Ina Semionova is a product designer at Vinted. She shared her story about her main inspirations in life and her attitude towards sustainability which has its roots in her own family.
What do you do at Vinted and why?
Here I work as a product designer. In a nutshell, my job is to create the best user experience for Vinted members. This position makes my daily to-do list vary greatly! For example, one day I’m trying to see into company business goals and define user problems, whereas another – I’m thinking of design solutions, participating in user interviews or even consulting with the legal team. Every day is very dynamic, and you rarely feel bored with your routines here! This is why I love Vinted – its environment drives your personal growth.
What do you like most about Vinted?
An opportunity to grow is probably my favourite thing here. I’ve been working at Vinted for two years already, and I still feel like there’s room to grow and there are interesting challenges waiting to be solved. For me, that’s very exciting because usually I get bored in one place after two years! Constant personal growth and self-development are very important for me. Vinted has the perfect environment for that – your professional ambitions are well-guided by your mentors and nicely equipped with a learning budget. You just need to show willingness and not to be scared of a change!
Vinted also stands out with its people. It’s an organization full of curious, enthusiastic, well-educated and caring people. It’s not only nice to meet all of them, but also learn from each other and share different experiences!
Last but not least is the main company’s goal. By working here you have an exceptional opportunity to be a part of a big social change – promote circular and sustainable fashion. And I think this aspect is very important in nowadays society.
What does sustainability mean to you?
For me, sustainability is a conscious choice to be less wasteful and more nature-focused. We live in abundance of things and there’s a great need for a shift from extrinsic to intrinsic values. So stripping everything down to the basics and leaving only the things that are indeed necessary is, in my belief, the way we should follow now.
Which is your favourite ever Vinted purchase?
It’s a jacket from a small German brand. Actually, I bought it a while ago, but still wear it quite a lot! It’s a high-quality and very versatile garment suitable for many occasions. To be honest, before joining Vinted team, I had no idea I could find such amazing things on the second-hand market!
Who and what inspires you?
Many things inspire me in different ways. Mostly it’s art, cinema and music gigs. I used to visit art galleries while travelling, but now when I don’t have this opportunity I like scrolling through Pinterest or watching old movies. Actually, I’m a bit obsessed with looking for interesting colour palettes and compositions in interiors, fashion and movie shots!
I also love looking at paint or design documentaries on YouTube. Something about a secluded artist’s life has always been very appealing to me. Spending time by thinking about the nature of things, mixing paint for me seems very unmodern and extraordinary in today’s fast-paced, work-possessed world.
What were the biggest influences in your professional field?
It’s definitely my family – very hard-working, DIY-oriented and creative people! None of them are actual artists, but they always strive to be original by making their own pieces of furniture or altering clothing. Such atmosphere made me quite resourceful and persistent, which I believe are useful personal qualities for a designer!
Another big inspiration for me is Ash Thorp. He’s a self-taught multidisciplinary designer, 3D artist, illustrator, photographer and filmmaker. I actually studied history in university, and have no other formal education in design or development. Thus, at the beginning, such motivational people as Ash Thorp inspired me to pursue a different career path and helped me realize that everything is possible with hard work and clear goals!
How do you keep a work-life balance?
Honestly, for me it’s a constant struggle to keep balance in life! I need to be conscious of my decisions and know when to stop, do nothing, don’t feel bad about it and even enjoy it. When working towards a certain goal, I often forget that downtime is as important as the hustle itself. But don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to glorify workaholism as it’s quite dangerous for personal health.
Actually, getting a dog has helped me with that immensely. Now I spend at least an hour in nature every day. My dog Nike gets to run around freely and I have some quiet time to organize my thoughts. Also, I don’t open my computer after working hours and silence all the notifications. I believe you can always reach a person by calling if it’s indeed important! I also like calming my mind down by reading some books or listening to my favourite music.
What are you reading at the moment?
Usually, I read several books at a time. I also listen to audiobooks when I’m driving. I just love consuming information and I have to make an effort to quiet down my mind! Here are three books I’m reading at the moment:
The first is Alice Knott by Blake Butler – a weird, brain-twisting, apocalyptic, sometimes even uncomfortable to read novel telling about art, family and memory. This is not some summery, holiday or feel-good read that you can easily breeze through and just forget. It’s a book that demands to stop, think and savour the language.
Another one is Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins. Actually, I’m quite embarrassed to admit I’m listening to this audiobook! However, one of my goals for 2020 was to become more financially aware. It’s one of those subjects that has always seemed boring, and I was just simply ignoring it for a very long time! This book is not a deep dive into the finance world, but a nice primer for more serious stuff.
The last book I’m currently reading is The Making of a Manager written by Julie Zhuo. Actually, this book has become a classic read at Vinted office! A lot of colleagues have read and recommended this, so there are many on the waiting list. This is not surprising because the book is very practical. It helps you grasp management role better in a very easy to understand way. I’m currently just trying out the waters of what it means to lead people, so this has been very helpful for me so far!
What music do you like to listen to?
Mostly punk, sometimes metal, and all the music genres in-between these two! Previously, I used to be much more adventurous and liked searching for new and interesting sounds all the time. However, now I don’t have enough time to do this, so I stick to the same genres and just enjoy it.
If you could host a dinner and invite three people, who would you invite and why?
First of all, a perfect dinner of mine would contain three things – great food, lots of laughs and interesting stories! So I’d definitely invite a French photographer, illustrator and author Garance Dore, an American chef and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain as well as Trevor Noah – a South African comedian, writer and producer. All of them are amazing storytellers with their authentic lives and extraordinary experiences! They inspire me a lot in setting my goals and making my own path in life too.