Yulia is a hockey player and a painter from Dnipro in eastern Ukraine who lives with her family in a war zone and is also facing unemployment. Despite her circumstances, she decided her life needed to change course. She made this decision after taking a sewing course.
New career options – Using science skills to further business
After studying food technology and chemistry in college, she worked in sales, selling equipment. However, she wasn’t happy with her employment, and she decided to search for career options when she took a sewing course with her sister, Anna.
They liked it and continued their tailoring education through the Supporting Economic Prosperity for Women and Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine (SEW Ukraine) program. Through the co-operation between the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada and the Ukrainian Charity, Gorenie, they were attracted by what the project offered: modern equipment and courses in business, such as marketing, management, accounting, and legal issues. They were most interested in learning how to successfully enter the market as a new business.
After taking the program, the sisters created their business plan, purchased the simplest equipment with their savings, and started sewing sample models, which allowed them to study their target audience’s reaction as well as improve their sewing skills. In addition, they created a marketing strategy and calculated business costs. Gradually, they began to implement their business idea. Within the framework of the project, the sisters received equipment they desperately needed, and now they are waiting for fabric.
What’s more, Yulia found her science knowledge and sports skills helped with their business management. Along with her sister Anna, they joined a sewing co-operative, Girl’s Dream, which started its activities within the framework of the SEW Ukraine project. Yulia believes the project’s experts, who give professional advice to the participants on important business matters, provide enormous help to the co-operative.
Saving costs with a co-op
Being a co-operative member allows Yulia to share equipment, which saves on costs as even the most successful businesses can find it difficult to afford. As a result, Yulia and her sister saw a great opportunity for their business because they use the co-operative machine for printing and embroidering. Currently, they are working on creating a new collection of clothing, including an exclusive winter collection for children.
Thanks to the SEW Ukraine project, they are moving their business forward. They have registered as individual entrepreneurs. Furthermore, they are improving and expanding their practical skills as Yulia is learning how to work on the sewing machine provided by the project. She also plans to master the embroidery machine and they are forming a resource base where they can access customers and suppliers.
According to Yulia, the main obstacle in running their business is they lack experience. Therefore, she diligently studies the market and tries to find significant opportunities to gain advantages over competitors.
She also looks for suppliers of quality and affordable fabrics to minimize the risk of defects or poor-quality dyes.
The sisters plan to develop, sew, and sell their products independently. Due to the difficult situation in the country, they cannot predict how successful their business will be. However, they strive to be flexible and are willing to restructure their production to manufacture more profitable goods, if necessary.
The situation on the front line is also a major risk for the sisters. In the event of the war escalating, they need to be prepared to quickly move from Dnipro – together with their equipment – to a safer region of Ukraine.
Yulia is confident that her participation in the SEW Ukraine project, in particular, gaining new knowledge in the field of business management, timely and professional assistance and consultations from experts, and obtaining new equipment, has brought her dream to life.