I wanted to take a moment of your day and introduce you to the brains behind the operation here. Ngl I was very nervous for this interview because we wanted to kick things off with a bang!
And our first interview of this ‘Chit Chat’ series is with the big boss, the living legend that is Plyska. So Oat milk lattes in hand I joined Plyska in her office. We all call it the greenhouse because it gets the most intense rays of sunshine in the late afternoon.
Plyska is our PR and marketing Manager at Koi and she has worked here for two years. She is one of the brand's first employees. Today Plyska is wearing her signature look, a blazer, burnt orange today and she pairs this with her white Lizzies. Because I was nervous I asked the first question on my mind, the one I think tells you a lot about a person. What’s your go-to meal deal? Plyska takes a moment to think, she knows the weight of the questions.‘‘I’m gonna say a cheddar ploughmans, Doritos cheese and Starbucks drink. None of that is vegan.’ Awkward silence but we move and giggles swiftly on. And what did you eat for breakfast? Laughing Plyska tells me ‘A cigarette and a coffee. We have a saying in Bulgaria: it's the breakfast of champions. Not glamorising smoking or anything. It’s bad but I’m just European.’ Now that needs to go on a t-shirt.
Plyska was born in England but moved to Bulgaria with her family when she was eight, ‘I am half bulgerian and half english, I was born in England near Portsmouth and moved to Bulgaria. I did my foundation degree in Rotterdam in Holland and then I did my first two years of my fashion degree in Panasonic in Greece. From there I transferred to Preston. Everyone always laughs when I say that. Then the plan was to move to London and at the last moment I got this job offer in Manchester and I stayed.’
‘The plan was to do the whole course in Rotterdam but the course was not right for me. So I ended up just doing a foundation degree. I was always an overachiever and the idea of quitting was a big decision for me. I have never quit anything. But I remember knowing this was not right, it was not the place for me.’
It’s very important to know when something is not right for you. You must never be scared to say no to things that don’t make you happy. ‘My mum always says you have to say a lot of nos before you get to your yes! It sounds really cliche but I think it's true.’ You know what is painfully annoying the older you get the more you mum was right.
Do you have any secret talents or hobbies to share with us? Without pause Plyska says ‘Telling someone's nationality by the way they dress! It’s always the shoes that give them away. When I was younger my dad traveled a lot for work so we were always at the airport so my mum made a game for me and my sister to see if we could guess peoples nationalities. We got really good at it.’ Okay so what about their shoes gives people away? ‘So English people are always wearing really crisp white trainers.’ This is very true as I sit there British in my crisp white trainers.
Now I want to ask some quick fire questions to get to know our interviewee a little more personally. What book/movie/ tv show world would you live in? Without any hesitation Plyska tells me ‘The Bold Type, because it’s about girls sticking together and bossing their careers. The main event is not their love life, it's their career.’ And who was your first celebrity crush? ‘I am my own crush always. I was too busy being a girlboss.’ We both start laughing, this is the best answer.
What's your fave TikTok right now?
If we sent you to a desert island and you could only take three things, what are you taking? ‘Pinterest, my skincare routine I refuse to live without. I also wanna say my boyfriend but I also wanna say cheese. Or like iced coffee or Tommy it really depends on the day!’
Who is your role model right now?
‘My parents or future me.’
If you could swap lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why? ‘I would swap lives with a man. It’s just probably so much easier.’ There is a lot more to unpack there but we simply don’t have time!
What would you do if you were prime minister for a day? ‘Where do we start! Get up at 2am because it’s gonna be a fucking long day! Bridge the gender pay gap so women are paid what they deserve and if I still had time left I would make sure that education is free or more accessible.’ So you know just another day at the office really.
Why is education so important to you? ‘I would not be where I am now without the access to education that I had. And for some women and girls outside of England education is a luxury and I think it should be a human right because it opens more doors. I am a big education fan. I was blessed with my upbring and getting to go to a good school and meeting the people I did.I met so many people from different nationalities, different backgrounds, different religions I became so much more aware of the world because I realised my home was not the whole world and you open yourself up to different experience and ways to express yourself. I love buzzing off people and learning different things to find out what you are passionate about.’Join Malala Fund here to help women and girls learn and lead.
Is that something that makes you really happy, being around other people learning? ‘Lot’s of things! People doing things that make them happy makes me happy. Like you know when you see someone doing something they love and they are so happy it’s just so wholesome.’
‘The countdown to Christmas makes me very happy, I am a big Christmas fan. And work obviously makes me happy and when we all get to work together that makes me happy.’
I asked the question many of us wonder at uni so what does a marketing manager's role entail? ‘ I manage and oversee all marketing including but not limited to graphics, creative, PR, social, brand, collabs and CRM.’As a manager she is working with many different departments day to day and she does it with great hair, strong coffee and a big smile.
A Lot of people always ask us all here at Koi HQ, what it's like to work at Koi? ‘It’s just never ending but in a good way. It sounds really typical but my emails don’t stop, my messages don’t stop. I am being pinged all day, it just never ends. But in the best way possible.’
One of the most difficult things about fashion is actually getting your foot in the door. How did you get to your positions? ‘I started as a PR and Marketing Assistant out of Uni and just worked my way up. I really enjoyed doing events and then I got into collabs which I really enjoyed. Then there was the opportunity to go more into marketing which I took. This was scary because I had not done marketing specifically before. I had mostly started with more of the creative stuff, but you learn it. I remember the first day I logged into our CRM system and I was like what the fuck is this.’ at the same time we both say ‘literally what is a segment!’. We all learn as we do the job right? ‘Yes, You figure it out and you learn. With marketing it can be easy to do a lot of different things because everything is so interconnected and you can have your fingers in a lot of vegan pies as they say’ We have our hands in all sorts of strange bean pies at Koi. There is never ever a dull day.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into fashion and marketing? ‘Never say no to anything! ‘Very cliche but very true. Also don’t be confined to just your job role because you’ll never grow. Say yes to things you might not totally understand at the start but then you do it and you figure it out. There is such a stigma that you have to know exactly what you are doing when you come out of uni but that is not true! Noone knows what they are doing until they do it. Then you keep learning and what is the worst that could happen? Initiative is more important than being safe! We take a moment to discuss the importance of trusting your intuition and neither of us would be doing what we are today without trusting ourselves.
“Trust yourself, what's the worst that could happen?''
After taking a moment to check the recording was still working and take a sip of coffee with too much honey I need to know what is your favourite campaign we have ever done? Plyska takes a long pause to think because she has worked here since the early days there have been many shoots. ‘Shoot wise personally the Kind Clown camping creative was unmatched. And then collab wise I would say the Monami shoot was perfect and very onbrand for both of us.’
A part of Plyska’s job is working with a lot of influencers so who is your favourite influence?‘I’m a huge Insta fan as we all are and I am obsessed with Tamara Kalinic and I have followed her ever since she had 100 followers.’
Now I need to ask, have you ever stolen something from a set? The chair I am sitting on.‘It took me a few weeks to rack up the nerve to take it from the studio. ‘We really have a collection of stolen chairs in Plyska’s office. Which is your favorite? ‘I am gonna have to say Kev but I am really biased!'
And that’s where we are going to wrap things up with Kev as always.
To help women in education please visit Malala Fund here.