Ep 17: An Entrepreneur’s Dance out of Soviet Russia — Aleksandra Efimova

This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes hosts Aleksandra Efimova, CEO and Founder of Russian Pointe — a dance apparel brand that has grown from a college dorm room operation to a multi-million dollar global enterprise. Efimova’s entrepreneurial prowess has gotten her far and is noticed by many, including Ernst and Young who nominated Efimova as a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.

On the podcast, Efimova recounts her incredible journey which ultimately started in the Soviet Union, where entrepreneurs were literally nonexistent. In fact, Efimova admits to not even knowing the word “entrepreneurship” for the first 15 years of her life. Yet, as with all podcast guests, Efimova found a way to grind against the odds, seize opportunities, succeed, and learn lessons along the way, which are valuable for all listeners.

 

The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway:

"If we start listening to opinions of others, we forget what was the motivating goal for us and what was the initial dream and vision of the business that got us started to begin with."

“I remember I hustled as much as I could, and I used every single opportunity to be in front of customers or to call customers or to meet the customers. Even if it meant taking a red eye from California to Detroit — and having exams that very next morning in class — that’s what I had to do.”

"I was winging it at the age of 20, and I was doing the best I could and, likely, I didn’t make any horrific mistakes. Most importantly, I learned from hopefully all of them, so each time around, I did something a little bit better."

"[I had to learn how] to be efficient and, most importantly, effective at what I do."

 

Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

1:42: Aleksandra recounts her early life in the Soviet Union, where entrepreneurship was literally nonexistent, and discusses where her fascination with business began.

3:47: Efimova speaks on her love of ballet shoes and Excel spreadsheets — the intersection where, ultimately, Russian Pointe was birthed.

7:45: Efimova retells the beginning of Russian Pointe — a company which started as a class project but moved from fiction to reality when she decided to use the business to pay her way through college.

10:02: Aleksandra shares how, though lacking in formal business training, she found a way to line up all of the necessary logistics to help bring her company to life.

11:50: Aleksandra recounts how she, through many phone calls, found her first customers and how she felt early pressure on being accountable to no one but herself.

15:43: Efimova briefly highlights what differentiated her product from the other dance apparel brands and speaks on how her company was originally (and unexpectedly) funded.

18:56: Efimova looks back at the inflection point, where she and her family and friends really knew that Russian Pointe was succeeding and was a sustainable company moving forward.

24:28: Aleksandra discusses her attitude regarding Russian Pointe — that failure was, for her, quite literally not an option. The only person she had to support her was herself.

25:16: Efimova briefly touches on what’s next for her growing brand and discusses where consumers can best find and purchase her apparel.

28:56: Aleksandra looks back 20 years and shares some advice with herself as a young entrepreneur, specifically regarding the handling of oft-complex financial and legal affairs when running a business.

 

Bullet List of Resources –

Aleksandra Efimova

 

Russian Pointe