What does consciousness truly mean in business? Why shouldn’t we complicate our lives unnecessarily? How does one develop an owner’s perspective for their business?

In the third part of Zsolya Communication’s new, inspiring interview series featuring female entrepreneurs, we sat down with Ivett Szemrád, the owner of Zenda FSHN, to talk about entrepreneurial identity, consciousness in business, and the specific practical way of thinking that is necessary for running your own company. 

After 18 years of working in the printing industry, Ivett decided to start her own business in the midst of a personal crisis. In January 2017, she gave herself six months to develop her idea, and in September of the same year, she opened her own women’s clothing store, Zenda FSHN. Since then, she has consistently worked on improving both herself and her business.

With a playful smile on her face, sparkling eyes, and immense enthusiasm in her voice, she tells the story of how it all came together and where she’s headed now.

Written by Orsolya Temesvári.



Please, tell me about the quality that truly defines your entrepreneurial identity. How did you get here? What role did consciousness play in this?

Few people know that I had my own businesses before Zenda. I think many assume that I just opened the store, and everything went smoothly. But the truth is that I acquired the mindset required for entrepreneurship, which I believe is essential through previous business experiences. Now, Zenda is 100% mine, as a result of a conscious decision. But I had my own journey towards here, it has been taking me quite a bit of time to develop myself.

The most significant lesson is developing my owner’s perspective, without which I believe it’s impossible to run a business. Many find it difficult to step out of the employee mindset, and in my opinion, those who can’t, shouldn’t start their own businesses. It’s entirely different when you’re playing with someone else’s money at a multinational company, versus in a small business with your own money. The owner always injects their own money into the company, and if there’s any problem, it’s their pain.

Another very important principle for me is the belief that there’s no such thing as “impossible.” Of course, I have bad days too when I feel like what I’ve planned can’t be done. In those moments, either Orsi (Orsolya Szabó Dr., founder of Zsolya Communication) puts things in a different perspective for me, or I sit down, think it through, and somehow, we always manage to find a solution. I believe that without this, neither my business, nor my life would work.


What or who can you reach out to in these difficult moments?

Firstly, the community I’ve built around myself is essential. I’m very grateful for my followers, customers, friends, and my therapist; without them, none of this could work. They’ve helped me tremendously over the years to build Zenda.

At the same time, it’s a significant motivating force to be raising a little boy on my own (half of the time, at least). I don’t have a safety net or a family background that would financially support me in any way. Bills come in, and I also have to think about how I’ll educate my child.

How do you manage your community of almost 30 thousand women? 

It was easier when there were fewer of us; back then, I shared much more personal stuff. Now, there are so many of us that I need to protect my privacy.

I had to set boundaries because there were times when I read stories about myself on social networks or someone came to the store and said, ‘Oh, I know what’s going on with you; I read your posts.’ I just smiled quietly and thought, ‘Of course.’

Of course, I love my community, I adore that it’s shared with intelligent, sensible women. The membership could be much higher if I had just aimed for numbers, but for me, the quality of the community is way more important. I’m grateful that I don’t have to explain anything in this group, because the girls know that this group is mine, I put it together, it’s like we’re chatting in my living room, so everyone communicates accordingly.

Was there anything related to the group or your followers that you found challenging? For example, when someone left the group or unfollowed you…

A few years ago, in the first post where Pride was the topic, and I stood up for all these values in my own style, many commented that I shouldn’t write about this, shouldn’t be concerned with it, because it’s a group related to fashion.

There are things in my life that are either black or white. This issue is one of them. I don’t compromise on this. If I feel that someone is way out of line with my values and expresses it in an unacceptable manner, I will ask them to leave the group. I also understand that I’m making a living from the customers’ money, and I respect that, but there’s a limit I won’t let anyone cross.

Also, there have been times when people made comments about me, saying I look ugly or that I shouldn’t show off myself; that always hurts a lot. Usually, this happens when someone accidentally stumbles into the group and has no idea what’s going on, thinking it’s a casual chat group. Fortunately, in such cases, the other members set a good example, which helps a lot.



What is the shopping experience like at Zenda? What does someone experience when they come to your store?

If you come to our store, we welcome you with love, and we hope it’s not too crowded (laughs).

