Ekaterina Kritskaya: "Each of us is here to find our way to ourselves"

After a long break, Ogonyok's blog returns - and it is no coincidence that we open the “season” on this very holiday. Today's interview in the rubric #YouOgonek - this is a conversation with a person who for me is the embodiment of femininity, taste and style. A person who has been with the Fire from the very first year - initially as a client, and then as a partner and friend. For a conversation with Katya Kritskaya, the owner of the jewelry boutique Matière79, I prepared for a long time and looked for the right moment to share it with you. And I am glad to do this on March 8 - the day when everything is about women, their beauty, strength, wisdom, courage, their ability to express themselves and do what they love. Enjoy reading.

Jordan: - Katya, hello. You have recently returned from a long-awaited trip, and I would like to start today's conversation with a question about rest. What place does it occupy in your life?

Katya: - Due to all the quarantine restrictions, the thought of going somewhere on vacation caused a certain discomfort: how it would be, was it worth it. But the regime in which we worked for the last year made me understand that rest is necessary. For me, this is always a switch - from the "squirrel in the wheel" or "Groundhog Day" mode. There is a discipline, a regime in which we are used to living and working - sometimes we need to leave this regime in order to switch our consciousness to another wave. 

Most of the thoughts, ideas and plans come to me on vacation, so for me it is also part of my job.

I always approach the choice of a place to stay on my own. I do not like hackneyed hiking trails, and I always do all the research about where and how to go - I do not go on the beaten track. In principle, this concept can be applied to all aspects of my life. While studying at a university in Canada, I once and for all memorized the phrase that I am guided by absolutely in all spheres of life: "Think outside the box"... Even after collecting information and recommendations from friends, most likely, after reading, watching and listening, I will choose my path. In this regard, I have good karma - I always add up to this. Therefore, you can safely follow my travels and believe my recommendations.

And: - The Maldives was your penultimate country, and the last one was the United Arab Emirates, right? Until now, I can not forget that magnificent place, similar to either Morocco or the south of France, which you showed on your instagram. 

K: - On the way back from the islands, after the Maldivian Robinsonism, we decided to spend four days in civilization - visit good restaurants, go out to people. In general, I can say that Dubai is not mine in terms of aesthetics and gloss. I prefer something more soulful. But I knew that in such a large, advanced city, there must surely be islands of aesthetics, consonant with my understanding of beauty. I just set myself a goal and did a research. As I said, all my trips rest on him. In my understanding, if you want to have quality rest, work well, if you want something of quality in your life, you must make an effort to this, and not follow someone's imposed ideas of beauty. I am a personal travel agent for myself and my family. If you want something different, not like everyone else - take your knowledge of English and go in search of Western sites. I noticed that there is a completely different culture of recommendations.

And: - How often do you manage to escape from work to rest?

K: - Fortunately, my work, like yours, is connected with foreign trips. I didn't count - I fly out as needed for work. As for the rest, it is most likely two, maximum three times a year - often on birthdays and New Years. At work, sometimes you have to fly often - it happened, and four times a month. It's hard for me to differentiate between commuting and commuting, because I do what I love, and for me working trips are also a breath of air. And time alone with myself, because I'm an introvert. My daughter is an extrovert, I feed on her energy at home and admire her endlessness.

But the time for myself, the time of silence, I often have it on business trips.

I really appreciate this time. Therefore, for me, the lack of the usual number of trips during the quarantine period is palpable. Again, we flew to Dubai twice: once - on vacation, and the second time - to the exhibition for work. I made this decision literally in a day: we passed the tests, flew away for three days, managed to do everything and returned happy. Although on Instagram it seemed like I was resting. In fact, we only had two hours in the morning, when we could enjoy breakfast, listen to birdsong, look at the views, and then - an intensive tour of the exhibition until the evening.

And: - Tell us about your work in the past difficult year. Its beginning took us all by surprise - how was it with you?

K: - We then managed to slip through and still went to Paris - this was our last trip there. And for me she was one of the key ones, because I took my daughter Sonya with me. I decided that this would be her dedication to what I was doing. You know, the working hours in Paris are very intense: from showroom to showroom, often forgetting to eat. But last year, quarantine measures were already in place, in Paris it was less active, so we had time for everything. Sonya is a grateful child, she was very interested in the trip. I wanted this journey to become an impetus for her to be inspired, as I get inspired every time by visiting showrooms and meeting new brands. On my return, while the sensations were fresh, while she had a stream of thoughts and ideas that she was digesting, I invited her to come up with a joint collection, which we recently implemented. So Sonia learned from her own experience how many steps need to be taken from an idea to its implementation.

