The EBRD’s Women in Business programme gives valuable financial and advisory support to women-run fashion brand Manera, developed in Almaty, Kazakhstan


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EBRD programme supports women-run Kazakh fashion brand

EBRD programme supports women-run Kazakh fashion brand

The EBRD’s Women in Business programme helps women manage and grow their own small and medium enterprises through offering financing and advisory services.

One business that has benefited from this exciting opportunity is fashion brand Manera, developed at the Semiramida factory in Almaty, Kazakhstan, one of the regions the EBRD serves.

Supporting a women-run business in Almaty 

Almaty is famous for young fashion houses that set trends for the whole of Central Asia. The region’s fashion business is still in its infancy but has already given birth to lots of promising brands.

The Semiramida factory has sewing traditions that date back to Soviet times. But Manera is now a Spanish-Kazakh line inspired by designers from Spain, Sonia Prado, and Kazakhstan, Gulnar Bekibayeva. Semiramida’s main objective has been to bring the Manera trademark to both local and foreign markets.

Benefitting from EBRD's advisory projects

Natalya Akhshabayeva, head of the Semiramida sewing factory, took part in EBRD's Women in Business programme's advisory projects with local and international consultants. The EBRD projects were funded by the government of Kazakhstan.

“After the programme, we changed our mission and vision, expanded our product line and increased employee motivation,” said Natalya.

“We gained knowledge in fashion design, identified our target customers, got the necessary tools and algorithms for creating and promoting the collection."

Developing skills in marketing and brand promotion

The company collaborated with fashion consultants from Spain, marketing experts from Finland and the Netherlands and a specialist in social media from Italy. Over one year, four collections with more than 100 units of clothing were made.

A website was launched and accounts were established on Instagram and Facebook. The marketing department created positions for a brand and content manager.

Natalya and her team aimed to become the main Kazakh clothing brand for women in Kazakhstan. This needed both investment and knowledge in collection creation, skills in marketing and brand promotion. They also had to be aware of rapidly changing fashion and how fast fairly new styles become outdated.

Learning a lot from EBRD consultants 

The team learned a lot from the EBRD consultants. Most importantly, the EBRD consultants helped them to discover their target audience. As it is impossible to make clothes for everyone, Natalya chose a segment of business customers who want a unique and limited collection.

Last year, the company promoted their brand in the local market and now they plan to enter the Russian market. They already have an agent to represent them in Moscow. Manera has nine stores across Kazakhstan and this year their goal is to further increase sales. Their items are also available online, with delivery to all regions of the country.

"We are grateful for the support from the experts who worked with us. However, this is only the beginning," says Natalya. 

"We believe our brand will be known not only in Kazakhstan, but also beyond our borders.

Work for a company committed to supporting women in business

Join talented women at the EBRD who are leading and working on exciting projects across many countries - projects that truly make a difference to the lives of women in business. Research the EBRD's latest job vacancies and see where your skills and experience might take your career.

 

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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