Irina Kabatsyura creates soft pools with balls for children. She told the portal of the South. about how it adapts its products to customers and what kind of business is definitely not a woman’s business.
The conversation with Irina Kabatsiura is part of a series of interviews with young entrepreneurs of the “Krasnodar” Territory who have become ambassadors of the My Business project.
Tell us about the creation of the first pool. How much time and money did it take? How much does it take now?
— The first pool was the most expensive and the most unsuccessful. The result, to put it mildly, shocked me, since it was clearly not what I imagined. All wrinkled, uncomfortable in height. I thought that the higher it would be, the better, but when my son first got out of it, all the balls were on the floor, because the pool turned over because of the high sides.
And the first sewing workshop turned out to be not very customer-oriented. One product was sewn for two weeks, very expensive and just to make it. I immediately realized that you need to sew yourself. Then we reduced the height, changed it twice more and the perfect pool turned out, as I imagined it! Together with the alterations, we spent 9 thousand. This is almost twice as expensive as we currently have a ready-made one.
“Today our appearance is too talkative”:
What was wrong with the existing pools with balloons?
— I wanted a very soft and beautiful pool. At that time, there were either knitted or synthetic fabrics on the market. And I immediately aimed at the velour. Therefore, initially I just wanted to make a pool for myself — that’s how it all started.
How did the idea to engage in this production for sale come about?
— I put an ad on “Yule” and “Avito”. I received my first orders there. Plus, I saw the reaction of my friends to the pool. And so it began to spin. I think — we must do it!
Customers choose from what we offer, but we always listen to advice and requests. Now, in addition to swimming pools, you can buy the same soft velour personalized toys with the metric of children (that is, with data at birth-date, time, height and weight). And also-personalized pillows and paintings, children’s embroidery.
Who do you have to compete with? Are these only large manufacturers, or is this market more saturated than it seems from the outside?
— There are a lot of competitors, but the big ones are mainly in Moscow. And we work for the Krasnodar Territory. We make swimming pools with high quality and from the best materials. We do not have a conveyor, so all products are checked before shipment. And word of mouth plays its role.
You think that pools with balls not only entertain, but also develop. Tell us more.
– A dry pool is generally a universal toy. As soon as the children start sitting — they can already be put in the pool. Why is it universal? First, it will serve for many years. Children do not lose interest in it — they love balloons at any age! My son is three years old, so he climbs on his Swedish wall and jumps into balloons from there.
Secondly, balloons are not only fun. This is a full-body massage, which is very useful for children. Third, it is the study of colors: my son knew all the colors in a year. This is the development of fine motor skills. Also on each ball we have images in which the child sees a house, a cat or a boat. There are a lot of drawings. And this is an opportunity for my mother to do her own business.
In addition, our pools are beautiful: they send us photos of the room where the pool will be put, and we select the color of the pool with balls for the interior.
Have you ever encountered stereotypes like “business is not a woman’s business”?
— I started my entrepreneurial path seven years ago, it was wholesale sales of vegetables — I myself thought that this is definitely not a woman’s business! Then there was a gift shop. When I had to carry boxes, I also thought that it was not feminine. With swimming pools, I was also called Santa Claus. In general, the essence is this: do not do what makes you a man. At least-not to carry heavy things.
Only in 2020, the first criminal case on “female circumcision”was opened in the Russian Federation:
In the beginning, I encountered a different stereotype. Unfamiliar people could say: “Are you an entrepreneur? So, there is no higher education?” It’s really stupid to think that only the uneducated are among entrepreneurs. I have a higher education in economics and mathematics.
How has the pandemic affected your business? What difficulties did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
— The first two weeks of the quarantine were completely silent. Then the whole world, it seems to me, did not buy anything at all. And then people started ordering again. From my mother’s experience, I say: I always want the best for children. Especially when you are constantly sitting at home, the pool definitely helped out many people.
It was a shame that my industry was not recognized as affected, but they were banned from working, like everyone else. Besides, I had to do a lot of things myself. There were thoughts of giving up everything. To save money, I didn’t hire couriers — I delivered everything myself. At the post office, I was greeted with the words “Santa Claus has come”. Many fabrics had run out due to the pandemic, and I didn’t understand what to sew from at all. I learned what burnout is. But I don’t give up so easily.
There was a moment when I put everything on pause and did not accept orders. I didn’t know what to do next. Then — a short break, a change of focus of attention. I came to my senses. Now I do not carry bags and do not sew. I was able to set up the work perfectly for myself.
This year you became the ambassador of the project “My Business”. What is your mission in this role?
— I constantly told people about the School of a young entrepreneur. So I’ve done this mission before! My mission is always to share with the world. If possible, help, prompt. That’s why I became an ambassador. For me, the School of a young entrepreneur was something more than just new knowledge. This is the application of theory in practice, new acquaintances, a new place of attraction.
What can you advise aspiring entrepreneurs?
– Don’t be afraid of anything. Even if it doesn’t work out or you don’t like what happened. “Don’t be afraid that it won’t work out. Be afraid that you won’t try it.” Do it conscientiously, as for yourself. Learn. And one of my favorite phrases: an imperfect result is better than a perfect inaction. And one more thing: it’s never too early or too late to try something new. No matter how old you are.
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