I once thought – can there be demand for design items in Latvia? It turned out there is a great purchasing power in Latvia, says Angel Glass Design manager and author of an&angel designer dish brand Agnese Gara-Nimane.
She notes that Latvians value home-made products very much and are prepared to support local producers. «If you put a foreign-made glass item and one made in Latvia on the same table, I think the majority of Latvians would choose the dish made in Latvia,» – says the brand’s author.
«We launched our business in a time when there was no Latvian product boom, so we feel the change of attitude coming from consumers very well, especially from corporate clients – more and more often Latvian-made products are chosen as special gifts. More and more companies support local products, not impersonal foreign products,» – says Gara-Nimane.
Design has weight in Germany, Russia values brand
She adds that design items are in demand in a wide range of countries. «If we look at dishes, the biggest market for them is Germany. Items like those are usually sold in small shops that fill a specific niche. Designer dishes are often used in hotels and restaurants in Germany.»
If we look at countries where brand name has weight, we ought to mention Russia. «There are many shops that sell brands in Russia. Quality, design and originality are most important in western countries. This, of course, cannot be applied to all countries – society is never one-sided. There are groups that will always look at quality first when buying things. Others will pay more attention to brand recognition, etc.»
What’s and ideal brand?
«I believe brand plays a large role! I can say from personal experience that when making a brand name, it is important to make sure it begins with an ‘a’, because it is the first letter in the alphabet. If a product’s name begins with this letter, there is a greater possibility that it will pop up first,» – says Gara-Nimane.
She emphasizes that the brand name should also be easy to read and memorable. It is also worth considering how the name may sound in foreign countries. These are very serious aspects for businessmen hoping to carve themselves a place on the global market to keep in mind. «Our partners have said it many times that they like our products. Unfortunately, we lack recognition.»
Increasing recognition abroad
There is a variety of tools for that – take part in international exhibitions and carry out marketing activities. In order to realize a successful marketing campaign the person responsible for it should have knowledge of the product, company goals and other aspects of business, says the entrepreneur.
She believes the brand plays a major role in making sure something is bought. A brand should be recognizable and have added value. It is also no less important to present your product in a comprehensive and convincing way.
Latvia’s most successful brands – fashion, furniture and textiles
As noted by Gara-Nimane, there are multiple examples of Latvian brands gaining recognition in foreign countries. «There are many Latvian designer-made brands we don’t know about in Latvia but they are nonetheless popular outside of Latvia. Our country’s most successful brands are found in fashion, furniture textiles and accessories. There is a lot of choice and high quality found there,» – explains the entrepreneur.
Knowing how to present products in a convincing way
«If someone asked me how a small company from Latvia can possibly compete with larger foreign companies, I would mention that small companies have to decide what they want first. That’s the most important subject! If the goal is to land products on shelves meant for recognizable brands, the small company has to become recognizable first. Entrepreneurs have to be able to convince buyers that their product is just as good as world-class products,» – Gara-Nimane shares advice.
She believes it is important to meet with customers in person, show and let them see the product for themselves. Manufacturers have to keep in mind the store their products are sold in. Bigger stores are not always a good choice. Smaller shops offering individual approach to clients are currently more popular.
Everyone should do what they do best
«If a person has an idea, endurance and comrades, anything is possible! One person can only achieve so much. There are only a handful of cases when a single person was able to accomplish a lot. Every person should do what he or she does best. If you manage to put together a good team and you have confidence – you can create anything and accomplish anything!» – said Gara-Nimane.