Prior to her involvement in the programme, Yuliya worked for an international NGO and had a background in ecology. Having just completed her first pottery training course, she began to develop an ambition to run her own pottery house.
Initially drawn towards the programme due to its dual focus on art and business, Yuliya enrolled in 2015 as a way to establish whether her ambition to launch a pottery house might be achievable, and to understand what she would need to start her own creative business. She hoped that this would also provide her with the opportunity to build relationships with real entrepreneurs whose experience and advice she considered invaluable.
Reflecting on her time as part of the programme, Yuliya highlighted the significance of an exercise which encouraged participants to reflect on their own values and consider how they might be reflected in their business. Through this activity, Yuliya was able to identify her core business principles of authenticity and environmental sustainability, both of which remain fundamental elements of her business and brand today.
“[The values exercise] made me aware of some of the fears I had around making business; that one has to cast aside personal feelings and only focus on money. The trainer showed us that you can and actually should centre your enterprise around who you are and what you want to share with the world… I really liked this approach and I'm still using the list of values written at the training, the main ones being authenticity and environmental sustainability.”Yuliya Makliuk
Through her involvement in CEP Yuliya gained the confidence to take steps towards starting her own creative enterprise despite her initial lack of experience.
In the years following the programme Yuliya continued to work on her pottery skills, eventually graduating from a pottery academy and completing an internship with a local ceramics studio. Following this, Yuliya launched her own business in 2019. Here and Now is an eco-friendly pottery studio based in Kyiv, where she and a part time assistant produce small batch artisanal tableware ‘with an emphasis on sustainability at every stage of production’. The majority of her work is sold in Ukraine, with her products stocked in a local big brand shop in Kyiv; however, she has also sold abroad online or through offline designer shops and craft fairs.
Yuliya has more recently travelled to Slovenia as part of the EU-funded Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, where she lived for three months working alongside a ceramist who also focuses on ecology impact and limiting production trace.
Looking to the future, Yuliya plans to gradually shift towards a higher priced market, moving her production from predominantly kitchenware to more artistic and sculptural pieces. In order to facilitate this, she plans to spend the next year building relationships with key stakeholders in the international art market.