … And there simply was not a good way to do that. So I decided to design my own solution. I have designed many very successful gadgets in my career and have a great network of engineers and therefore I felt confident that I can deliver consumers – especially mothers, who are looking for simplicity and time- and cost-saving factors – a compatible and desirable solution. As a busy mom myself, I really appreciate any plug and play solution I can rely on, and I believe ALBUM delivers exactly that. I can share photos of my child anytime I like, to show my pride.
How long have you been in business?
I have been a practicing Industrial Design consultant for over 10 years, since my college times. My first venture was a fashion label, which I eventually sold. I then turned my focus to technology and consumer technology. The motivation was to design products that answer market problems and needs that I identify.
What did you do in your past work life?
Dominika Nell Applova boasts an impressive career in industrial design-turned-entrepreneur, having played a critical role in the design and manufacturing of market-changing consumer technology such as the Apple products, Nokia’s line of mobile phones and the relaunch of Opel Corsa in 2000.
In addition to lending her design experience to other companies, she has also taken her ideas and created successful business ventures of her own, namely a clothing line and a joint venture with fellow ALBUM colleague Todd Pelman, Blue Green Pacific, Inc.
Her role as ALBUM’s founder and chief designer, Dominika focuses on the growth, strategic direction and development of ALBUM’s product line, having already successfully expanded ALBUM into European and Asian markets. Her vision for the company is to bring the highest quality of digital photo sharing the consumers in an easily portable and navigational way, all packaged in a sleek device.
In addition to her post at ALBUM, Dominika also volunteers her time to design modern products for customers in emerging markets, including a water pump for Kenyan farmers and a solar LED lamp for residents of rural India.
Prior to founding ALBUM, she spent a considerable amount of time as a senior industrial designer for IDEO, the world’s leading product design firm, leaving her mark on products from a wide variety of global industry leaders, including 3M, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Audi, OXO and Siemens.
Describe your ideal workday.
One that includes having a good conversation with my daughter over breakfast, time for a quick swim or surf, and meeting an intellectually challenging person and discussing compelling ideas.
What have been some of your major successes?
Creating a great team. With the right people banded together, you can fly to the moon in no time.
What have been some of your major challenges?
Creating a space for ALBUM in a market, which is currently populated sub-par products: mostly static digital frames.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
My philosophy is that, if I have to spend long hours working away from my daughter, I better have a good reason and make my day worthwhile.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“What can possibly go wrong …” – I remember this to keep humor in my life. Of course things will go wrong, but that only gives you the opportunity to fix it and learn from it.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Avoiding working on weekends as much as possible. Being in charge of my schedule.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
- If you have a mission or calling, embrace it, you will never regret it, even if you go bankrupt.
- Never compromise on selecting a partner, if you cannot find one right away, start on your own and you will likely be joined by the right person later.
- Good friendships are not automatically good business partnerships.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
Small paper notepad, pen and a highlighter. The “Point of View” section in Colors magazine has been my inspiration for years now.
What is next for your business?
Very exciting things! I can’t give too much detail but look out for the next version of ALBUM, which I believe will resolve significant problems modern mothers are facing. Stay tuned!!
Your two cents sales pitch
ALBUM is perfectly designed for anyone who has an abundance of digital pictures but not a good way to share them. Perfect for the holidays, buyers of the ALBUM are loading up their device and bringing it to share with family and friends from afar – which saves time and space by avoiding the need to print/pick-up prints from the drug store or having to pack stacks of photoalbums into their luggage.
Moms in particular love the ALBUM because it’s fast, easy and ultra-portable – you can upload pictures directly from your camera, computer, jump drive or SD card and instantly show you photos in a vivid, HD-quality screen. This is idea of showing friends and family over dinner, drinks, family gatherings, the gym, etc.
We are giving away an ALBUM her on Bizzie Mommy for more information go to the 9 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Mom Photographer
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