Sonya Avagian
If you’re staying here to shape Armenia’s economy, you should also help other new, local businesses

We all know that being successful isn’t something you can achieve in a day. It is easier said than done. We, Armenians, like to think that it is near to impossible to have a stable successful business in Armenia, but it is a stereotypical way of thinking. We are convinced that we can do much better abroad, because somehow, we have lost our motivation in believing that owning a business here can do wonders.

Fashion Designer Sonya Avagian is concrete proof of breaking that mentality. From the age of 17, she started running her business Avagyan, which first started off with creating T-shirts, but has now expanded into having an online store to sell her designs not only in Armenia, but abroad as well. 

Born and raised in an independent, post-war healing country, people were not able to care much about their clothing since they were only capable of obtaining what they needed, not what they wanted. By the end of her school year, she was known as the artistic girl in Yerevan. In order to put things into action, she immediately started her own business producing custom T-shirts with portraits, which resembled what are now similar to Snapchat filters.

For a person that young, she had a lot of orders from customers, also keeping in mind that she had her final exams and entrance exams during that time. With the help of the Armenian Diaspora, her line became a great success throughout Armenia, Moscow, Los Angeles, and a number of other European countries. Everything from the big picture to the tiny details in the process made her fall in love with fashion. Although she had the opportunity to leave and study somewhere else, she chose to stay to continue carrying out her aim till the very end.

Sonya pointed out some tips and tricks to fulfill your goals and succeed no matter what your profession is:

Listen to your instructors 
Sonya was very lucky to have met someone who made her fall in love with her profession. The amount of knowledge and experience her professor bestowed her is invaluable. She also gained beneficial experience by working for different people in the fashion industry that a textbook wouldn't have offered her.
 
Explore your profession, do not stick to limited experiences 
The more you look into your field, the more you’re aware of your work. Try not to draw limits and go over and beyond in order to gain experience and knowledge. Sonya gained a large amount of vital knowledge such as the construction process, material use and techniques throughout her studies. Art is not a fixed area, it is always changing. Each place has its own process of expression. Do not be afraid of new experiences and working with new people. Implement your expertise you gained from elsewhere to ripen your business.
 
Quality wins over quantity
It doesn’t matter how much product you manufacture unless the quality is excellent. A person pays attention to the appearance of the product more than the quantity. Whatever your field is, beauty will save the world.

Dedicate yourself to your work

Sometimes, you have to deprive yourself of fun to focus on your business. Push yourself to strive for the best. You have to live up to your expectations and more, and that is how people start relying on you in accomplishing your work. 
 
Don’t be afraid of competition 
Competing and a little bit of jealousy can be very healthy for your business. Healthy jealousy can push you to work harder and realize bigger goals. It is a huge source of motivation. 
 
There is a line between friendship and business
It’s all fun and games until business is involved. It’s okay to help your friends when needed, but you must draw a line between the two and know your limits to keep your relationships unfaded.
 
Don’t rush
Work your way to the top. It isn’t something you can accomplish in a blink of an eye. Work smart and slow. In the event of your business failing, you will face a lot less losses when you do not rush.
 
Support Armenian businesses
If you’re staying here to shape Armenia’s economy, you should also help other new, local businesses. The more support the both of you receive, the higher chances you get to spread your business abroad. Introduce your culture to other countries.
 
Make connections
Know how to act with people. Be modest, but also very careful. You’re always in danger of others taking advantage of you. You have to learn the correct way of talking to clients, collaborators, sponsors and people in general. The way you speak leaves an influence on your relationships with people. 
 
Do not follow other people’s rules
As we are going to build a new Armenia, we need to monitor the situation and support our own rules. Each problem requires a special approach and solution.
 
Raised in a time when Armenia was recovering from post-Soviet consequences, she was taught that health, safety and education were what mattered most. Everything done was devoted to educating the younger generation and passing on their savings or whatever was left of it. Her generation was raised with big hopes in Armenia. She was told that she’s the one who is going to save history, language, culture and religion. As a young enthusiast and a proud Armenian, Sonya’s goal is to change the image of Armenia from a crying, massacred country into a blooming nation that has a lot to show through art.
 
 

 Annie Akkam

 
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