I often hear from jewelers and young people: "I thought about it, but they took it and did it." All this is nonsense - you can come up with anything, a million thoughts, but the most difficult thing I find in their implementation.

It is a huge work to find all the puzzles to put them into a cool finished product that you are not ashamed to show and offer to people..

I am glad that we managed to implement this project - the Sofia collection. These are ceramics, colored pendants on chains, saucers, each of which is accompanied by a message from Sonya personally. She herself is delighted with her collection, wears it with pleasure, and can recommend it. This project is already successful today, before the official presentation, because we have practically sold it to our clients. And it is my great pride that we donate part of the proceeds from sales to charity. For us, this trip became an impetus not only for a new collection, but also for production on the domestic market. We realized that there are craftsmen in Ukraine who can be involved in production, and that it can be organized.

And: - I am very interested in the topic of production. Before Sofia, you already released your own collection called Alchemy, and I know how difficult it is to start production where so much has already been created. How did it happen with you?

K: - It's difficult, especially when you see really talented, kind of brilliant designers, whose works are close to you in spirit, and you think: "Who am I to compete with them." But you have to give yourself permission to understand that in this niche not necessarily everyone competes.

I believe that jewelry is a form of materialization of thought.

And I gave permission for my thoughts to take on a material form, endowing them with the meaning and message that are in my inner world. The hardest part was putting together a production team, but I have the ability to get people to complement what I lack.
It is difficult to find jewelers who will bring your idea to the form you need, and not to the standard that they are trained to. The biggest problem of the jewelry industry in Ukraine is the Soviet school, the standard by which jewelers work here. And I was faced with the fact that it is very difficult to break this standard and explain to people that the product does not have to look exactly the way that it can be tried differently. It was the biggest challenge, but in the end we got it. With each piece we break the jeweler and his idea of how it should be, but the result is a great product. I believe that there is no limit to perfection, but I see that we are moving towards it - this gives me confidence and the desire to continue. Yes, with my experience in jewelry, it was possible to go to Milanese or French factories and place orders there, being confident that I would receive the very specific product I needed. But I want it to be the most Ukrainian product, I want to develop this culture in our market. I believe that we will have more and more talented jewelers, that this industry will be booming. Now we are only at the beginning of the path.

And: - Pondering your story about a joint trip and collection with Sonya, the question crept in: did you have a similar experience of interacting with your parents, were you initiated into the family business from childhood? 

K: - Yes. My parents have been in the business of building natural stone for thirty years: marble, granite, travertine, and everything related to this. My store is my brief background. The stone used in its design is the influence of my family and all my experience accumulated before starting jewelry. I started going with my father to exhibitions of natural stones from the age of fourteen and I can say thank you very much for introducing me to this business from an early age. This gave me the opportunity to travel with him around the world, as well as the experience of visiting and working at exhibitions.

I remember that there I always paid attention to the most unusual stones - those that were not mass market.

Before we made repairs in my store, I had never seen such a stone from anyone. By the way, after the opening, many clients and simply passing by were interested in where to get such a stone. Then I began to see him more and more often in other projects, but initially we found him for ourselves. I always knew that marble is a luxury item, it is an expensive material in the interior, and I dreamed of having a project where I could apply it. I knew that it can be done in technology book-matchingwhich we used on our wall.

Four years ago no one here has even heard of it - this is a technique in which a stone block is cut in such a way that it folds or opens like a book. Because of this asymmetry, many people still think that the stone on the wall is artificial, but this is not so. Ever since my dad started taking me on trips, I had the idea that I would work in the family business after graduation. My dad always knew that he would send me to study abroad - another big thank you to him for his efforts. "Katya will study abroad - period." So at the age of seventeen I left for Canada, realizing that I needed to master a profession that would help to continue the work of my parents. I entered the faculty Arts and Business.

Arts - this is what is close to me, and Business - what I could apply in a family business.

Canada really came to me, everything worked out with me, I made a lot of friends - and in the end, instead of four, I lived there for seven years. Thanks to my parents for giving them the opportunity to be there for so long and to absorb that culture. Then I returned home and started working in my father's company - in the Kiev branch. But it didn't work out for me with Kiev - it was just for work. I took over the import management, that is, my job was to go to exhibitions, order stones, select them and offer them to projects in which we participated. I had many interesting hotels and private facilities. I liked the job, but there was always a feeling that I was playing by my father's rules. He, as a man in business, had his own vision. And I, with my already experience of working and studying in Canada, understood that I would do some things differently.

