How two Sinologists from Vladivostok started to make covers for suitcases

The most difficult was to learn how to sell the goods people had been fine without before.    
The company's founders Fancy Armor Sventsitsky Igor Larin and Eugene met while studying in the Far Eastern Federal University, where he studied Chinese language and economy. In the spring of 2012 Larin Sventsitsky shared with the idea to produce covers for suitcases. Then this product was almost unknown in Russia. But there was an established habit of packing suitcases in the luggage film. Everyone who used to use the baggage film - our potential buyer, reasoned entrepreneurs. First, the partners placed orders for sewing slipcovers made of elastic fabric (used to make swimwear and wetsuits) in Chinese factories, and then moved production in Russia. Figures for the business plan, as recognized Sventsitsky, taken from the ceiling - the product was new and unknown. Start-up capital amounted to about 2.5 million rubles. - Borrowed from relatives and have invested their own savings. Sventsitsky worked in the family business - a network of shops outerwear Vladivostok and moonlighting as a translator at a travel agency, Larin worked as marketing manager in a software company.

The money spent on the purchase of test batches of covers and materials abroad, the development of models, production and logistics. Through trial and error, we have designed a universal cover, suitable for most size suitcases. And they do covers of neospana and spandex in two versions:. Luggage height of 55-65 and 65-75 cm trademark registered partners in a couple of months after the establishment of the company, and the patent for products received in 2014 Cases entrepreneurs began offering specialized networks and shops selling leather goods and gifts. Fancy Armor Cases are sold in about 150 stores, says Larin. For three years the company Fancy Armor has achieved quadruple revenue growth: 2.8 million rubles. in 2013 to 12 million - in 2015. And in 2016 the sale of covers for the suitcases should bring 18 million rubles.

From China to Russia

Invented covers for suitcases SuitSuit Dutch company in 2008. Then the idea was picked up by the Americans. And first, the partners wanted to import cases from the US to Russia, but rejected the idea: covers poorly stretched and lacked of locks to prevent opening the suitcase, entrepreneurs tell. Sventsitsky Larin and decided to place orders in China.

In the spring of 2012 the partners made in China, the first order covers for suitcases. Producers looking through the Alibaba website, choose companies that specialize in sewing of articles made of spandex and neospana. "This is a mid-size factory, factories working for the domestic market. We deliberately did not cooperate with the major factories, working for export, as they have higher prices and much lower production flexibility, "- explains Sventsitsky. Orders in a few hundred pieces a month were China microscopic measurements, agreed to cooperate few.

The first batch was substandard. Partners remembered as sent to the print pattern with kittens and kittens appeared on the covers of green. Asked why kittens are green, the Chinese replied: We think it's nicer than the gray.

It was found that the production of quality can not be controlled remotely. Having traveled for two weeks in China in order to resolve issues with production, Sventsitsky stuck in Guangzhou for two years - had to permanently control all stages of production, from the purchase of materials and accessories to the quality of finished products and packaging. A collection of orders and marketing Larin worked in Vladivostok. For the supply chain responsible customs broker, he provided transportation to Moscow, warehouse, customs clearance. logistics costs account for about 30% of the order value.

 But unpredictable and long delivery times from China to Russia (three weeks at best, says Sventsitsky) prevented development. In 2014, the partners decided to move production to Russia. At the beginning of 2015 they found in Moscow three sewing sewing enterprises with experience of spandex and neospana and placed the first orders. The delivery time for Russia covers reduced to two days.

In autumn 2015 the partners rented a room 150 square meters. m for their own shop in Odintsovo, purchased equipment, hired six seamstresses. Costs amounted to about 1 million rubles. of the company's income. Fancy Armor moved to the purchase of materials from Russian importers. Now it has about 10 suppliers. After the transfer of production to Russia, the operating margin increased by about a quarter - 30%. The main costs - the cost of production (50%), rent (7%), advertising (15%) and salaries (20%). Now the company produces approximately 2500-3000 covers a year.

The company employs 10 people, including the founders, five seamstresses, manager of production control and delivery of orders and managing in Odintsovo, three people in Vladivostok engaged in the marketing, design, promotion and development strategy.

Suitcase with logo

Sell ​​goods, without which people are still treated safely, it was difficult. Initially, businesses relied on online sales. The first online shop Fancy Armor opened in 2012, but over the last month managed to sell almost a dozen covers, and online sales had collapsed. Online Store Partners rediscovered only in 2015. Straight-line sale yet occupy only 5% of the total.

In 2013, Larin and Sventsitsky began to actively look for large buyers. The first commercial network, which agreed to cooperate, was the leather goods stores Velars network. network representative confirmed the fact of collaboration, adding that it would be much more effective if Fancy Armor produced covers for large suitcases. Now 80% of sales are in Moscow, 10% - at St. Petersburg, and 10% - for all other regions. The main buyers are the "Republic" network, «Mr Sumkin" and Velars, online shopping "Robinzon.ru», Bagway, «Suitcase-sumka.ru" and "Mixed-market." In 2012, at the Fancy Armor had four partner retailer, and in 2016 - already 48.

At the same time the company began looking for corporate buyers. Larin came up to offer enterprise customers a branded blankets in corporate colors and logos. Among the first cases ordered MTS, Alfa-Bank and Mercedes, plus a hockey club "Torpedo", says Larin.

 Back in 2013 at the Fancy Armor new competitors, especially China. Fancy Armor also competes with two domestic producers: HitCases and CoverWay. The two main competitors among European manufacturers: Loqi SuitSuit from Germany and the Netherlands. Base models Fancy Armor sells for 1550 rubles, heavy-duty -. To 1980 rubles. European counterparts expensive Chinese cases cheaper by at least 10-15%, but they are less durable, says Alexander Sokolov, Head of Sales online store "Robinzon.ru" (sells covers for the suitcases in two grades - CoverWay and Fancy Armor).

"Notable Cases sales Luggage observed from 2013, - says Elena Glinskaya, marketing manager, producer of suitcases" Samsonite ". - And in 2016 sales rose by 8%. " "Has sold twice as many covers Fancy Armor, says Pavel Zakharov, co-owner of an online store" Variety Market "In the summer season 2016 at Fancy Armor cases accounted for 40% of sales cases and compared to 2015. According to him, many cases buy as a gift. "Mixed-market" in 2014 for the summer season selling covers for suitcases about 150 000 rubles, and in 2016 -. Already 700 000 rubles.

However, according to the owners of Fancy Armor, the current edition covers the company does not even reach 10% of the potential demand. In 2017, the company plans to invest about 1 million rubles. in opening their own outlets, especially at regional airports. Sventsitsky and Larin also want to expand the range and start producing other accessories for travelers: bags, envelopes, clothes, pillows for travel points for sleep. Already, the partners are experimenting with trial batches to order and tried and tested business model, the only question is, to expand the mass production, says Sventsitsky.

Lecture hall

34.4 million tourist trips abroad made the Russians in 2015, according to the Federal Tourism Agency. This is the main potential buyers suitcase covers. Covers interesting and traveling in Russia, primarily to protect the luggage. Domestic tourist flow in 2015 amounted to about 50 million visits, according to the Ministry of Culture.

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