Business has more than one Everest
Origins of Lithuanian kids wear brand Mummymoon should be traced in Norwegian fjords, Vėjūnė Unikauskienė, Director of Trinity time UAB, company that owns this brand, joked. Because 7 years ago, her friend stage and costume designer Ieva when living in Norway at that time out of dissatisfaction to be just her first baby’s mum decided to make clothes for children, though she never worked as a tailor.
Ieva’s colleague, who worked as a film producer Vėjunė who was pregnant with her first child then was captured by her friend’s idea. She took over management, because it turned out that Ieva was selling original clothes for the price which can hardly cover the costs of materials.
Young mums decided to design kids clothes only and to sell them by wholesale only. They bravely dove into kids wear sewing business, started offering their products to Japanese kids wear boutique, which was dictating trends and quality in the faraway country. But the reply to the first letter made the young entrepreneurs wonder, when they were asked by Japanese to send line sheets in order forms.
‘We could respond to such request with a laugh nothing more, as we had no idea what it was and what we were asked for’, Vėjūnė remembers her first months in business with a smile. But the replay, which was probably very girly, according to Vėjūnė, was sent to the Japanese company, which politely replied that they would wait until they grow up. After a month, the ladies were preparing the first consignment of clothes to Japan.
‘We had our goal from the very beginning – to make clothes for the world not just for Lithuania, we wanted to climb the Everest rather than Šatrija mountain. We continuously discussed and consulted with world’s level professionals of this field if we are walking in the right direction’, told one of business authors. She in particular appreciate consulting provided by consultant of Public enterprise Global Lithuanian Leaders, fashion representative Mariška Ziurina, entrepreneurs Vladas Lašas and partner of Verslo angelai (Business Agents) foundation Arvydas Strumskis, Daumantas Mikučionis and many other experienced and respected business representatives.
London is of too low profile, Paris is calling.
Ladies’ determination to reach the Everest in business and belief that they are creating clothes that are in demand brought them to the central children’s fashion exhibition Bubble London in Great Britain after a few months only. A nice surprise awaited for them there, when organisers of similar exhibitions started approaching them with the question: ‘What do you do here?’. It turned out that Lithuanians’ children wear design was evaluated by world’s specialists so high, that London exhibition was of ‘too low profile’ for them. The ladies was invited to Paris exhibition, where the elite of the children’s fashion world gathers. Besides, the first orders started coming after London exhibition.
‘And we always had are feeling of being watched by our potential clients, that they are trying to find out what we are capable of, if we will manage to sustain the level, if we will participated at exhibitions in the future’, remembers Vėjūnė.
But participation in exhibitions means thousands of investments. But as there is a saying who keeps searching and knocking at the door, the door opens for them. The ladies admit that they knocked many doors which did not open, but they never gave up. And finally the right door was knocked – Public enterprise Enterprise Lithuania. In 2015, with their help they managed to enter the global children and mothers fashion exhibition Playtime Paris in Paris. At that time, the team was joined by Ingrida who took over sales and finances. According to Vėjūnė, one man is no man, team is the essence, its joint efforts and targeted aspirations help to climb the Everests.
The first Everest of business
‘Participation at the Playtime Paris’ was our first Everest. We reached it with the help of Enterprise Lithuania, which supported and helped us to develop our business on many occasions later’, said Vėjūnė.
According to her, in fashion world one participation in this kind of exhibitions is not enough, because you continuously have to prove your capacities and status, to show yourself to those potential clients who are continuously watching you to satisfy themselves that you are not a one day’s success genius, that you will have better ideas tomorrow than you have today. Many clients place orders not earlier than a year or even several years later. Mammymoon brand clothes were exhibited at Paris fashion exhibition for six times with the help of Enterprise Lithuania.
‘During our first three times of participation, we were only watched, while clients came later’, Vėjūnė shared her experience. Today, children’s occasional different clothes Mummymoon manufactured in Lithuania and Portugal ‘grew up’ and established their position in the elite demi couture category in the world.
Following their dream and idea and belief in what they do, the ladies achieved the goal that now children from Canada to Japan are wearing Mummymoon clothes, while most fans are in the United States of America and Arabic countries, but even big orders from China, which seems to manufacture everything itself, are surprising.
‘But we cannot stop in business, we are already sketching new Everests’, admitted Vėjūnė, who does not want to reveal their new goals that are in development.
Comment of Aivaras Knieža, Director of Enterprise Lithuania Export Department
Export of Lithuanian children’s wear has been the most rapidly growing in textile sector for a couple of years, designers and manufacturers of children’s wear are becoming players of the global market. One of the main things for these companies is an opportunity to participate in prestigious international exhibitions. Exhibiting its products for several years in a row the companies not only prove that they are trustworthy, target–oriented partners, but they also check the possibilities of their brands in international context.
Children’s wear manufactured by Lithuanians stand out for being made of natural materials, for being creative, for combining playful elements with functionality. Buyers of children’s wear are rather sensitive to prices if compared with other clothing segments. On the other hand, buyers are not only mums and dads, but also grandparents, relatives, friends who buy clothes for children as presents and frequently form the demand for relatively dearer wear.
Ingrida Olendraitė, a doctoral student at Cambridge University, an alumnus of Vilnius University, had little expectations that her meeting with an old acquaintance during Life Sciences Baltics will evolve to an international project together with the greatest minds in the field of virus research.
Lithuania has more than enough potential to become one of the leaders in the biotechnology field. This is the conviction of Agnė Vaitkevičienė, the head and the co-founder of the first and so far the only producer of individualised advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) in the Baltic countries. According to her, medicines developed according to the needs of each patient are the future of medicine, to which Lithuania also contributes.