How the idea evolved into an international business
A bright startup is often born from a small idea aimed at solving some problem: either personal, or of a certain group of people. The difficulty that a person faces constantly and cannot overcome for a long time. A grain, sown in the head, after a while, can grow to a huge branched tree with deep roots and a lush crown. If you look after and feed this tree, it may soon give its first fruit.
The same happened to me in the spring of 2014. Strolling through one of Kiev shopping malls in search of a tie, I faced a problem. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a suitable accessory: they were either affordable but made of poor-quality synthetic materials, or with interesting prints but very expensive. On the way home, I got an idea — to sew a tie myself. After all, it should be as easy as ABC, especially compared to a suit or coat. Besides, there’s a great choice of fabrics in the city.
I also thought that if I faced such a difficulty, there might be dozens of other guys with the same problem. The idea made sense to me. Without wasting any time, I started looking for fabrics and specialists who could help me realize the idea.
However, the choice of fabrics turned into an arduous and unsuccessful search. After running around a dozen metropolitan shops, I never found one with the print I needed. Even online stores all around Ukraine upset me with their boring range of goods. The situation turned out to be deceptively cloudless. Therefore, I decided not to limit myself to Ukraine and went further. After a while, I found an excellent store in California. To this day, I remain its regular customer and buy part of fabrics for my new collections there.
When the problem with materials was left behind, and all the difficulties seemed to have been solved, the next serious challenge was looming in the horizon. I had to find cool tailors capable of sewing a quality tie. Honestly, I tried to sew it myself. But when I realized that it was not my cup of tea, I decided to find real professionals in the field. Therefore, I made the second race, but this time through local draperies. All, as one, told me that making a tie must be a piece of cake. Yet, no one really knew HOW to sew it, nor was ready to give it a try. Luckily, my profession is HR manager. Having placed vacancies on job websites, I shortly found guys who had been sewing for many years. After explaining my vision to them, they agreed to get down to business and try until it works out, although they did not sew ties themselves. I compiled a detailed manual for them, based on articles and video blogs on foreign websites, translated it, cut out the templates myself, and passed it all to the guys.
After 2 months of trial and error, we finally achieved the desired result. After all, every seam was and still is very important for me. Having received and approved the final version of the accessory, we launched the production of our first collection.
It was June 14, 2014. That's when everything started.
At the moment, there are 10 people working on the project. The main core consists of me, my associate, 3 seamstresses and a person responsible for uninterrupted flow of production. Other functions, including packaging, accounting, legal services, photography and so on, are outsourced.
Choice of a team is extremely important because with these people you'll have to develop your business. Fortunately, my profession helped me a lot. The fact that I haven't had to replace any person so far fills me with confidence that I made the right choice.
We are the best. And this statement goes beyond words. Facts prove that. Only in 2016 we won 3 national competitions among other Ukrainian manufacturers and businesses of different scale:
1) Unlimit Ukraine by EBA — the winners were granted media support and an opportunity to present themselves to a bigger audience;
2) People's choice in TSUM project — brands-winners will be presented in new TSUM (the main mall in Ukraine) among world-famous Armani, LV and others;
3) CEO4U — winners of the competition get a mentor - CEO of a large international company.
The victories in such projects inspire us to new accomplishments and goals, to which we are constantly striving.
There's definitely more to come. We are planning to develop and scale up actively, reaching new levels. I myself set a high bar for further achievements.
One of our plans is to expand the range of accessories by covering a premium segment. Besides, we are willing to enter international markets proving that "Made in Ukraine" is something to be proud of.