Women Behind The Seams: Meet Luina

Welcome to the second video in our series "Women Behind the Seams", where we delve deeper into the inner workings of Bastet Noir and shine a light onto our brightest stars - our women single parents & women micro entrepreneur seamstresses.

Through this series, we want to share Bastet Noir's story in a way that's more tangible and relatable than just words on a website, because we #giveadamn.
If videos are not your thing, scroll down to read our interview with Luina ;)

Let's get to know each other! Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Luina Paneva, firstly, a math professor which is still my main occupation. And sewing was a hobby at first, as I was not able to go to school specifically for that, but because it was my first love from just a hobby, it turned into a larger business.


When and why did you start working as a seamstress?

I started sewing for myself and that was when I was 17 and still in high school. If you want to know why, it's because the seamstress that was supposed to sew for me ditched me and I really wanted to wear something new as I had an event to attend and I bought the sewing magazine Karina, I didn't even know how to make a pattern, I had no clue, I only knew how to sew by hand. A friend showed me how to make a pattern. I finally made patterns, cut out some fabrics, made some mistakes, and both of us made a skirt and a shirt by hand in two days, and I was ecstatic. I think that's what got me hooked, made me more interested in sewing. And after that, I never went to a seamstress ever again. I started sewing for myself, I started buying books and magazines, everything that existed, every add-on from magazine Burda. One by one, sometimes I copied designs from confections, to see how they were made, the work process… I mean, I didn't copy, just observed and I retained the knowledge. I didn't even have a sewing machine so for a year I sewed by hand or used other's sewing machines to learn.After a year, I bought one and since then, since being 18 I haven't stopped. And now I'm 61.


What made you want to become a woman entrepreneur?

Well, I first started sewing for myself, for my family, I learned how to sew pants on my brother and he kept finding faults, same with my mother. And when my relatives found out I started sewing for them and I became more skilled. And after around 5 to 7 years, I guess it was an idea from one of my aunts: "If you're working like this, why don't you start charging?" So that's how I started, at home. I had little children, and customers started coming to my home. After 10 to 12 years when my children had grown up and work started piling up, i.e. word got around, there was an occasion where in two months I had to deliver three wedding dresses. And I think that was the moment that made me want to move my work. Plus, my daughter was old enough to help me with work.


What's your favorite part of the creation process?

I love tailoring unusual designs. I think it's what I love doing the most. Not that the sewing process is not my favorite, but at least for right now. In the beginning, I preferred sewing and getting the final product. And now, I guess with experience and years of work, I find myself in creation, because a while ago, around 6 years or so, I found myself teaching tailoring for adults and anyone who wants to learn. We held training and that and that drew me more, teaching theory of tailoring. So currently that's my most favorite. I feel my best in that moment, when something new needs to be designed.

What are some challenges you face as a woman entrepreneur?

Well, when you start working in this industry, and I'm not sure if this is applied only to us women, but I think so,we dedicate more time to the work itself, and somehow we don't have many conditions to show ourselves in the best light or to promote ourselves… we're not tied to our workplace, but things need to get done. And in general, women are the ones that do all the sewing, and I think that with male entrepreneurs it's all about hustle, they do the supply part and think it all falls onto them and the women are the ones that do the labour (sewing). So for us, we're two girls, and we spend our time sewing.

What's it like working with Bastet Noir?

They have their own tempo that... (pushes you). It makes you work faster than before. And we discovered, with them as an example, that someone from here (Macedonia) does business worldwide. I thought that our little country is all we've got. That everyone who works here sells here. I am pleasantly surprised, as they are young.
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