Expat Lady's Running a Business in Ukraine: First Steps

Expat Lady's Running a Business in Ukraine: First Steps

Coming into UkraineI moved to Kyiv a decade ago, on 26 June 2007 to accompany my husband who was already residing in Kyiv. This was my first move to any foreign country as an expat and never thought that I would stay here for so long. Transition was very challenging and language was one of them. Since, I was working as an assistant professor in a private university I wished to continue my career in this field itself, but an English-speaking lecturer was not required in any college here. However, in the meanwhile I got a job as an aviation English teacher and worked full time at the Boryspil airport, training and examining air traffic controllers to ICAO level 4. Those were the best memories from my initial years in Kyiv, made great friends and learned a lot about Ukraine and its culture. A year just flew away. Everything was going perfect. I enjoyed my weekends travelling around Kyiv and fallen in love with Ukraine. Creative Idea appearing After giving birth to my first baby in 2009, I spent most of my time at home with the toddler. During this time I started to paint my mind on any canvasses that life brought in; paper, fabric, leather, glass, wood… and developed liking for a style “repetition”. People around me liked the idea of painting on shoes and bags. In 2011 I thought to make it as a business and started to paint shoes and bags customised and on orders. I put up exhibitions and presented some private fashion shows to promote it. Most of my artwork are finished with repetitive lines and designs. I strongly believe that every action or karma is repetitive in this world. Art is a unique medium to bring together different cultures on the same platform where people can value each other’s point of view, because for me art comes within the soul, and are always pure, and honest hence I started a Facebook page with the name Sailing Souls to promote my artwork. First steps to realize ideasIn 2017, when my second child was already 3 years old and he started going to a kindergarten, I was thinking ways to expand this small home run business in a way to connect my interest in art and design to fashion and which is then I perceived to enter into clothing segment. While I was searching fabrics here, I understood that Ukraine is lacking in good quality fabrics, be it natural or polyester. My next search instigated to find a good tailor and manufacturing workshop who could construct the ideas into reality, which was not very easy. But I found one with the help of my local friend. I tried making few models as of now. Main difficulties My major learning process was to understand the terms and terminology of various production processes. I had to learn so many new phrases and words related to garments. Searching right material at right cost is not available very easily too. Language has always been a challenge for me. Documentation and registration procedure was little stretchy but managed with the help of a legal advisory here. I had to see many places (spent more than 35 days) to rent out a space to find an economically good place to start a showroom. Once I had a deal with a real-estate person to rent out a space and asked her to make documents, but then the next day she called and said that she has given it to another person because the other person is ready to pay higher rent than I was. This was something I never thought of. However, it was a good experience. GoalsAs a result, envisioned in Kyiv, TS is an exclusive contemporary fashion brand for women established in 2018. We are an ethical group of people and place a more holistic emphasis on creating a workable fashion process. Different from the materialistic consumption, cheap prices and labour exploitation that the fast fashion relies on, we value quality and long-term thinking. We produce fashion, which are made of quality materials and feature timeless designs. We have ready to wear collection and have made to order services that fit individual requirements. We design clothes for women who want to look beautiful, feel enchanting and stand out in their own unique way.TS shop online.Showroom address: 77, Sichovykh Striltsiv Street, KyivContacts: +380631389165, Shalini Todi


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