TOP Slovenia Interview: Andreja Freyer

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Andreja Freyer has been working in the media and PR industry for years, where she successfully lead many projects. Most recently she has launched a website called Nepremagljiva.si where she works with alongside famous Slovenian singer Rebeka Dremelj. She is also the other half of the dynamic duo with Melinda Rebrek, with who she organizes events called Skrivna večerja.

We recently had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Andreja Freyer to talk about her life, projects and so much more.

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Calm, professional, honest, kind, competitive.

You are an editor-in-chief, could you tell us in a few words what does your job look like? We assume every day is a bit different. 

It involves a lot of planning, researching for interesting topics and coordinating a team of writers, experts and influencers that work for the website nepremagljiva.si. Since it is an online media, I also have to carefully follow analytics, creating posts and stories on social media – you know, usual stuff in 2020 :). I am also a co-owner of the brand nepremagljiva.si which I share with one of the most popular Slovene personalities, singer, influencer, and my dear friend, Rebeka Dremelj, so I am also fully involved in developing the brand, creating strategies, … You got the picture ;).

I worked in journalism for almost half of my life, and this has become my lifestyle, but a few years ago a situation, I lost my job, forced me to change my career. So, now I have to run a few businesses simultaneously. Along nepremagljiva.si, I am also an owner of a PR Agency and I work for brands like Ljubljana Fashion Week and shoe retailer Mass, and I also organize Secret Dinner events with my friend and business partner Melinda Rebrek.

A boring question perhaps, but what is the biggest challenge in your field of work?

Well, at nepremagljiva.si, the biggest challenge is of course how to create a content that attracts readers, how to make it useful and helpful, and how to persuade readers and followers to keep on visiting and spending time at our women’s place as we call nepremagljiva.si. Our target group are women 35+ and they are really demanding, they know who they are and what they want, but luckily I am 45 + so I know what topics are the most popular. The biggest challenge at Secret Dinner, Skrivna večerja, is to create a wow effect in the beginning that lasts until the end. I think Melinda and I are really good at that, but still, you should never fall into a routine, every Secret Dinner is a challenge for itself. As long as PR is concerned, things are happening fast, especially with the Covid-19 situation, I have to react instantly.

What brings you great joy at work?

I love communication, writing, challenges, but most of all, I love people, this is where it all starts from. The greatest joy is of course the result of my work- happy readers, happy Secret Dinner guests and happy clients.

We imagine that your job must be quite stressful, especially since you are managing a lot of people along the way. How do you deal with the stress? Do you have any advice for us on how to handle the stressful jobs?

Maybe 10 years ago I would call it stressful, but not anymore. At age of 45 I am quite experienced, I know better how to communicate, how to make statements, how to establish the workflow, and I have become really good at time management. In my opinion, these are crucial things to you’re your professional life less stressful. And I also believe that it is really important to take time for yourself. Along all of my jobs, I have to coordinate a teenage son, a six-year-old daughter and husband who is also very busy. I love my family, my work, my friends, but no one can take better care for me than myself. I work out every day, I like to eat good food and I am a sparkling wine lover. So, I make sure I also take time for these three things. 

You are also the woman behind the Secret dinners in Slovenia alongside Melinda Rebrek, where you two worked with some of the best Slovenian chefs. Can you tell us how you met Melinda and where did you get the idea for this amazing project?

I met Melinda a few years ago, through work. We quickly established a connection since we share the same passion for work, life, good food, and wine, and for a while, she shared my enthusiasm for workouts. So, one day we were sweating on Rožnik and started talking about food and then events and how we have to start a business together that involves food and events. Very soon, a few days after, we developed an idea for a Secret Dinner. We created a brand, set the date, set the location – Križevniška church in Ljubljana, called Chef Bine Volčič to be our first guest Chef, and he immediately said yes. And that was it. You know, when Melinda and I set our minds to do something, we will do it.

Photo: Ana Gregorčič

What was the initial response from the public about Secret Dinners in Slovenia?

Well, the truth is the first Secret Dinner and also the second was a bit of unknown territory for us and for guests. We both – us and guests – did not know what to expect, although Melinda and I were experienced in event planning and PR, still, there was a certain level of unknown. But luckily we learn quickly and we know how to learn from our mistakes, and the third dinner was really a smooth ride. Since we are a nation of food lovers, the public quickly recognized us and now we have some regular guests, especially popular Valentine’s Secret Dinner events. 

How many events have you organized by now and which chefs have participated in Secret dinners in Slovenia?

We have organized 11 “regular” Secret Dinners and a few Secret Dinners on demand. This Means we organized them as a Team Building event or part of a FAM trip. We have worked with some really great and renowned Chefs as Bine Volčič, Boštjan Rakar, Alma Rekić, Uroš Mijailović, Ivo Tomšič, Marko Gorela, Tomaž Bratovž, …

We can hardly imagine how much work goes into preparing an event like Secret Dinners. Could you walk us through how you organize an event like this? How do you choose the chefs and locations?

Yes, it is a lot of work, but we are very organized and very focused. Usually, we choose a location first, we make research on the story of the place and then we start thinking about who would be the best Chef to match the story and the food. Then the fun begins. Selecting the Chef, selecting the winemaker, coordinating the winemaker and the chef, planning the logistics since Secret Dinner is a pop-up restaurant, and sometimes there are no basic facilities such as restrooms and electricity, planning the decoration of the tables, handling all the communication with the caterer that provide tables, chairs, plates, planning the menu – not just coordinating dishes with Chef, but also what would the menu list look like since every menu is designed differently for each Secret Dinner. Then there is a web page to update, social media posts, … And these are just the basics.

Could you tell us which moment from Secret Dinner is the most memorable for you?

Honestly, this is a difficult question. Every Secret Dinner is specific, and they all have some really memorable moments. I do not have an answer. But I can say that organizing Secret Dinner events is one of the greatest business adventures I have ever experienced.

We have heard the event itself provides a certain level of discretion. But since we live in times where people like to post everything on their social media accounts, can we take a picture of the plate and post it?

YES!

Could you tell us which Slovenian chef surprised you the most with their dish?

Uf, also a difficult question. All Chefs that are cooking at Secret Dinner events are really good at what they do at work and they all make really great food. I have to take this opportunity to thank every one of them, because they all took the challenge of cooking at Secret Dinner very seriously and they all put a lot of effort in it.

Do you also enjoy cooking when you have time?

I love cooking!

Can you tell us what your next project of Secret Dinner will be like? Perhaps a hint or two for our readers what they can expect or around which time will it happen?

The next Secret Dinner will be in the beginning of September. Also for the last few months Melinda I and have been working on a book which will be published in November in both, Slovene and English language.