As a young girl, Kristina Fidelskaya often dreamt of launching her own fashion brand, but she realized this ambition only in 2014, which was when she launched her eponymous label following a professional course she did with the Esmod Fashion Institute in Dubai, UAE. Though everything –from architecture to nature- can be an inspiration for Fidelskaya, she counts living in Dubai and its diverse mix of people as being especially stimulating. With her company’s HQ in Dubai and its production in Italy, when asked on factors to ensure efficiency in the company, Fidelskaya says a blueprint is essential in establishing clear roles: “I’m a firm believer in having organizational structure, and ensuring there are clear processes that have to be followed.”
Reflecting on her journey as an entrepreneur, Fidelskaya notes that while there is a lot of excitement in opening a business, “it is not an easy road to walk… I have learned not to underestimate the amount of work that comes with running a fashion label.” But though it entails a lot of sacrifice, time and energy, Fidelskaya feels its rewards are worth the ride. Having had her own share of setbacks during her entrepreneurial journey, Fidelskaya stresses the significance of prioritization and always having an alternate plan of action: “It’s that volatility that comes with a startup business that you have to adjust to.”
Pursuing a business venture in the Middle East was a no-brainer for Fidelskaya- she had moved to Dubai with her family 12 years ago, and she notes its geographical advantage on being able to cater to a variety of international markets. And what’s next for the KF brand? With the first Kristina Fidelskaya boutique open at Wafi Mall in Dubai, besides plans of moving their HQ from Dubai Media City to Dubai Design District, the founder says the label’s first shoe collection, as well as a new fragrance, will be launched soon.
What are your do’s and don’ts for up and coming fashion startups trying to grow their brands?
Always stay true to the company vision while having a clear understanding of the market, competitors, and target audience. Make sure the brand has a signature that is visible throughout the products, this way you are recognized immediately. We call our significant detail the Kristina Fidelskaya DNA, which is our bold silhouettes and feminine designs. Have an understanding that growing a luxury fashion brand the business aspect is equally important as the creative aspect. They have to join hands in order to grow and be successful.
As for don’ts: don’t be overconfident. Listen to all the advice you can get because every point of view can be a powerful tool. Critics may feel harsh, but everything enables you to grow and build a stronger brand. Don’t restrict the way you think and follow the obvious path. By thinking outside of the box and pioneering you can come up with new creative ways of launching a new idea. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your team. Employing a talented staff will help you meet deadlines, bounce ideas, and collectively create something more than you would by yourself.
What would you say is the region’s biggest challenge for entrepreneurs?
The pace is very fast in the MENA region, especially in the UAE. There is a lot of opportunity and a lot of investment. The speed of bringing product to market is more important than ever, [and] for young entrepreneurs, this can be a challenge. Recruitment can be challenging as well, as there is so much talent waiting to be found and bursting with creative ideas. But a lot of multinational companies are here as well, [so] an entrepreneur needs the top talent of the region, just as much as these multinationals, and [they have to thus] convince candidates that their vacancy is the best choice for him/her.
What’s your advice for entrepreneurs starting a business in MENA?
Do not set yourself with too many limitations. Be experimental, be brave enough to take calculated risk. Be ready for a fast paced fashion-lifestyle.