Trading on the market for several years and dreaming about more, but not daring for a long time – this is the story of Denis Denisenko from Grodno. Bank RRB helped him to make his dream come true. In March 2021, Denis opened the long-awaited Malina Plus women’s clothing store. How to take advantage of your luck 100%? Here is his story.
“Forgot about a stable profit”
– I started trading in 2015. I bought jewelry and opened a small shop in the market. I had only $ 1000, and that was not my own – I borrowed from my parents. I opened in a hurry, because I really wanted to have something of my own.
I was very afraid that nothing would work out. There was one thought: “If only not to go into debt.”Stretched out on the moral and strong-willed – I am a former athlete. I just suppressed all my weaknesses and held out.
Gradually, we began to grow, we decided to try “island” trade in the main shopping centers of our city. We offered customers jewelry and bijouterie of Russian brands, hats and other accessories, there was an “island” with leather products (bags, belts, wallets, watches).
Then there were many tourists in Grodno, we made good money. And we decided to go to a full-fledged store. My wife was very supportive. She is a creative person: at one time she made handmade toys, studied to be a seamstress while she was on maternity leave, and mastered the profession of a photographer. With her skills, we could do business promotion on our own. But they believed that they were not yet ripe for a full-fledged store.
And then the pandemic knocked us down. The main flow of buyers in Grodno shopping centers is tourists. With the closed borders, we lost traffic, even the locals stopped going shopping. Our revenue fell sharply – 2.5 times. We kept on loyal customers and our funds.
On good days, we went to zero.To work with a small plus was for happiness – after all, we have salespeople who need to be paid a salary. The shopping center made concessions and made a 10-15% discount on rent.
At that time, we also traded on the market in parallel. Somewhere I even stood instead of the seller myself. There were a little more people there – because of the open space, apparently, going shopping was not so scary. We invited visitors to the market to look into the shopping center and get acquainted with the assortment of our “islets”. It worked. Slightly increased cross-country ability.
It seems to me that our business survived the past year only because we had different groups of goods: they took not one, but another. But we forgot about the stable profit.
“Sign that it’s time to act”
Last fall, I came to conduct standard operations at Bank RRB. One of the employees offered to participate in an advertising campaign for clients. The main prize is advertising support. They gave me a serial number, explained the rules. I nodded and at the same second forgot about this game.
And then 3-4 hours before the New Year, a call rang from an unfamiliar number. In the receiver, the guy in a solemn voice began to congratulate me and explain something about the win.
I thought it was some kind of practical joke, and I was very dry about this event.
When they sent me a video, which called my serial number, I began to realize that this is not a joke and that there really is some kind of gain – advertising support from the bank.
The business sector is forced to adapt to circumstances, look for new formats for working with clients and sometimes start all over again. The mission of Bank RRB is to support business, especially in difficult times. For this, he offers many possibilities.
For example, a bank specially created package “Full zeroing”, but with the loan product “ROK-N-ROLL” your business will be heard even outside Belarus. $ 25 thousand for a period of up to 3 years without collateral and long wait will allow you to quickly pump your business, and innovative services will not leave your questions unanswered.
If entrepreneurs face difficulties, the bank is ready to meet halfway. The bank’s credit committee is ready to revise the conditions, carry out refinancing, or even provide the individual with a credit vacation. All problems are solvable.
The win prompted us to realize our idea of a full-fledged store. But we couldn’t find a room in any way. After the New Year in the shopping center, where we have trading “islands”, a pavilion of 20 m² was vacated. We thought this was the second sign.
We took out a loan from Bank RRB and started looking for suppliers. We chose manufacturers carefully – we evaluated the design of the collection, the quality of materials, the size range, and read reviews on the Internet.
We spent 75% of the funds on the purchase of goods. The rest was invested in the design of the pavilion: they made cosmetic repairs, ordered furniture and all sorts of little things. Everything was put in place and Malina Plus was opened. The “plus” in the title alludes to the large size. Initially, we wanted to make this our feature. But people with a standard figure also wanted to look after something for themselves in our store.
My wife and I decided to expand the size range and sell clothes for women from 42 to 70 sizes.A few days after opening, we realized that there was very little space in our store. And in our understanding, a clothing store should be spacious so that visitors can move freely and try on different looks. We realized that it was impossible to save on space, and decided to expand – we moved to a neighboring pavilion of 53 m². Repairs were made again, furniture was ordered additionally.
While we were spending time on the store, we stopped dealing with the “islands”. We were faced with a dilemma: we wanted to develop a new direction for us, but at the same time keep what we had gained in 7 years. In order not to be sprayed, we transferred almost the entire assortment from other points (bags, accessories, scarves) to the store. We left only the “island” with jewelry.
On April 1, the Malina Plus store was opened in the new pavilion. Now the “plus” in the name says that girls of any size can buy from us not only things for their wardrobe, but also accessories.
We tried to find an assortment for every taste.
Now this is our feature.
“Ready to declare ourselves”
As soon as we opened, we started an Instagram page. Probably, we did it unprofessionally, but we have already connected specialists and will actively invest in digital marketing.
The discount system worked very well. Our pricing news spread through word of mouth. Probably people’s recommendations work best.
We found SMM specialist Egor and advertising manager Diana. We connected her to communication with the bank so that she also took part in the development of an advertising strategy.
“We provide multifaceted support to clients in the regions, – says Vitaly Drankevich, CEO of RRB Bank. – We help Denis Denisenko with external advertising for his women’s clothing store „Malina plus“.
In such campaigns, we use the capabilities of our other clients. For example, in Lida, we have been advertising on large outdoor structures for our client-entrepreneur for several months now. In Vitebsk, when rebranding and changing signage, we use the services of our other client „Extra Studio“.
This is how we promote the business of some entrepreneurs, support others using their services, and at the same time save money in the RRB system.
We are ready to attract our partners to help clients in accounting, legal, insurance, consulting and other aspects of activities, for example, to form a loyalty program or installment terms for retail. “
They say that we need to learn from the mistakes of others, but my wife and I want to fill our own bumps and do something different from others. We are only newcomers to the “big” business and we hope that the advertising support from the bank will help us to declare ourselves.
I think that great success is possible if you do everything openly and with pleasure. Probably everyone knows that only three things prevent any person from becoming successful: laziness, fear and low self-esteem. When we bring the store to the level, we will open our own clothing production. And this is not another dream of ours, but a specific goal, and we are ready to go towards it, growing through the asphalt. Well, and to be serviced, of course, at the RRB Bank!