We had the good fortune of connecting with Xenia Mateiu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xenia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I opened Village Rock Shop in 2018 in Carlsbad, California. I was always fascinated by crystals, minerals, and gemstones, by their growth patterns and the environment in which they form. For me, opening this business was a way of sharing my passion for crystals and gems with others but also a way of taking my work life into my own hands.
Village Rock Shop fits well with my flexible lifestyle, with my passion for photography, and gives me the opportunity to keep growing and learning something new constantly.
Social impact: How does your business help the community or the world?
I like to collaborate with other local small businesses and artists and support each other while we keep the local culture alive. The relationships we formed helped us feel more secure and were especially helpful in the last two pandemic years.
Village Rock Shop is a place where local artisans can share their work with the community; it’s a place where anyone can come to admire the butterflies we grow in the store and where the community can purchase ethically sourced crystals and gemstones.
I hope the shop can enrich the community’s life by providing everyone with a place for meaningful interactions.
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Risks are inevitable but are an important part of growing personally and as a business. And, as an entrepreneur, you need to learn to adapt and change your strategy when needed. We can’t always calculate and predict the risks our businesses will face, but we can try to find new ways of keeping things going.
As I’m sure happened with other small businesses, the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on my store. You can look at this kind of situation and feel demotivated or you can take it as an opportunity to learn something new. I tried to adapt and focus on strengthening my e-commerce platform and investing in SEO.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
The most important factor behind my success is the realization that I can not do everything alone, that I need others’ support. Sometimes it feels difficult to ask for help, but you simply can manage everything alone for your business.
As your business grows I needed to learn to trust others with tasks and to rely on them; to learn how to collaborate with others harmoniously and listen to others’ suggestions for making the work more efficient.
I know we like to think of ourselves as very capable and in control of our successes but I believe that collaboration is the key.
How to know whether to keep going or to give up?
I’m not so sure about that. I guess there are many factors that you need to consider when you decide whether to keep going or not. And the way you prioritize these factors is up to you.
I would say it’s important to take a look at how your business makes you feel emotionally, financially, and even physically. If it brings you the joy you need and it doesn’t put you in a position where you have to sacrifice important aspects of your personal life, then keep doing what you do.
Then you could take into consideration how your business is beneficial for others, for your customers and your partners and how your work makes others feel good.
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?
Balance is probably what we all strive for the most and what we are working towards. Having a good work life-balance is very important and in theory, balance is what is ideal. I feel that my schedule always shifts to where I am needed more, work, home, website, other responsibilities, and it’s necessary to stay flexible and prioritize my time to where it is needed most. And sometimes when I feel I don’t have time for self-care or a break, I most definitely have to carve out time for it. I’ve realized that I am a lot more efficient if I have a good self-care routine and enjoy my time at work and home so much more.
What makes you happy? Why?
When I think about my store and business, what really makes me happy is to see the growth. Looking at each year and realizing how much we have grown not just on paper, but personally. All the trials and errors have amounted into learning new things and I personally feel so humbled and enriched by the experience gained over the years.
How do you define success?
Success is more like a journey than a destination. It’s a journey toward your goals and desires. And I know it sounds like you have to reach a target to feel successful, but I believe this target which represents your goals and wishes is also changing with time and can be flexible. It develops hand in hand with your personal journey, with knowing your intentions and goals, and we have to contribute to this journey by putting in the effort, time, and resources.
In other words, success means to me growing while following your heart.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started this business because I wanted to be both in love with my work and independent and I’m happy to see Village Rock Shop grow little by little. It’s also very satisfying to see our efforts as a Village Rock Shop team pay off.
I do have, like any business owner, more difficult times when I start to worry about the shop or my personal time, but I try to stay positive and charge my energy and remember I am not alone.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say that Village Rock Shop has managed to develop and grow because I was not alone in this process. The community, the people from my personal life, the coworkers, and the shop’s suppliers all contributed to what I see as a successful business today.
Xenia Mateiu and Village Rock Shop