How Ukrainians sew bags like Rihanna
A couple from Cherkasy founded the Partem designer handbags brand. After four years of brand development, they realized that their client does not live in Ukraine. Now Partem bags are bought in Japan, Switzerland, the USA and in other countries of the world. And one of the products of the guys interested singer Rihanna. Revision MC Today tells the story of entrepreneurs.
Dasha Malkova-Parthem education librarian. Her husband Roma Parthem is a surveyor. But in fact, they are artists who for four years have been creating minimalist bags under the Partem brand.
Five years ago, they decided to sew each other as a gift on the wallet. Everyone who came to visit asked themselves the same. When they realized that not only they like wallets - they decided to try to sell them. The first products cost 100 uah. Dasha posted an ad on VKontakte, and through 10 minutes they already bought them.
Then, in secret from everyone, Dasha and Roma got married. But since life in a small town was too relaxed for them, they moved to Kiev.
“It is easy to become the best in Cherkasy,” says Dasha. “And it’s easy to become an alcoholic,” Roma laughs.
They tried themselves at different jobs. Dasha first time in Kiev worked on the set, in the theater, drew. She learned to sew as a child from her mother. At first she sewed clothes for dolls, then herself. She says she always dreamed of finding a job where you can do something with your own hands.
“I don't know how to sew. I make it up. But sometimes I sew, ”says Roma, while ironing her bag so that there are no flaws on it.
The beauty of working for yourself is that no one indicates how and what you should do. But there are drawbacks to this - for two whole years the couple worked without any days off.
The principles of their work - the beyond minimalism. Only leather materials, black (but now there are beige handbags in the line) and high quality products.
For several years Roma did not eat meat, so initially he tried to find some kind of skin substitute to make the products more environmentally friendly. But I found out that leather is only recycled material, a departure from growing meat for food.
“Eco-leather is more harmful to the environment than usual. Because in its production they use chemicals, which then go to the ground and get into our water, ”Roma explains.
One vacation in four years
Once Dasha told Roma a story about a company that made beautiful notebooks, quickly became rich and became popular. Now they call it a myth, because they know from their own experience: starting a business is not easy.
It is not enough to make a quality product, you need to learn how to advertise and promote it. Initially, products were sold only through social networks, now the main source of customers is the Etsy website.
Roma says that in Ukraine social networks do not work at all. In Instagram, they buy goods up to 400 UAH - it is unprofitable. But Etsy is a separate world in which you need to know the secrets and constantly monitor the mechanisms by which goods fall into the tape to the consumer.
Therefore, I had to study marketing, learn the subtleties of business. Now in their office - a converted apartment in the center of Kiev - the whole working day is played with some kind of educational films, series or good music. The guys are trying to create the ideal conditions for work and continue to evolve.
In their "sewing family" they recently took another member - Vasya. He never learned to sew - that was his hobby. The three of them can stitch up 25 bags per month. The employee was chosen carefully. The main thing was that he believed in the realization of their plans and ambitions.
“The hardest thing about working for yourself is to stick to the schedule when nobody is above you. We came up with working regulations from 10 to 19, but this is more likely for Vasya. In fact, we all arrive earlier and we leave later, ”says Roma.
Over the past four years, they had a vacation once - a friend persuaded them to go to Odessa for three days.
“We do not have such that we urgently need a vacation. Because work is fun. We do everything so that work does not become a routine, ”Dasha smiles.
In Japan, the bags were bought before they were delivered.
Only in the last few years have the guys understood how the industry works and lit up with the idea to change everything.
Most of their customers are abroad. Since the cost of products is above the market average, not all Ukrainians can afford such an accessory. Prices range from 400 to 7500 uah. It all depends on the complexity of the work and the amount of materials used. Therefore, from time to time Partem organize auctions and discounts to buy them at home too.
One customer from Switzerland has as many as five products from Partem. But the greatest achievement for Dasha is a good customer feedback.
Roma calmly adds: “I’ve recently sent a bag to Rihanna. We participated in Ukrainian Fashion Week, made accessories for Flow the label. And she chose one of the styles with our bag. ”
The guys explain how it happened:
“In America, agencies show stars designer collections from fashion weeks. They choose the ones they like. Rihanna liked the Flow the label set, which came in a set with our bag - they were sent as a gift. But so far, she hasn't put any pictures in these clothes. ”
Most of all they are pleased with the popularity in Japan. One girl, who has a store in this country, found a brand on Etsy and wrote that Ukrainian bags attract cool customers to her.
And almost all of the parts ordered by her were dismantled before the goods arrived. “She has already made the second order twice as much,” says Dasha.
After participating in the Ukrainian Fashion Week, the guys learned the internal cuisine of the market and realized that nothing was being sold in Ukraine.
“Designers spend a lot of money on PR, which does not come back later. Top designers do not get anything, because Ukraine does not have a middle class that it can buy, ”the guys explain.
They want to change the attitude towards the flow of product designers. But how exactly is not yet recognized. And now they are working on a new personal collection.
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