Until February 24, 2022, I had been involved in the development of Framiore company: I was looking for investments, partners, and implementing innovations.
A few weeks before the full-scale invasion, my team and I won the national selection among Ukrainian startups and were preparing for South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin. This is an international festival conducted since 1987, and in March 2022, for the first time in history, a delegation of Ukrainian companies planned to present our products and solutions there. In April, we planned to participate in the international discussions Future Trends in Textile and Uniting Business: Driving Sustainability Across Europe.
Sleeping bags for the military and delivery of medicines
On February 25, we at Framiore sewed the first prototype of a sleeping bag for the military. On March 3, I took my son and daughter to Poland. I gave my apartment to a family from Mariupol, and I myself lived either on a sofa at a friend’s house or in a hospital.
The process with sleeping bags was more or less organized: we had a constant request from subdivisions, identified materials, despite the fact that it was not easy, because in the first weeks few people worked, there were people who raised all the funds for it.
At that time, the organizations engaged in medicine were looking for crews in passenger cars, preferably women, because at that time there were a lot of roadblocks and traffic was difficult, for the delivery of medicines to Kyiv and closer to the front. I joined them. I even remember that first call: “Natalia, we need to deliver medicines to some Kyiv hospital”. I was knocked down.
My friend and I drove her bright red car, due to the fact that it was a hybrid, we had enough fuel for one trip without refueling. We took medicine there, spent the night in a hospital, picked up people and returned to Ivano-Frankivsk. The situations were different: weapons were put to our heads, once there was an aerial battle above us, we slept several kilometers from the firing line. It may seem weird, but I remember that time with warmth. Everything was clear: pick up, fold, deliver, pick up, return. There was a beginning and an end to the mission.
There were dozens of such crews. Over time, everything was systematized and adjusted, large funds, large loads and systematic work came into play. I want to believe that thanks to such crews and people we have survived the first month.
Meanwhile, Framiore company has not laid off a single person, on the contrary, we have tripled in size. We have managed to establish work with the military line: when a request comes in, we develop and manufacture or give it to someone who can do it faster. We have developed a modular trench sleeping bag. Requests for the production of sleeping bags are given by foundations, we do not sell them. They give us a list, and we send them out. The suspended sleeping bag project has been also launched: this is when a person from any country can buy a sleeping bag for a military man. And we send it to those who need it.
Our choice is to join the victory
The challenge now is to continue working on brand development. After all, the world continues to move and develop technologically. It became difficult to keep the pace. However, together with our Belgian partners, we have started work on creating a capsule of things that will be adjusted to fit the figure. We have had a turning point in the change of strategy, a new model of partnership and development emerged. Although I still don’t know where it will lead us.
In March, we will show these things in Belgium, along with shirts and pants, we will hand over a sleeping bag to better convey to the audience how strategy and plans can change, and with them, reality.
At the same time, we at Framiore will be looking for support for the production of sleeping bags and special uniforms for the front. In April, with this capsule, we are invited to Milan Design Week 2023! That’s how we live. We are preparing for the Milan fashion week, and we are working on improving the military staff.
Perhaps in this way we will speed up our development as a technological company and still create our own Ukrainian Patagonia. We plan with the team to bring out a separate line for “victory”, and still continue to develop Framiore. We aim to expand our line, add men’s clothing and outdoor clothing: pants, jackets, backpacks, sleeping bags.It is important to be honest with ourselves: we live in a country at war. And now the issue of Ukraine future as a state is on the agenda. All I can do is continue to develop the business, to live and to contribute with all my abilities to the victory. Not because we can afford it, but because it is our choice.