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Natalia Smirnova, Entrepreneur & Founder of EasyBusy, Prenzlauer Berg

May 9, 2017

Natalia was born and raised in Moscow but departed the capital for St.Petersburg as soon as she finished school to attend university. She immediately fell in love with the city and shortly began to work in a publishing house alongside her studies. After gaining some experience in the publishing field, the desire grew for something beyond just a stable career. Together with a colleague she quit her job to found her own company. “We created the first full service literary agency in Russia”. It quickly gained momentum. “After all, we were two girls starting something really new and brave” Natalia recalls with a smile.

The agency represented some of Russia’s most prominent authors, a time which Natalia remembers as a delirious  kaleidoscope of meetings, parties and constant negotiations. When she fell pregnant, such a lifestyle was not entirely sustainable so she decided to take a break from the agency,  re-directing herself through freelance translation work and enjoying a new role in her life: being a mother.

Two kids and a few years later Natalia (and her second husband) decided to move to Berlin where her adventurous and entrepreneurial side found a new lease of life. Here she opted to establish a kindergarten, and began work on a new project with an enviable energy. While still being very new to the culture and the language, she was nevertheless able to set-up appointments with local authorities, sign a lease for the space and build-up a network. Unfortunately the incomprehensible amount of paperwork and the generally non-collaborative spirit of local authorities take its toll on her so she decided to tweak the original idea to avoid some of the hassle and so the concept of a family friendly space EasyBusy, was born: a place where adults can come to work, enjoy a cup of coffee and learn something new. All of that while their children are being tended to by babysitters in a dedicated play room. Natalia also offers workshops for kids where the little participants can make art, learn to dance, or bond with their parents while singing together.

Her own children (3-year-old Piotr and 6-year-old Vera) often decide to join in on the workshops as well. Adapting to the new environment was not completely easy for them. Going to the new kindergarten and finding friends in a new language took some time but both managed to eventually find their way. Vera recently started school and is doing exceptionally well. “She learns really fast! Out of all of us, she probably speaks German the best now” laughs Natalia.

It took Natalia some time to figure out the specifics of doing business in Germany but she is now on path. Through the work and dedication of herself, and friend Elena Mordmillovich, EasyBusy becoming a real community hub. The two girl bosses are constantly generating ideas for various events to help people learn, network and connect. Delicious family brunches are going to appear on the schedule soon and there are a number of other exciting projects planned over Summer.

Visit their website or like them on Facebook to stay tuned about the new developments and get information about upcoming workshops and events. Please click through the picture gallery above for more pictures of Natalia. 

*Written by our guest author Lera Nicoletti
**Photographed by Beatrice Grundheber

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