ОMAKS International launched its first brand, Magic Lady, in the Ukrainian market back in 1998. At the time, women's pantyhose production was a niche business in Ukraine, promising a lot of prospects. In 2003, the company opened a modern European-style hosiery factory and presented its new brand, INTUICIA, which was a fully Ukrainian product. In 2017, the company added a children's brand, NOZI, to its portfolio. Now the company invests in modernization and expansion, fully rebrands TM INTUICIA according to modern trends and plans to strengthen its export position. Below are some excerpts from our conversation about the components of business success and the creation of a Ukrainian brand.
When I got the idea of making women's pantyhose, I had already had some entrepreneurial experience. We began by analyzing the market and studying the economy of this business. In fact, at the time, we did not have any serious competition, so Magic Lady became the first national large-scale project on the production of polyamide tights. Since the specifics of technology involve a lot of manual operations and wages in Ukraine were lower than those in Europe, preliminary calculations showed that we were in for profits. In addition, we understood that pantyhose is a product that women will always need and it is unlikely to go out of fashion. But there was a long and thorny way from the plan to our current production...
We competed in the market with imports, both official and contraband. However, our main advantage was the price as our products cost 20-30% cheaper than foreign ones without losing in quality. This is a necessary and decisive condition for a new brand to be able to set its foot on the market. To handle the competition, we immediately had to provide a wide range of models with a full line of sizes, set up logistics, build customer confidence and much more. In the end, the experience we received, a flexible management strategy tailored to market requirements, adaptation to up-to-date trends and constant development have evolved into the business model that our company represents today.
At first, it was simply unrealistic to set up a full cycle of production to European standards in Ukraine. We started by legally importing raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products from Italy. But during each visit to Collant Valley (the Hosiery Valley) in the Province of Mantua, where most Italian pantyhose companies are clustered, we thoroughly studied the technology. In fact, I spent half a year in Italy, never letting a camera out of my hands because I was filming every process and detail. This video became our manual of strategic understanding of production. When we were launching our own factory, we invited foreign technologists and developed a project for with the advice from Italian experts. I can assure you that our production is a prototype of a modern Italian factory with the same equipment, the best materials and strict quality control. The next step is to scale business, strengthen its position in the domestic market and expand abroad.
Customers' trust can only be earned by the uncompromising quality of the output. This is the main thing that never changes. We never experiment with materials to lower costs. We always strictly follow the technology. And no matter how difficult the situation on the market is, we will not give up on quality.
I am proud to say that since the moment of conception, INTUICIA has been on the market for almost 15 years. We have not changed the packaging, style or emotional message of the brand, we had only expanded the range and added a lineup. However, a new generation of women grew up, fashion trends, world views and values changed during this period. Our main goal is not to just be up to day but to be a few steps ahead. To make the brand's communication responsive to the demands of the modern generation, we decided to add more creativity.
An updated model range varies in functionality because we want to do beautiful and practical things. We abandoned references to age because fashion, style and comfort are universal concepts. Our message is be fashionable, have a perfect look and wear the best clothes, it is the right of every woman. We just help to make it happen. We have completely changed the visual component of TM INTUICIA, which is a bit risky for a recognized brand. However, we believe there are millions of our loyalists among Ukrainian women.
A devoted team
No leader will succeed alone, a team you work with is important. It is not only about professional qualities, competence and professional skills but about commitment to corporate values and team spirit. I devote a lot of time to staff development, we do not have a high staff turnover but we want the team to always have support and be result-oriented.
Insight into success from Maksym Kyzmenko
- Do what you love and love what you do. People feel it. When you infect your team and partners with enthusiasm, it is so inspiring and good for business.
- Never stop developing, never stop at what has been achieved. Feel the market and trends that are relevant to your business.
- Find the balance of business and life values. To develop business and personal efficiency, we must first of all be in harmony with ourselves.
- Trust intuition. There were a lot of moments when I relied on my own intuition and it did not let me down. This is my trademark.
Photo: Yuriy Zaluzhniy, unsplash.com
Author: Natalia Kyrylenko