Singularu was one of the first startups to be born in Demium back in 2014 in Valencia as a result of our pre-team, pre-idea methodology during the AllStartup weekend. Eight years later, we sat down with Cristina Aristoy, Chief Product Officer, co-founder and one of the main pillars of the company, to learn more about her as a founder, about her journey and take valuable advice from her that would help any entrepreneur.
Q: What’s the story behind you joining Singularu?
I studied industrial engineering, with a specialization in organization, and later I did a degree in jewelry design. It was during my first degree that I decided to seize the opportunity to travel and learn, so I spent 1 year living in London and after that I did 6 months in Seoul. At 24 years old I had a friend who was working at Demium and recommended that I joined as well. Being in the Demium team, has opened up the chance for me to experience an AllStartup Weekend Event
One of the projects in that event was Singularu. After a full weekend of supporting the team on developing the project, I ended up loving it and leaving my work at Demium to join the startup.
Q: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
At the start, I had none to zero experience relating to the entrepreneurial world. I didn’t know anyone in my close circle of friends who had gone down that path. I decided to take up the challenge at Singularu because I felt it was the right moment for me to run the risk (and learn). I’m not the reckless type nor would I normally rush into anything, but with Singularu I was in no doubt.
Q: What are some of the most important milestones that you remember accomplishing with Singularu?
Looking back over the past 8 years, Singularu has gone through a rollercoaster of adventures that I call to mind fondly.
Becoming Known Outside Valencia
The most important milestone would be when we validated the business model, as it is something that takes some time and effort.
Singularu was at the outset of its existence and I remember seeing a girl wearing our jewelry.
At that moment, we realized that what we were building was real, and that it was more than our family and friends supporting us.
From Online to Offline / Opening Our First Store
When we opened our first physical store in Valencia, there was a huge queue of people waiting outside to join us at the inauguration. They were willing to stand there for 2h before the opening to buy our products. Then we started opening more stores in different cities in Spain and the feeling was no different, people were as welcoming as in our city. Selling physically is a completely different channel than online shopping and, despite them being complementary, you still have to work hard to understand how to connect them.
Growing Our Team
A more recent milestone would be realizing that there are more than 150 people working directly for the company plus all the indirect work (factories, suppliers etc.). This was inspiring and we realized we’re not a small startup anymore, we’re a big team of people who work hard to keep the ball rolling.
Q: What are some of the biggest takeaways from this experience, both professionally and personally?
Learning How to Work With Others and Delegating
Professionally, one of the biggest things is that I’ve learned how to work with others, which is way different than learning how to work in teams. When you find the right people to work with, everything is much easier.
In the earliest stages of the startup, resources are scarce and you end up multi-tasking. As the company grows, you start noticing that the right way to do things is by finding people who are better than you in certain things, letting them take charge and learning from them. It’s all about delegating. It’s a hugely teachable moment and I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
The combination of all this is what makes teams professional, helping them to improve, grow and evolve to the max. The company DNA and core culture was developed by Paco, co-founder and CEO, and me but the company has been growing thanks to the inputs of many people who have been part of it.
Letting Yourself Go
Personally, Singularu has given me the opportunity to learn, understand and meet people. That is priceless and it will stay with me forever. If I could give advice to my younger self, I would tell the old Cristina to stay open-minded, be flexible and stick to her plan.
There is more than one way of doing things and you should enjoy the process.
At Singularu we strongly believe that learning and improving is an ongoing process. I think this is what keeps our company alive and growing.
Q: What would be your advice for any entrepreneur?
Do it. Go for it and conquer your fears. We can’t be stuck in the “What if…?”.
Our mantra is: “What’s the worst thing that could happen? Succeeding or not, either way you are not going to lose money. You will be investing that money in growth, learning and experiences.”
Sometimes it seems impossible, but at the end of the day everything works out, even if it’s in a way you didn’t expect. The important thing is everything you have done along the way, everything you have learned, the people that you have met…
Many times people don’t want things, they would like to have them, and there is a difference. The only barriers that exist are the ones you decide to build and there are opportunities for everyone. Is the journey hard? Of course it is, and there are many ups and downs, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Ask any entrepreneur “Would you do it again?”. I believe that, whether they have ended up creating a successful company or not, the answer would be yes. I think it’s important to listen to other people’s stories, that’s how we learn.