L.Purvsuren: I make my boots warm, and lightweight wishing they will satisfy the buyers

R.Adiyasuren

2018-01-31 09:30 GMT+8
L.Purevsuren

One of the most important possessions to overcome the Mongolian harsh winter is a lightweight, warm, and comfortable boots. Before winter arrives, people usually ask each what are the warmest and comfortable shoes and where can they be found.

Mongolians already know that horse skin boots with three soles and padded with sheepskin is the best choice. This kind of boot is similar to reindeer boots in terms of design, comfort and warmth but comes in much cheaper price.

Mongol mind is introducing a businesswoman who produces boots. L. Purevsuren is a household producer and started her business. Her workshop`s name is Chono Kharaat.

She first learned to make shoes as a worker at a shoe company. She has been working as a shoe maker since 2015 and today she has her own workshop and have her loyal customers.

We interviewed with L.Purevsuren.

-Why did you decide to make horse skin boots?
-I was a shoemaker at a shoe shop but unfortunately due to an illness I had to quit my job. My husband and I are 40 years old and it is difficult to find a job at this age. Nowadays, employers prefer to work with young peoplemore. We couldn’t find jobs so we turned to what we are good at, which is making boots.

Our first customers were satisfied with our product and ordered more boots, which made me believe that we can make this work and continue as a family business. It has been 2 years since then.

Now we are producing 5 to 6 different kind of boots. During winter our main material is horse skin, hides and during spring and autumn users tend to buy chrome leather boots. We make customized boots based on g to the customer’s need. Looking back at our humble beginnings, we now have our own story and also people are now much more familiar with products.

-Where did you find your first investment?

-When we started we didn’t have much equipment. It is just a small family business so we couldn’t afford much but with what we had we bought two sewing machines and started the production. Soon we applied to the Small and Medium entrepreneurship development fund for its grant aid program, andreceived 2 million tugriks to buy new machines.

Through Women’s Business Center I received a consulting service on marketing skills.

Then I attended business skilss training courses organized at the Women’s Business Center and as part of the Incubator program I received support fund of 5.2 million tugriks. We spent 4.2 million tugriks on four new equipment which reduced hand operation and also helped us to create different and unique designs.

At the beginning we lacked experience in sales and promotion. Through Women’s Business Center I received a consulting service on marketing skills.

Also, Chingeltei district Governor’s office supports micro entrepreneurs and they provided us with a small workshop of 15 square meters sandwich house for free of charge, based on a renting contract. Governor`s office extends the contract if we maintain producing goods and creating jobs.

-Now let`s talk about your products. What are the advantages of your boots? 
-We make our boots with horse skin and inside with sheep skin. We use genuine leather decorationsSome producers use imitation leather and such small details affect the sales margin as artificial leather and skin freezes and breaks easily, and color gets changed in winter weather. How do you feel if you spend 250-350 thousand tugriks on boots that lose color, break, and tear only within a year?

For this reason we focus on the quality of the boots and don’t take short cuts for profit. 250-350 thousand tugruks is the average Mongolian worker’s two-week salary so we do our best to make product worth the price and our aim is to make a long-lasting boots. We hope the buyer will be happy with our product and wear them for at least 2-3 years. Our top priorities warmth and comfort of the boots.

In addition to careful selection of the raw materials, we also consider about different body features and living and working conditions of the buyers. For example, elders prefer boots that are easy to wear and take off. Youngers put importance on bright colors, appereance and more decorations on the boots.

We also make personalized and customized shoes that meet the individual’s specific need and concern. Personalization of shoes is definitely one of our advantages.

Also, we use cow hides as an inner material. Recently, more and more people start to wear national costumes and boots. Specially before Lunar year and Naadam festival, customers order traditional boots,. Some guys create new style by wearing traditional boots with modern clothes.

-What about price
-Horse skin boots for adults costs 180-350 thousand tugriks, depends on its padding. Currently, we don`t produce children boots but plann to make family boots for parents and kids so the whole family have their matching boots.

-I saw a picture of boots called “Mongolian Timberland” on your Facebook page. 
-One of our customers works at a ski resort and wanted to have comfortable, warm and lightweight boots to wear while working. We called that boots “Mongolian Timberland”.

