Venturing into the world of Entrepreneurship - Giving Small Business a Try
Having a full-time job that you enjoy, having two kids under the age of 3, running a nonprofit in any spare time we could find and all other aspects attached to daily life, my wife Olesya and I decided to start a small business. When? you may ask. Why? Don’t you already have enough on your plate? Our answers are always – WHY NOT! Although still relatively young (some younger than others), our life experiences have taught us to take risks. In the early stages, those risks were a lot less calculated, a lot more sporadic and spontaneous, very spur of the moment type of risks. Those were the ones that taught us the most, because a lot of times, the situations didn’t pan out the way we wanted them to. There was usually some type of loss attached to those risks, unless luck was on your side. Can’t depend solely on luck, not so much in our case. We learned that nothing comes easy and when things did seem easy, that meant that we really had to strap down and work hard at it, because life was going to hit you in the face, really hard. So, we did. We strapped down, rolled up our sleeves and worked hard. Through university, through various work experiences, through various life experiences. Oh, by the way, I didn’t mention that both my wife and I weren’t born in Canada, and immigrated at ages 15 and 13 respectively.
Anyways, back to the business part. Having kids and sustaining a family isn’t easy – both mentally and financially. Now I’m sure that every generation has said this and probably thought that they had it way tougher than we do, but we are now that generation. We get to experience what it’s like to be living in times where costs are rising exponentially, where you want to be able to provide your kids with not just the basics, but some better things (especially being an immigrant and not having some of those things). As a parent, you constantly are thinking about 15-20 years into the future and what it will be like not just for them, but for you as well. Never mind all the crazy global challenges that are taking place right now. The insecurities for peace, the global environmental shifts due to climate change, and so much more. What might the future hold? Wouldn’t it be nice to know? The only thing we can do instead of trying to predict the future is try to set up the now to be as positive, successful, proactive as we can so that when that future does come, we are ready for it. Teach our kids values, morals, compassion, love, humility, respect. That not everything is based on material things and that you should do good to others and try to make this world a better place. And so that lead us to the small business part. After a lot of research, discussions, planning, thinking, more planning, questioning yourselves, and much much more planning and research, we decided that we would make a calculated risk of opening and running an online store. A shopping experience through which we would bring global customers to some of the wonderful and amazing fashions and home décor items from our birthplace – Ukraine.
We spent a lot of time trying to come up with a catchy name, with something that captures Ukraine, but also captures the fun aspect of who we are as a family. So, we came up with “Ukieology Fashion and Décor”: Ukie representing – Ukrainian and -ology, playing on the concept of “studying something”. Basically, through our online store, we will be studying the various aspects of Ukrainian fashions and décor and bringing them to the rest of the world. Now naming is just a tiny proportion of what we had to do. We won’t go through the many various aspects and learning experiences we have gone through to set up this business, let’s just say it was definitely a worthy learning experience for someone who has never set up a business from scratch.
So why try this, why go through this? Once again – WHY NOT?
- Firstly, wouldn’t everyone want any extra $$ to be able to put aside for that trip that you’ve never been able to go on, or to potentially be able to even start thinking about some form of financial security for the future given that there are so many things waiting for us down the line – activities, dancing, sports, school trips, university costs, down-payments, retirement planning. All those things are unpredictable and all come with their own expense sheet and a bill attached. The world around is an expensive and uncertain so anything we can do to try and offset that is a plus.
- Secondly, now being a family of four, we have also learned what it’s like to shop as a family – and it gets expensive really fast. Our Ukieology shopping experience will be available to everyone – regardless whether you are Ukrainian or not – there will be something in our store for you. Further, we wanted to create an experience where there would be a one stop shop for families interested in Ukrainian fashions. We will have items for kids of all ages starting from newborn to teenager, women’s and men’s clothing as well as various accessories and home decoration items. Smaller sizes, larger sizes; fancy or every day. We will be closely listening to our customers and growing our store with them. We will also have a charity section on our website where all items sold there will go to supporting projects run by our nonprofit – “Stream of Hopes Aid for Ukraine Inc.” and helping over 3,500 orphaned, sick and disadvantaged kids all across Ukraine.
- Finally, we wanted to give this a try. We wanted to see what we are capable of. We wanted to see whether we could do it and what would it look like. We wanted to learn and experience it first hand. We can always be pushed, but it's how far we are willing to push ourselves. We definitely didn't let it come at the expense of spending time with our kids or having impact on our daily jobs. We wanted to see and so we shall. :)
Our ambitions and dreams are big, the plans are grand but we do have to take it one tiny step at a time and see where the path takes us. We hope that Ukieology becomes more than just a website, that it becomes a community of people across the globe connected together to do good, to support local markets and help them grown and develop, to give back to the community. We are already and will continue working with Ukrainian designers living in and outside of Ukraine who will be able to showcase and sell their products through our website. We will try and ensure that our customers are totally happy and satisfied with the products and service they are getting and feel good wearing and having items provided to them by Ukieology. We definitely have the drive, passion and energy. Only time will tell where it will take us with our small business venture.
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Ukieology – bringing the best of Ukraine to your fingertips!