Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
Kruk Garage is a Kyiv-based upcycling workshop. The idea of making something out of upcycling materials was born a few years earlier through long-time love of vintage things combined with a desire to create handmade goods. So 2015 our workshop got started.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
We sell handcrafted items made of cowhide leather and vintage elements, such as canvas, buckles, belts. Our workspace is, first of all, about the atmosphere — the positive energy that gives birth to creativity. It’s very important to be surrounded by the things you love. We always make sketches to visualize what the finished items will look like, but the most important part of our process is working hands-on with the materials. We create each item individually.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
We don’t want to talk about competitors or financial challenges. The most thing is to keep growing every day, always designing and making new products.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Being an entrepreneur is a big chance to spread the word about our business to as many people as possible, all around the world. For us, it is a very exciting journey! The hardest thing is to find a balance between business and family.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
Everyone should go their own way. Don’t hesitate to try something new to do. If you do your job good and don’t stop creating, your business will be successful.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
Our primary sources of design inspiration are our own lives and desires, our families, and our hobbies. We work as a team, and anybody can bring a great idea to the table. Ultimately, every item we design, we design for ourselves. If we are satisfied with the result, we can introduce it to others. We don’t try to offer something that is popular. Every one of our styles was designed and made because we needed it ourselves. We make the items we love and use, and if other people love it too, that’s our greatest pleasure.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
There was a huge desire to learn to make things with our own hands and we got lessons from other artisans and online-lessons than a lot of sleepless nights with practicing.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
Of course, social media. It’s possible now to find customers through social media even with a low budget.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
The key is in a combination of design ideas, production with quality materials, and online marketing.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Business success is being able to enjoy your everyday life – both work and family life.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Kruk Garage is a family-run business. We have areas of responsibility in a company.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
To date, Kruk Garage has sold thousands of bags and accessories via the company’s own website, Etsy and Amazon. New and limited edition collections are launched month to month. To keep their customers up to date with new items, sales, and other news, we regularly blog and put up postings on social media. To expand the company’s reach into other markets, Kruk Garage participates in collaboration partnerships with offline and online retailers in countries like the US, Netherlands, and Japan. Back at home in Ukraine, we are constantly on the look-out for new niche markets to target.