We aim to produce unique boots. My son is a good painter and gifted in artistry. He is the one responsible for designs. Before introducing new style boots into the market, we need to conduct a survey to determine the target group and to find out consumer`s interest to see whether we will do mass production or not.

We’re planning to make special boots targeting rock music listeners by producing motorcycle style boots, and also target specific age of group such as young adults and teenagers.

-Start up business owners need to have various knowledge such as tax system, promotion techniquesand production development. Where do you find all these information? 
-I attend many trainings organized at the Women’s Business Center. There teachers conduct a wide range of business skilss training starting from how to write a project proposal, product development, marketing, management and package standards. Trainings are fruitful and enable female entrepreneurs to find out all the information they need.

Women’s Business Center teaches us modern business models and methods. This was very different than other trainings I had participated in the past.

During trainings I learned who my target group is, what kind of product they need, how to promote our products in the market. Such knowledge is a good fundament to start a business. Also, at the Women’s Business Center we receive advise on access to loan from private banks and opportunities to attend different sales event. During exhibitions we share our experiences from each other and compare our products with other goods, and inspired by new ideas.

Through the financial support I received from the Business Incubator program, I took a bar code for my boots and ordered packs.

Women’s Business Center teaches us modern business models and methods. This was very different than other trainings I had participated in the past.

-So we know now that you have attended a number of training and have received much knowledge. For your business, how did you determine your target group? 
-Mongolia`s population is only three million. If do a very simple math here and consider each person will buy one pair of shoes for winter and other for summer, approximately six million shoes will be sold. Domestic shoe makers provide only 20% of these shoes. 80% of the demand is supplied by imported shoes . Mongolians spend 120 billion tugriks for import shoes

Data shows that if we support domestic shoe makers it is not hard to prevent money flowing out to foreign countries.

Thankfully, it is getting easier to connect with local citizens online from all 21 aimags (provinces). We receive orders from aimags via Facebook page. Most requests come from Orkhon, Darkhan-Uul, Selenge provinces. They send the payment via mobile bank and we send their new boots by post service. I think that there are possibilities to expand my workshop and open new branches in other aimags.

-You sell your products mainly through online platforms. Are you planning to open a official store?
-Stock is very important. Turnover assets and good business plan allow us to keep stock. Although my husband and I intensify the production in September and October we do not have enough stock. But between March and June production gets reduced. During spring months we can continue our production and sell them at the market in the city center. Our workshop is far away from city center. If we move to the center, consumers won`t waste time. To solve all these problems, we need turnover assets and savings. If I can`t find an investment, in Fall we`ll rent a shop counter.

-Can you please share with us of what is your nearest future plan? You mentioned earlier that there is a plan to hire employees and expand your workshop as a company?

-I am planning to expand my workshop as a company. There is an old Mongolian proverb “one person does not make a family and one tree does not make a forest”. We cannot grow bigger j as a workshop but becoming a company we might have a better future. Company status will help us become more responsible,promote our goods and establis partnership with other organizations.

For now my husband, my son, and I work together. I cut raw materials according to patterns and sewcow hides or horse skin.

My husband prints and our son soles the boots. When we have many orders one person do all these jobs. We applied for a loan, if bank accepts our loan request we`ll hire 2-3 employees. I told you that domestic shoe producers only cover  20% of the boot market. Last year there was a saying that every Prius driver wears a reindeer boot. I won`t talk about reindeer boot quality. But Yakuts wear these boots when temperature falls down until minus 40 degrees. I think that wearing these boots in minus 20 degrees may affectnegatively in our health.

Mongolians can make high quality boot that can compete with imported shoes. I don’t think we need to spend 650,000-1,200,000 million tugriks for a pair of boots, instead we can buy warm, high quality boots made locally for 250-350 thousand tugriks.

Behind one person’s product there is a family depending on that business. So it’s always the best idea to support local products and find the best fitting shoes for yourself.

We provide guarantee for all our products. If the shoes purchased from us develop problems such as break, rips, wewill fix it. However, so far no one has brought our shoes back for repairing yet.

All our customers have been completely satisfied with our products. People who made purchase in the past always seem to come back to get shoes for their mother, father, and family members. Having satisfied customers gives me a lot of encouragement.

-Thank you for your time.

If you want to contact Chono Haraat and obtain more information on the product or if you want to place an order, please feel free to call 80110022.

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