In a few days my beloved company will turn 1,5 years.
The trip was quite short but quite challenging so far.
Part of our customers have been with us almost from the very beginning but for some of you lots of new facts will be opened in this post.
Stella Gymnastics has been established right in a middle of COVID-restrictions in Finland on 1st of July 2021. Some of you might know a FFF-rule. According to this rule before launching a new business you need to discuss its idea with family, friends and fools 😊
Each group was interviewed and mostly people were not that much excited about the idea. There were quite good arguments about it:
- I have no entrepreneurship experience
- I don't have corresponding education
- I am working 37,5 hours per week in a leading position at the bank that recently started at stock market
- I have two relatively small kids and lots of things to do apart from entrepreneurship, for example being football manager for a team of 39 boys
- COVID-19! Who would need leotards when there is no competitions???
Last argument was quite strong but my curiosity about the entrepreneurship won.
Very strong positive argument was the fact that design and creation of gorgeous dresses and leotards has been a long time a dream of my mom.
We started to make our dream come true together! Me as an arranger and my mom as a designer and an author of works.
My mom has completed courses of one of the world's most famous leotard makers and she already had some experience. She has been sewing quite good for many years already, but her main job was bookkeeping. She left the job when our business started to grow rapidly.
In November 2021 I established Stella Gymnastics online shop. Web site and all the materials were pretty much my hobby. Luckily my IT education has been used here 😊
I started to build social media and marketing networks, interview experienced coaches and judges and ask what would be helpful to have in the online shop.
Some of the answers were familiar in advance. As a competing gymnast's mom I already knew what kind of challenges the market is experiencing. And I really wanted to fill the gaps in assortment.
That's how extremely comfortable Sasaki 147 half-shoes returned to Finnish market. Then we added much more Sasaki, Chacott and Pastorelli goods to the assortment of our online shop.
I have never added to the shop any item that I didn't like personally.
Our web shop still has only the goods that really support gymnasts' development in a proper way, that have high-quality and that are easy to sell forward when your gymnast do not need those anymore.
The business developed very fast. COVID restrictions have been released and I was looking with a great enthusiasm to 2022 year.
Then there was 24 of February 2022. My world has fallen. The first days were the days that I will never forget. Thanks God in 10 days I was able to hug my beloved parents that were in safe.
A few of our projects, materials and designs were left in my home city Kharkiv and we never received those again.
The most important however are people. The business has stopped for a couple of months. It was time to relax, gather thoughts and for my parents to starts a n ew life from scratch.
At this stage I would like to thank our wonderful customers for their support. It was a huge escape for me. Thank you for believing and giving us a second chance to start again! The biggest appreciation to our colleagues from Finland. Without you I would be still searching for fabrics, rhinestones and other materials.
Sewing machines purchase, fabrics selections, etc. has started. Luckily we got course materials from mom's wonderful teacher Svetlana. The trip was long but already by beginning of summer Sofia's second leotard was ready. By the way Sofia's first Stella Gymnastics leotard was also Stella Gymnastics first leotard.
Quite soon the orders started to come. Probably the situation in leotards production leading countries, i.e. Russia and Ukraine, has influenced that situation. We started to receive orders from other European countries as well as from different parts of the world. Already in summer we started to look for additional members to our team. And luckily we have got awesome Inna and Iryna. They both came to Finland in spring with their kids. Both had scared eyes and injured hearts. Some say that handcraft treats the mind. It was necessary for all of us.
Here we are in the end of the most difficult year of my life. For sure I would like my business to be developing in a different way. But I am extremely thankful that I've got there three women beside me. Next year our trip will continue.
Talking about myself I'd like to say that my business literally saved me. Happy children smiles gave me some hope, chatting with the customers was as a great therapy. I am still working full-time because I love my main job. I am analyst and my skills help me in business development as well. I am still a team manager for 39 lovely little football players. I am still mom for the best children, wife for the best man, daughter for extremely beloved parents that have integrated perfectly to Finnish work life and society independently from their age.
Despite of anything I am still Stella Gymnastics proud entrepreneur that is very thankful to the best customers in the world.