A highly valued member of our mentor community, Martina Duskova has been mentoring with Femme Palette for a few years now, and guided a number of mentees on their path to success. As one of our most active mentors, she also has many interesting insights from her mentoring journeys to share. We talked to Martina not only about those, but also about her stationery brand printintin, her advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs, and her enthusiasm for various productivity methods and her advice in that area.
Keep reading to find out what Martina had to say.
To begin, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Martina and I love paper. The paper has been with me throughout my entire life, and I'm fortunate that it has also become the focus of my work. I own a small stationery brand called printintin, and I've founded a stationery festival for all those who love paper just as much as I do. It is my passion project because it allows me to support small brands and artists and connect them with people who love their work.
Besides that, I'm a huge enthusiast of planning, organization, all sorts of productivity hacks, and bullet journaling. I have recently started doing workshops on this topic and I am working on adding personal consultations into my services too.
If I am not working, you'll most often find me with a book in hand in my little home jungle, which houses around a hundred pieces. Next to me, you'll likely find my white furry ball, a dog named Ghost.
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I was approached by Femme Palette because found a matching mentee for me. And they were right, my first mentoring experience was lovely and I soon found joy in passing on my own experience and helping other people with their projects.
What kinds of areas do you help your mentees in?
I usually mentor women that are in the early stages of their projects so we usually discuss topics on how to start selling their products and how to best promote their brands. The area is really large so we often go to deeper topics such as how not to be afraid to put our work out to there or how to deal with feedback from the public.
Is there something you learned from your mentees?
I always learn something new from them! I have been blessed with amazing mentees with great projects and they usually bring new perspectives on various things which I really appreciate. Most of all, they bring lots of inspiration to me. :)
What led you to co-found your stationery brand, printintin?
We started as a university project and at first, we didn’t have much expectations. The only thing we knew was that we don’t want the project to finish when we graduate so we just kept going. We enjoyed coming up with new products and soon we saw that people are interested in our work too. We made their days a little brighter by creating fun and pretty designs. Back then there weren’t many stationery brands in the Czech market and we delivered something different than a boring notebook from a supermarket.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs who'd like to one day run a successful small business like you do?
First, don't be afraid and don't wait until your product or service is perfect. It will never be and you will keep finding more flaws that need to be worked on. Most of your customers won't even notice what you see). By that I don't mean that you should put out something unfinished or untested, but as in everything you need to find a balance between the two. You will learn the most by doing anyway and you will discover new challenges and you will improve as you go. On top of that, make sure that you do something you enjoy and love, because only that way you will do it right. :)
You mentioned you're a productivity enthusiast - what's your favorite productivity hack which you think everyone should know about?
My number one advice is don't look at any productivity hack or system as a set of rules. We often see advice like "if you want to be successful, you have to do this and that" and then we try so hard to implement it into our lives even though it might not make sense to us. Every advice you see, take it as a recommendation and test it if it works for you. If not, you can adjust it to your needs or simply drop it. It will take a while for you to create a good system that works for you, but it will be worth it. Just keep in mind, that we are all unique human beings, we have different jobs and we also live under different circumstances so whatever works for people you see or read about, might not work for you. And the same goes for us at different times. Different productivity hacks will work for you today and different ones will in a year. Try to be a bit more open-minded and flexible about it. Either way, no productivity hack should make you unhappy, they are here to work for us not the other way around.
Has Martina inspired you to work with a mentor? Learn more about our Mentoring program and apply here.