A market and showroom promoting Ukrainian clothing, footwear and accessories brands.
Katerina Doroshevskaya and Alina Shcherbina first had their idea for a market promoting Ukrainian clothing brands in 2016. The pair had an active interest in Ukrainian design and saw potential for development in their hometown of Dnipro.
The absence of a business education (both Katerina and Alina are journalists) did not put them off and they organised their first producers fair, Be In UA, bringing together 50 Ukrainian clothing, footwear and accessories brands.
By their third event, the number of brands had grown to 120, and the number of customers visiting the fair reached 5,000.
The founders say that the Creative Enterprise Programme (CEP) opened their eyes to many things, and helped clarify their goals, vision and mission. The pair regularly return to their training notes and employ concepts that they learned.
The programme also led to beneficial relationships with the fellow participants, with one currently selling products in their market, while others have become regular customers.
Over a nine-month period, Katerina and Alina interviewed around 3,000 visitors and prepared a ‘needs analysis’ to help brands adapt their products on offer.
In November 2017, a showroom for Ukrainian-made products opened its doors in Dnipro to run in parallel with the market.
The founders' future plans include finding a better location, and they dream of opening a full-time shop and expanding the range. The entrepreneurs also hope to start a brand school, where guest experts will teach local producers more about brand development, filling a current gap in Dnipro’s education opportunities.
The pair recommend to fellow entrepreneurs that when starting your own business, you need to calculate a detailed budget, and then add another 30 per cent to the final figure. It is also important to always have a plan B.