I say this because having too many people can be a challenge for us at times, as we operate like any other store. We welcome everyone during opening hours; there’s no need to make an appointment with us.

My goal is for everyone to find the piece of clothing that makes them feel good. If I see someone feeling even slightly uncomfortable in a piece of clothing, even if I think it suits them, I dissuade them, because they probably have plenty of clothes at home that they bought and never wear. I love it when people buy something from me and wear it until it’s worn out because they love it.

I remember that you had an open abdominal muscle surgery; how did the store operate without you? What preparations were needed?

I had to photograph everything in advance, but this is also the case when I travel. Fortunately, after the surgeries, I didn’t have to recover much; I was already wandering around the store on Friday after the surgery on Tuesday.

In general, this is how it works; we always photograph in advance, we work ahead for several weeks.

I wasn’t very good at math, but fortunately, I’m really good at the level required for running a business (smiles). Everything is on a spreadsheet; my accountant always says that I even have spreadsheets for my spreadsheets, which helps a lot. I always know exactly where my business finances stand, how much money I have in merchandise, and where I am currently.

Have you ever overwhelmed yourself? I’m specifically thinking about the emotional and mental aspects related to your business.

Not with Zenda. I now know my limits; I don’t want to be a hero. I did it before I turned 35, but not anymore.

I think growth leaps are the most challenging. When I started, all I could see was getting started, selling the first collection. Then gradually, we needed more clothes, a bigger space, a larger car, and I had to hire the first employee.

All of this was always preceded by thorough preparation because, as I mentioned, I can only rely on myself, and my son’s safety always comes first. Therefore, I don’t plan any significant growth leaps now.



As we talk, it’s clear to me that you’re a very experienced and conscious entrepreneur. Over the past few years, who have you learned the most from?

I don’t like learning in the traditional sense, so I acquire knowledge through practice. I read a lot of news, economic articles, listen to podcasts, and talk to others. I channel the gathered information into my own work. And if I have any questions, I keep asking until I understand the answer.

Additionally, it always helps me a lot when I think through my current situation with practical wisdom. Nowadays, I miss this in people a lot; I don’t understand why we complicate everything. In general, the simplest idea is the best.

What about conscious marketing?

I’m experiencing a harsh crisis now, and it’s not just for a few months or a year; it’s much longer.

With Orsi and the Zsolya team, we’re working on an extremely conscious marketing strategy to try to get ahead of the crisis, but it’s questionable how long this is possible.

I’m working in the printing industry, I saw that marketing expenses were the first thing companies cut during a crisis, because it’s invisible. But in reality, that is needed the most.

Today, you can send anything to the other side of the world; anyone can be reached on the internet. Therefore, I believe that if your business isn’t doing well, you should rethink your marketing; reducing the budget for it is foolish.

Where do you draw this very sincere, open, and firm leadership attitude from?

Perhaps it’s an innate trait. I’ve never tolerated injustice from either side; I always stand up for what’s important to me. Of course, I do this without wanting to be offensive or hurt anyone.

I aim for absolute partnership, fairness, and honesty. There’s nothing fake in my life.



What are your plans for the future?

I’ve wanted to open a store and move abroad for a long time.

But when I first communicated this desire, I felt the same as when I started Zenda. Everyone had some advice; everyone shared their opinions, and suddenly, I felt like everyone knew better than me how to live my own life.

That’s why I don’t like talking too much about my plans, because unsolicited advice and projection of fear and uncertainties onto me can really bring me down.

I usually say that, sure, let’s share our plans with our environment, but well… maybe not.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

People often ask me if I would start over. Now, in the current situation, I’m not sure. However, I always encourage everyone to dive in, make their ideas a reality. It’s worth starting small, and then grow step by step. If you do something, do it wholeheartedly; don’t look for excuses for why something can’t be done.

Anything can be achieved if you truly want it.

Thank you for the conversation.


We trust that Ivett’s story inspires you to dare to dream, plan, and live the life you truly want. 

Stay with us on the Zsolya Communication blog for more episodes of the inspiring series about female entrepreneurs. If you have any ideas about whose life you’d like to be inspired by, send your suggestions to hello@zsolya.com.