Donning identical outfits, talking with thick European accents, and walking the streets of Buckhead, these handsome twins have become local celebrities for all their mystifying qualities. Photobombing them has become a local sport. They’re mysterious, they’re handsome, and they’re identical, but who exactly are the Twins of Buckhead? We got the inside scoop.
Sebastian and Razvan Blidariu are identical twins from Romania, “one hundred miles from Dracula’s castle” according to Sebastian, “but you are still safe, it’s daytime.” He gestured at the sunlight streaming through the second floor windows of the St. Regis in Buckhead where we met for our interview. The two are an enigmatic pair, always dressing in the same outfits with alternating colored shirts. Their uniform consists of crisp button-up blue or white long sleeved shirts paired with jeans.
“We wear a shirt only a half day so in the morning I wear white, in the evening I wear blue, and he does the opposite,” explained Sebastian with a laugh. The chattier of the two, he answered the majority of my questions but never talked over his brother Razvan when he spoke up. “It’s a trick so you cannot identify us by the color.”
This commitment to themed clothing and the confusion and levity that it brings to the pair is symbolic of their approach to life. They are serious people – serial entrepreneurs that are proud of the fact that they have never once been employed by someone else – but they also have a distinct sense of humor. Professional in their outward appearance and convivial in conversation, they enjoy meeting new people and are easy to talk to with a number of entertaining stories to share.
Coming of age in Romania during communist rule could have been a limiting factor for these two. Born to a middle-class family that was not involved in the communist elite class, it was difficult to imagine a future that was not controlled by a dictator and business success was reserved for those involved in the party. Fortunately for Sebastian and Razvan their parents didn’t adopt a pessimistic view of life and instead encouraged their sons to pursue all of their dreams.
They told the boys to “fight every day to succeed to the next level,” said Razvan, who shared that their parents had given them $100 when they turned 18 and were able to start working. They used that seed money to found a pants manufacturing company, starting with a modest setup of only two 25-year old sewing machines, eventually expanding to employ 250 employees and produce 2,500 pants per day. The growing success of their company led them to branch out internationally to Italy, Spain, Germany, and eventually the United States. Since their childhood the pair had dreamed of coming to America, telling their parents that one day they would do business here.
Sebastian and Razvan can trace their love for America back to early exposure via an unexpected source: the TV show Dallas. “The communist government thought well, okay, in order to show people of Romania how bad the Americans are we will put on TV a show that pictures clearly how bad Americans are,” remembers Sebastian with a wry smile. “Of course the reaction was the opposite. So everybody loved it; men loved J.R., women loved Barbara. At the time that the TV show was on– it was only two times per week for 45 minutes– the streets were empty like a shutdown,” he said and laughed. “There was absolutely nobody on the streets, everybody was in front of the TV.”
Later, when Romania joined the European Union, the textile industry moved east and the brothers decided to exit the business. From their travels around America and visiting family in Phoenix, Arizona, they were inspired to build a hotel in eastern Romania and named it the “American Hotel” with a huge American flag installed at the site during construction. After a year of running the hotel the brothers became bored and decided they needed a larger scale project, one that would require more travel. “We can’t sit still,” said Razvan. They sold the hotel and shifted gears yet again, this time focusing on their current venture: children’s play-spaces within shopping centers.
“After several years running playgrounds in malls we decided to design our own concept, and we designed this concept Trombi’s Tower from scratch,” explained Sebastian. The play-spaces offer an obstacle course experience for kids aged five to twelve years old, providing safe entertainment for kids while their parents shop at the stores nearby. “We hold the design patent in Europe and a couple here in the United States. It’s unique, it incorporates a lot of patentable innovations, and it’s specially designed for shopping centers.” They installed their first American prototype of Trombi’s Tower in Destiny USA, a shopping mall in Syracuse, New York. The brothers plan to expand this concept to 20 or 30 locations throughout the country.
While the Blidariu brothers have been based in Buckhead for more than two years now, they recently gained attention when an unnamed restaurant owner started an instagram account called Spot_The_Twins_Buckhead. Within a month the account had gained more than 4000 followers, and users would share pictures they snapped of Sebastian and Razvan as they walked around town. This resulted in some confusing interactions for the brothers who were unaware of the account and unfamiliar with Instagram as a whole. Being European, they prefer to walk rather than drive and can often be spotted walking between the St. Regis, Buckhead Village District, and some of their favorite local restaurants such as Umi.
This newfound celebrity led to strangers yelling at the two and snapping photographs that were then shared on the Instagram account. Though the brothers are happy to make new acquaintances they shy away from self promotion and it wasn’t until a follower explained the account and showed them pictures that they became more comfortable with the idea.
“At the time people had nothing to do but to watch negative news about deaths and cases,” said Sebastian, noting the concurrence with the shutdown and fear surrounding Covid-19. “When we saw how people were smiling and waving and people were being happy to play this game, I said this is something good for them. For us the effort is too small and the benefit we bring to people is so big.
“A lot of people stopped us and said ‘you bring us joy.’ It’s something positive.”
“It made us feel good,” agreed Razvan. “Yes, it’s something positive that people enjoy and I think it came at exactly the right time. And we chose Buckhead as our home and we were very warmly welcomed by the people of Buckhead, so let’s take it like that. This is our way to say thank you.”
Despite pleasant initial interactions with the restaurateur who started the account, a minor disagreement occurred and the brothers decided they preferred to have control over their image on the social media platform. They agreed to shut down the original account and launched their own, going by the handle @the_twins_of_buckhead. It already has 649 followers with only 19 posts.
So there you have it, the story of the Buckhead Twins. Two entrepreneurial brothers who came all the way from Romania to make Buckhead their home. Unmarried and sharing an apartment in Buckhead Village, the two are inseparable. “Yes of course we live together in the same apartment,” said Sebastian. “We are identical. This is the story of identical twins, you are born together, you live together.”
“Our partnership started 9 months before we were born,” Razvan agreed. “It is a connection that cannot be broken.”