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PIATRAONLINE SUPPLEMENT/ MARIANA CONSTANTINESCU BRĂDESCU, MANAGING PARTNER PIATRAONLINE:"Stone is the foundation which I built my business on"

EMILIA OLESCU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

The pandemic will lead to a worldwide economic stagnation, which will definitely be felt on the Romanian market, thinks Mariana Constantinescu Brădescu, Managing Partner Piatraonline.

In her opinion, the coming crisis will not be confined to real estate, but rather will be a stagnation on all segments, internationally. "This time, the hotspot in the crisis, is not the construction and real estate segment, but the pandemic, and therefore, I think we have a chance of not feeling effects that harsh like other segments", the owner of Piatraonline told us.

On the segment she represents - that of natural stone -, reports indicate a market value of 80 million Euros in 2018.

Referring to the evolution of her company, Mariana Constantinescu Brădescu told us, in an interview: "2019 had a lot of activity, newly launched projects and challenges. We have achieved the goals we had set for 2019 and we have laid the groundwork for a 2020 with greater challenges, but we did not know how great those challenges would be once the pandemic Covid 19 pandemic started. In 2019 we have launched a new department, that of B2B, a department dedicated to professionals in the segment, which has as its goal to bring added value to the Romanian construction market.

Our exports, until 2020, were, in a way, part of the B2C department, only this year did we come on the market with an export department that will be dedicated exclusively to this segment of customers and we expect this year to be official launch pad for this new business segment within Piatraonline ".

The Piatraonline business was started 13 years ago, "when people only knew about curbs, so, just granite and public works", like Mariana Constantinescu-Bradescu, the company's managing partner, says. She said that, since at that time, stone was mostly used in public works area, her mission was to educate people to use that type of product in the case of private projects.

The Constantinescu couple adapted their business to the market requirements. They say that the segment they entered was not completely untouched back then, as a market which had a history already existed, in the sense that there was a number of public buildings decorated with Ruşchiţa marble or Romanian travertine.

The need to educate the public generated a sustained marketing campaign, the difference being made by travertine, which, last year, accounted for approximately 55-60% of the company's sales. Piatraonline initially focused mainly on the business to customer (B2C) system, working directly with individuals, gradually moving to business to business (B2B), therefore delivering products to projects initiated by developers. In 2012-2013, people began to notice the value of stone, and in 2017 some of the customers moved on to a new stage and turned to architects for the landscaping area.

The company started online, but also with a store of about 200 square meters. In 2013, the surface was increased to 1,000 square meters, after an investment of 300,000 euros, followed by an investment of another 700,000 euros. Piatraonline began to add value to its business after opening a production line in 2014, at its headquarters in Bucharest.

In recent years, the Piatraonline franchise has been the company's largest project.

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