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Exploring Life & Business with Diana Albrecht of Apartment No.3

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Albrecht. 

Hi Diana, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I have been a ballet dancer pretty much all my life (since I was 3 y.o. and professionally since 16) at 18 I came to the US from my country Paraguay to pursue my dream of becoming a ballet dancer, and through a ballet Grand Prix competition in NYC, I got my first professional contract as a ballet dancer at the Washington Ballet in Washington DC. I then moved to dance for the Boston Ballet in Boston MA where I also got my Business Management degree at Northeastern University. In 2017 I started to look at how to explore other passions of mine. I love to learn about cultures, I love home decor and design, and as I was finishing school, I started to develop this drive for having my own business. I began to develop a few ideas and designs of products I wanted to make, and with the help of my father in Paraguay, we decided to collaborate with artisans in my country and create a line of products that blended traditional crafting techniques with modern design. We work directly with artisans, which is one of the most important parts of my business. I have now expanded my line of products, create my own designs and collaborate with artisans in India, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia, among others. I love learning about the story and tradition behind each crafting technique. At the same time, we aim to help artisans who need their products to gain exposure and recognition beyond local markets. I retired from dancing professionally two years ago, moved to Tampa over a year ago and I am a full-time shop owner now 🙂 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Although it is extremely fulfilling to have your own business and see it grow, it has its hurdles, and it has not been easy. My business operates online, but in 2019 I decided to start selling my products in local craft markets in Boston, and participate in events around the city to expose my products. It was great to be able to connect with people, see their reactions and hear what they thought about the crafts. Besides being rewarding, being able to sell in person gave me a sense of what products people were liking the most and helped me gain insights into the direction my business should go. In 2020 Covid hit and all markets suspended operations, all the markets I had scheduled were canceled, my business was still very new, and losing the opportunity to sell in markets was a big challenge for us. 

However, we had to pivot and accommodate to the circumstances, so I decided to focus all my energy into growing online. I introduced new products, my boyfriend and I moved to Tampa and worked non-stop to optimize my website and find a way to grow online. 

I believe that challenges and resilience often help you unlock your hidden potential, build strength and discover your capabilities. Even though it was a challenging moment, it really pushed us to work on our online presence and improve our business model. These past couple years have been intense, considering I personally manage every aspect of the business with the help of my boyfriend, so we have been busy but all the challenges and big changes (including changing cities) are paying off. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We work with artisans, and artists from all over the world to bring high-quality products for you and your home. All of our products are handcrafted with a lot of attention to detail, and either hand-picked, curated, or designed and made exclusively for our shop. Apartment No.3 was inspired by my passion for arts, cultures, home decor, and my desire to make a positive impact across communities of artisans that are deserving of exposing their crafts beyond local markets. What makes us different and take pride in is that our goals are to create a lifestyle brand with products that are not mass-produced, we want to have a direct relationship with artisans, so we understand the crafting process and learn about their stories, avoiding middlemen. We aim to celebrate time-tested traditional techniques and blend it with innovative modern design. 

What makes you happy?
Surprising myself. Being surprised by the achievements of the business, that I am an immigrant woman going after achieving the American dream for the second time, this time in business. Being surprised by the small victories every day, and to see that by pushing myself into growing this business we are directly benefiting many artisans, families, communities around the world that need support. It makes me happy that I can provide products that truly make people’s homes feel special, cozier, comfier, and that makes them feel happy. I feel that life is all about doing things that are fulfilling to you and this whole supply chain process that involves designing products, working one-on-one with artisans, shipping the products to the final consumer, and reading their reviews, emails, or seeing their reactions on social media is extremely fulfilling. 

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