MustHave during the War
Destroyed stores and supply chains, lack of goods, danger to employees, drop in the number of financially sustainable people – those are the realities that the Ukrainian retail business has faced as a result of the war. Nonetheless, the business continues operating, finds ways to its optimization, and resumes gradually the work of sales points ensuring that the Ukrainians have the most essential things.
Anna Kovalenko and Anastasiia Dziuba, Co-Owners of MustHave Brand, have told about their way from women’s dresses to outfits for the military, a demand for the Ukrainian products, and popularity abroad.
MustHave is the first Ukrainian mass market of women’s clothes. With the network of off-line stores in Kyiv and Lviv and an on-line store, the Company has its own production facilities with an area of 1,500 sq. m in Ukraine. It employs 250 persons.
On Adaptation to the War-Time Conditions
In four days after the beginning of the invasion, the Company started sewing load bearing vests (a special tactical element of outfits) for the servicemen. This request from the military helped the Company determine to what areas it may refocus its manufacturing facilities and be useful. As at mid-April, approximately 70% of MustHave’s capacity utilization rate referred to the production of – balaclavas and tactical vests for the needs of the territorial defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Clothes do not belong to items of essential necessity. Therefore, we did not expect to have a high demand. Nevertheless, it has turned out that girls seek how to please themselves and go shopping,” says Kovalenko.
Only the third part of the Company’s facilities was used for sewing women’s apparel.
On the Challenges of Time
During the early weeks, frequent air alarms slowed down the production process, and a part of employees left abroad.
After a while, we have succeeded in quickly organizing all the processes, and people have got accustomed to new realities. Also, the Company is trying to give jobs to relocated persons who have moved to the central part of Ukraine and are willing to stay there.
On Demand for the Ukrainian Products and International Delivery
The brand has started issuing small collections inspired by the Ukrainian themes, in particular: sweatshirts and T-shirts with patriotic inscriptions, dresses in colors of the national flag, embroidered shirts.
From the beginning of the invasion, the number of orders to the Company’s products from abroad increased.
“We feel a demand for the Ukrainian products. Many people would like to support the Ukrainian business this way,” shares Kovalenko.
From month to month, the number of deliveries to other countries is increasing. This is promoted by delivery operators who have set loyal tariffs for the goods from Ukraine. Kovalenko says that to deliver goods from Ukraine to neighboring countries costs about 30% cheaper than before the beginning of the full-scale war.