And: - I want to clarify right away: did you have a connection with jewelry before?

K: - Not at all.

And: - What prompted you to do them?

K: - Eight years ago, my dad and I went on a working trip to India, where at the same time a jewelry exhibition was taking place - I saw an announcement about this in our hotel. It was a wholesale exhibition - non-professionals were not allowed there, but I realized that I needed to go there, and by cunning I got there. At that time, it was in vogue Loree rodkin - at, in my opinion, inexpedient price for trendy jewelry. And then in India I saw that jewelry in almost the same aesthetics cost completely different money. In a la vintage aesthetics, with a large number of stones of any cut - India is rich in them.

I got a slight gold rush there - the world of these jewelry inspired me a lot.

There I also met an interesting Indian family who have been making handmade jewelry from generation to generation. We got into a conversation with the patriarch of the family - my grandfather, a very pleasant person. He saw that I was a stranger at the exhibition, and asked what I was doing there. I admitted that I choose jewelry for my mother, grandmother and sisters. He looked at what I chose and said: "You know, you have a disposition for this." We talked with him for a long time, he met my father, there was a very sincere conversation. And then he said: “I see that you really like it. I suggest you choose jewelry to your taste - pick up a box of jewelry, take it with you to Ukraine and try to sell it to your friends. " I was taken aback, because I did not expect to spend such an amount, but he said: "It's okay, if you come back home, you will pay me." It was a shocking experience for me, I asked to think for a couple of days. And in the end, this grandfather gave me a box of jewelry that I had chosen, absolutely trusting that upon arrival I would pay off with him. Dad said that if I like it, he will support me.

I was wildly scared, I didn't know if it would work out, but I felt that I had to try.

I arrived with this box in Ukraine and literally in a month everything that I brought was scattered among friends at the prices that I could offer. This is how it all began. Naturally, I paid off, and we worked with my grandfather for many years. We still have a very good relationship with him and with his son. Here's a story.

And: - Do you believe in the predestination of fate? 

K: - Yes, I believe in it. In general, I believe that each of us is here to find a way to ourselves, to know ourselves. Each of us has a predisposition to something that we do, through which we recognize ourselves. In my case, I am absolutely following my nature.

And: - Judging by this story, you very clearly hear the inner Katya, who guides you: “Katya, go to the exhibition. Katya, talk to your grandfather. Katya, take a chance. "

K: - I believe that a lot of people do a lot unconsciously, following the nature intended for them. Following intuitively. Often when a person asks the question: “What should I do? I can't find myself, ”we have to wait. Each person will come to the answer to this question quite accurately and intuitively, and he will fulfill his mission. No matter how the threads twist, they will still lead to what you should do with your life.

And: - Earlier we talked a lot with you about yoga. Tell us about how it happened in your life and how it affects you today.

K: - I came to yoga through inner pain, through loss. There was a close person in my life, a friend who left when I was 23 or 24, and for me it was a shock. Due to my youth, this was my first contact with the death of a loved one and a very serious shock. I urgently needed to get some answers, I wanted to understand if there is a continuation, if there is something more than the physical shell that we see. I began to devote a lot of time to reading on this topic - in search of some evidence for myself, to calm my mind.
As a result, six years after I began to be interested in this issue, the path led me to a guru in India, who today, in my understanding, is the only person who has the wisdom and experience to competently give answers and practices to self-knowledge, global issues , which personally excite me very much. Over time, it is very difficult to react to a situation philosophically when you are in it, and you can look at it from a different angle only when you are already at a distance from it. Probably, this situation was given to me in order for me to find this path.

And: - Listening to you, I come to the conclusion that your becoming on the path to yourself and your professional development are two parallel, but at the same time synchronized processes. How do such different Katis get along in you?

K: - This is a lot about self-acceptance. You understand that commerce and the spiritual are in conflict with each other. Often you can lose yourself in this commerce - the spiritual part suffers. But I have answers for myself and these questions too - it is my nature. I have to realize myself both in business and in a spiritual direction. Of course, this conflict sometimes reappears in my head, but in these cases I remind myself that this is my nature.

Now I'm more interested in commercial issues - and that's what I'm all about.

