Support reestablishing girls' swimwear manufacturing in Victoria.
Hi! My name is Anna Starodubtseva. I came to Victoria, BC with my 10-years old daughter and husband from Kharkiv city, Ukraine, running from the Russian invasion. At home, I had a small business of making swimsuits for babies, infants, toddlers and girls of age up to 12 years. I am asking you to help to reestablish manufacturing here, in Canada, on Vancouver Island. Your help is not just money; it is a tool and opportunity to work and be an independent part of the community I’ve already loved! I am sure that this small business will grow and produce job opportunities, so I can help others, who needs support.
Money from this fundraising will be spent on purchasing equipment needed to begin the production, and rental for the first few month. The equipment includes:
- Industrial sewing machines (one zig-zag, two single needle machines, two overlocks, one interlock, one spaghetti overlock, sewing table for cutting, industrial iron);
- Printing equipment (cutter, printers, heat press);
- Accessories (sewing knifes, rulers, mannequin etc.).
We decided to spend all the money our family will receive as government support on purchasing fabric and sewing accessories (threads, elastic etc.).
I hope this story below could help you understand why I am fighting for reestablishing BabyLadySwim
– ruffled swimwear for little girls. Thank you for your time reading it.
A BIT OF HISTORY:
In 2011 my daughter, Evangeline, was born. Like many mothers, I tried to give my child all the best I could – upbringing, education, clothes. Of course, I was lack of money for all I wanted, including smart clothes. So, I asked for a household sewing machine as a present on one of my birthdays.
At first, I sewed simple knitted dresses, using the patterns from magazines, and I tried to add something “peculiar” into each model. Very soon, I lacked one sewing machine as each sewing machine is limited by a fixed number of operations. So, I received the household overlock for my regular birthday (again as a present). Having received more technical capabilities in sewing the children’s clothes, I felt a deficiency in knowledge and equipment. The next natural step was learning the sewing craft, for which I spent 2 years.
My husband, although supporting me, not always approved the purchase of new fabrics, fixtures, avoided the conservations about purchase of the third sewing machine – the family income was spent only to food and payment of utility bills. Despite these difficulties, I had the feeling that I had found my life's work – sewing of clothes for children. I started thinking about premises for work, as it was difficult to concentrate on sewing at home. Some months later, I rented my first office (speaking precisely, a room with the area of 9 square meters – about 100 square feet). Since that time, the events started developing very quickly.
I registered in Instagram, where I showed my works. At that time, I was interested in sewing the evening elegant dresses for small girls. I received my first some orders! Unfortunately, the work format didn’t allow transforming my hobby into a business. I spent up to three weeks to sew one dress, and the price, for which I sold, covered the expenses only for materials and rent. It was amazing, interesting, so, I went on.
In 2015, before our family trip to the sea, I decided to try to sew a swimsuit for my 4-year-old daughter. I read that this is a complex product but I really wanted to. After a long work with evening dresses, the swimsuit turned out to be elegant - voluminous, with lush ruffles. My child was happy. We spent several days at sea.
When we came back home (now you appreciate the meaning of this word in a different way) - I published the photos from our trip on social networks. Almost immediately, I began to receive the orders for Swimwear! Slowly but steadily, the hobby started developing into a business. I bought 1 meter of fabric, sewed the swimsuits from it and sold them - and I already had the money for 3 meters of fabric. For the first time, my husband began to listen about my progress with special interest.
In 2016, as an experiment, I opened a store on Etsy - my swimwear found a positive response from buyers there. I began to work for two markets - domestic and international. This is how BabyLadySwim began to appear. Since that time, I had the first employee - my husband, who helped whenever possible - in between his work.
Why BabyLadySwim? It is a story in its own right. At first, there was the name BabySwimShop - we thought the name should reflect the theme of the product being sold. We even ordered 1,000 bags with the store's logo... Over time, it became clear that the name did not fit; it was empty. It had no soul. We began to think further. I even remember one option - SwimwearFromUkraineForLittleGirls. Clearly, it was a joke... The name had to be simple in writing, short, reflect the essence of the product, idea and atmosphere. BabyLadySwim is the swimwear for girls. Every girl is a lady, since birth. Lady means smart, elegant and beautiful.
On 28 of February 2022, BabyLadySwim celebrated its 6th birthday - but not in the way we would like - away from home, work. In desperation, that this is all over....
I have always been modest and did not call BabyLadySwim as a brand, although there was something to share as it concerned the success. For 6 years of work, our Instagram account in Ukraine has more than 33 thousand clients - real, not cheated ones. The shop on Etsy has received more than 5,000 orders; more than 500 positive reviews. The geography of shipments exceeded 50 countries - the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Kuwait, the Netherlands, China, Germany, Australia - the list goes on. In 2022, we finally launched our store on Amazon and got the first sales. We have registered a trademark in Ukraine, in the World Intellectual Property Organization, filed a trademark application in the USA - now it is in the process of consideration. We created our own brand book - the original design of products. All this was done with one goal - to give a little joy to each girl. To convey the atmosphere, in which we worked, I will quote an extract from the postcard that we included with each order:
Kid’s joy. What’s that? First of all, it’s Emotion. You’ll neither imitate, nor forge it. As it’s sincere. Honest. Real…… Look, now she’s shy. She’s hiding her eyes. She’s airily “flying” along the room as if at podium. And suddenly, she starts screeching?! What will today the joy of your little Princess look like? That’s a Great Secret. But, no doubts – THE BEST ONE in the Universe!
BabyLadySwim has created the unique collection of swimming suits for your kids. It’s not only some accessory for beach as there are a large number of them now. That’s a masterpiece that provokes Emotions. That’s Awareness. Just imagine. There, far-far away. One little girl’s standing at the seaside. And she’s smiling as she’s got the most incredible swimming suit at that beach?!
I have come a long way from a series of successes and outright failures for 8 years of work. Starting with three household sewing machines and a few pieces of fabric, nine square meters of rented office - we earned our office, 8 industrial sewing machines, thousands yards of fabric, developed more than 6 thousands variations of swimsuits. Everything that we have achieved (thanks to my husband, who has been in our team since 2018) was done without attracting the investors, loans - on our own and with sleepless nights.....
On February 24, 2022, the war came in our lives. I left my city, home, and work and went to Canada in hope to have a better life for my family.
I understand that my story is one of thousands similar stories of people, who fled the war in Ukraine. I do not ask for money to live on. I do not have the opportunity to get a loan from a bank, or ask for a loan from friends. Without the purchase of equipment and materials, BabyLadySwim will not be able to exist and will become 8-years period of my biography. BabyLadySwim - my second child, my life. And, I want to fight for it.
I want to quote the ancient Greek philosopher Archimedes, who said: "Give me a fulcrum, and I will move the Earth!". Now my fulcrum is you and the donations that you can collect.
In witness thereof, I’d like to give some references to BabyLadySwim