ASTANA – The children’s clothing company Arman will present its first limited collection at the Junior Fashion Week show organised by the KZ Fashion School Agency Dec. 16-17. Their new special collection for children aged four to 12 is different from their previous ready-to-wear collections.
Head of the company Zhanar Sarsenova launched Arman’s online store a year ago. The store opened with an autumn/winter 2016-17 collection Nov. 1 this year.
“I am proud to open our first store and participate in the fashion show. Starting a business was some kind of an emotional impulse. I’m not a designer or an experienced technologist. Doing business is not easy. There are a lot of technical nuances that only an expert knows,” Sarsenova said in a recent interview with The Astana Times.
An economist by occupation, Sarsenova had had a career as treasury department director. When she and her spouse decided to have a fourth child, they realised that it would be difficult for her to continue to follow her original career.
“Children need constant care and attention. There was a need for a more flexible schedule. At the same time, I understood that I could not just be involved only in my family’s life. I was aware that I should work, maybe even more than before. The idea to create a Made in Kazakhstan brand of children’s clothing was born this way. I started the business using our private capital,” she said.
The shortage of experienced designers and technologists was quite a challenge for the fresh-faced entrepreneur.
“A good specialist should know not only the technology but also trends, how to fit within a certain budget, where accessories are needed, what items can be combined. The technologist and designer should create as a single ensemble. I am lucky to have a great team of professionals now,” she said.
The company’s designer Arina Kiyan has been working in the field of light industry and fashion for more than 15 years. She is also a stylist, image maker, psychologist and mother. She was greatly inspired by the idea to create a local clothing line.
“At first, there were no big sales through the online store. Maybe there was too little advertising or our targeted audience was not used to buying things online. We have clothes for children from three to 12 at affordable prices. For example, a track suit costs about 15,000 tenge (US$44). A suit made in Turkey is the same price. But our clothes are cheaper than brands like Zara and Gap,” Sarsenova said.
The creative team pays a lot of attention to the garments and chooses only high-quality fabrics so that children feel comfortable and warm. Their major suppliers of fabrics are Turkey, Russia and Poland. Recently they produced a clothing line from South Korean-made fabrics.
The calming and soothing colours dominate in the collection. There are no crystals and synthetic materials.
“We have plans to promote our online store and increase the range of clothes for teenagers. An intermediate winter collection with elegant clothes is scheduled to be released in December. We are negotiating with a Kazakh manufacturer to produce the footwear. We also plan to produce outerwear. I want all the fabrics and items to be manufactured in our country. If I find a good partner here, then I’ll start to realise all my projects,” she said.
“It takes a lot of time and effort to check the quality of the materials and make sure the fabric does not fade at different temperatures,” Sarsenova said. “But I do that so customers need to have no questions or complaints. I am delighted to have positive feedback. Many of them congratulated us on the opening of the shop and wished success to a local producer. Our people are very patriotic and they are pleased to buy local goods for the same high quality.”
“We are currently creating the spring collection. I want to turn a profit in one store and go on expanding. The Damu Fund offers attractive conditions for lending to small and medium-sized businesses. If we decide to open a large manufacturing enterprise, we will use these terms,” she said.