When I have satisfied this part, I will return to the spiritual. I began to accept this in myself, because I understand that I am not in conflict with my nature - my planets, my horoscope, which I studied, also speak about this. We all follow the path that we have on a subconscious level. All the answers are within us - sometimes we unconsciously answer questions with our actions, continuing to move in the right direction. It is difficult to connect these dots momentarily, but as time passes, you begin to understand why it happened that way.

And: - Let's now move on to my favorite part of the short questions and answers. What is your favorite part of the day?

K: - Evening. Relaxation period. And in the evening - watching a movie or during meditation - many ideas come to me.

And: - What is your favorite trait in yourself?

K: - Calmness.

And: - What is your unloved trait in people?

K: - Rudeness.

And: - What is your favorite pastime?

K: - Travel.

And: - Dinner or breakfast?

K: - Already breakfast, but before it was dinner, because it was the only meal. I once lived in such a regime.

And: - I believe that all people sooner or later come to the conclusion that breakfast is an important part of the day.

K: - 100%. For me, breakfast today is the tastiest and most healthy. But once I could not have breakfast, it was physically uncomfortable for me to eat in the morning, and before that I always ran. Not that I didn't eat on purpose - I didn't have such a need, I just had dinner.

And: - What is your favorite food?

K: - Avocado toast has been my favorite for years.

And: - What is your main achievement as a mother?

K: - I believe that my mission with Sonya is to educate in her an independent and self-sufficient person, a personality. Not a girl or a woman - it has nothing to do with gender. She should be independent and self-sufficient, she should be comfortable with herself, she should be on her feet, regardless of the situation.

And: - How did clothes become an important part of your life?

K: - This is most likely from my mother. She always loved shopping, took me with her, always dressed me well. I liked the way my mother dressed, I always looked and admired her style and the images that she came up with. The environment in which I grew up, in addition to my family, also influenced my style - in our school there was a cult of clothes, and from the first grade. The parents of the children paid a lot of attention to this - apparently, they had competition with each other. Therefore, I remember that I felt very good in new clothes. When I went to school in new clothes, I received compliments and it made me feel very good. I have a life story that now gives me a double feeling about clothes. As a child, I spent every summer with my grandmother and my cousin. I was dressed there in a country-style: a T-shirt, shorts - and ran. I remember we had very trendy rollerbladers in the area, and among them was a super talented roller - a nice guy who I really liked. I looked at his skill and decided that I needed to master roller skating. I bought myself rollers, learned how to skate perfectly, but this did not attract much attention to him. Later we were invited to a common birthday - a neighbor's get-together, and I decided to dress in all the best, as they say. And that evening the boy confessed his love to me.

And: - This is how it works!

K: - But it absolutely turned me away from him that very day. Therefore, I have a double feeling about how much you need this attribute. The right balance is important to me so that the clothes you wear do not overlap your personality.

I do not want to be seen the clothes I am wearing, but to see me.

And: - Tell us about your acquaintance with Ogonyok.

K: - When Ogonyok first opened, I was one of the first clients. Then we were not familiar with Vika Ogonyok at all. I even remember the first dress I bought from Vika - the AKHMADULLINA dress, by March 8th. Vika then, not knowing me, offered me a fairly generous discount, I was very pleased. Since then, we began to communicate, I started buying things from Vicki, and it all grew into a warm friendship. For me, Ogonyok is not a clothing store, it is a space, it is people, it is a connection, a lot of common thoughts, a vision of things. You yourself know how much I love to come to you and just sit, although I have a place to sit. I really like the way the Fire develops organically. Moreover, in addition to everything that I have listed, and the fact that in my wardrobe most of the things from Ogonyok are in my business, I can also say boldly, Ogonyok gave a start. The first pop-up event with decorations that I held was in Ogonyok. Before that, I met people in a cafe, where I could show my magic box, and at Vika's I laid it out - and we made a very successful pop-up. That is, we have a connection that has sprouted roots.

the end

I want to once again congratulate all readers on the holiday of spring! May this special day be filled with the same lightness that our conversation with Katya was permeated with. I hope you found something that resonates with you in this interview. Traditionally, below are some useful recommendations from Katya. 

From Kate:


Favorite book: Yogananda «Autobiography of a Yogi ”.

Favorite breakfast spot: a restaurant «Gaia».

Advice to our readers: Look at life philosophically and with a smile. Learn its lessons to develop further. Learn to hear yourself and not be afraid to take action.

Accept yourself and others as nature intended.


Style: Blazer Petar Petrov, dress and jewelry - property of Ekaterina

Photo: Nikita Zhuravlev

Editor: Diana Remizovskaya

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