Interview with Elena Shlenkina, leading expert on the Italian furniture market

Interview with Elena Shlenkina, leading expert on the Italian furniture market

February, 2024

Elena, how did you get into the furniture business? And why are you working with Italian brands?

Naturally and, at the same time, by chance. In my opinion, every woman has a keen interest in interior design. The main role inherent in us, women, is the role of the keeper of the hearth. In my situation, such an interest became fundamental for further professional actions. Everything is simple here. Since my youth, I have been in love with the magnificent nature, art and people of Italy. And, quite by chance, during one of my trips to this country, I became acquainted with the craftsmanship of Italian furniture factories. Which, as a result, became a passion and a matter of further life.

What qualities are important to run such a successful agency?

Thank you for your mark! Here, your own ability to work and readiness to solve different situations at any time of the day play a role. For example, the willingness to adapt one’s strength to different time zones: from Vladivostok to Italy. Competence based on market awareness in general and individual companies. Well-structured work with partners and self-discipline. The ability to understand the positions of several parties in the work process and the willingness to propose a solution at the right time that will have a positive impact on further work. All of the above are universal requirements. And, of course, let’s not forget about intuition.

Do you consider yourself a successful businesswoman?

In my opinion, the term “Women boss” is appropriate here. In general, yes. Going deeper into the details… Like any normal person, I sometimes criticize myself and analyze the situation: this issue could have been resolved differently. Recognizing the gaps, I draw conclusions for the future. I don’t really trust people who claim to be unconditionally successful.

What is your favorite brand that you represent?

My choice of brands and factories falls solely on what I like. A comparison with children can be applied here: everyone is good in their own way, but loved equally.

Is there a factory you would like to represent?

It seems that our partners represent almost all interior trends. Adding new names would largely be a duplication of the existing one.

Which stands impressed you in Paris and Cologne?

In Paris, Fendi Casa and Ritz Paris showed themselves convincingly. There were several factors: the expected success, the huge attendance of the exhibition by international professionals. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the capsule collection from Luxury Living Group, designed by designer Paul Mathieu. From the collection’s items, a hotel suite was recreated down to the smallest detail in a discreetly luxurious style. Cologne, as is usually the case, did not impress with radical novelty from the Italians; Mainly, factories played with new finishes, materials, keeping new products. as such, to the Milan Furniture Salon. However, the area and content of the exhibitions have noticeably increased. For example, Molteni&C, Desalto (Italy) and Kettal (Spain). This speaks not only of the brands’ serious intentions towards the North and Central European markets, but also of the successes already achieved there. By the way, Kettal – the leader in the outdoor range – for the first time, a little unexpectedly, but very successfully, appeared at Orgatec – the last office exhibition in Cologne.

What do you expect from Milan (iSalone) in April?

As always – audacity and freedom from little-known designers and workshops, including in our country. Their creations push the boundaries of our perception, often conditioned by the mainstream, and force us to remember that interior design is not only about furniture. From the giants of the furniture market – a little crazy and unique from stand to stand trends calculated by marketers.

Are you a happy woman? What is happiness?

Yes. I have a wonderful family and a favorite job.

What is your favorite place in the office, at home, in the world?

In the office I am constantly on the move. There is probably no permanent place where I could be found. At home – a cozy reading chair. Any place in the world.

How do you spend August when all the factories are on vacation?

I try to completely withdraw my consciousness from any work moments in order to recover. We all need a reboot. Rest, for me, is the sea, mountains and clean air. And, of course, your favorite book is at hand.

What is your advice for our readers for April?

The main thing is that we are waiting for the maximum number of readers in Milan. I am sure that they will not be able to pass by the stands of our factories indifferently. The main thing here is to have time to realize and reflect on your impressions of the exhibition before the May

Got a question?
We would love to help you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.