Doing business digitally: Kyrgyz businesses benefit from e-commerce
“I have been dedicating all my life and energy to the development of my own brand for more than nine years now. Last year we were in a crisis – I, as many small businesses in Kyrgyzstan and worldwide, had to decide what to do to keep my business afloat”, says Gulnaz Baiturova, an owner of a fashion brand in Kyrgyzstan called Inesse.
Inesse Fashion story
“Inesse Fashion is named after my daughter. When we started, Inesse was only seven years old and in first grade. She was our first photo model – toothless and funny. In 2012, I released my first children’s collection. Then in 2015, I released my first “mother – daughter” collection which we presented in the showroom «Modnyi dom». In 2015 I decided to start developing my brand, Inesse Fashion”. The concept of Inesse Fashion is different from the numerous sewing shops in Kyrgyzstan because we produce conceptual clothing. We produce collections for women who like comfort and girly clothes but also praise natural fabrics. Our brand’s focus is sustainable consumption. For this reason, e-commerce and logistics are dramatically important for Inesse Fashion, shares Gulnaz Baiturova.
Inesse Fashion is one of the 83 businesses in Kyrgyzstan participating in the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) e-commerce enterprise training. As part of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project funded by the European Union, ITC launched its e-commerce enterprise training in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan thus far. 40 advisors have been selected in these 3 Central Asian countries to work with up to 200 SMEs from the handicraft, textile and agribusiness sectors, to help them sell through new online channels.
Unfortunately, small businesses are often excluded from e-commerce due to the limited availability of international payment solutions, affordable and reliable logistics services and suitable technologies. Additionally, legal and regulatory barriers, insufficient skills and a lack of financial support, prove to be significant obstacles.“Many companies in Kyrgyzstan faced difficulties due to Covid-19 crisis. I mentor four companies with different e-commerce backgrounds. Inesse Fashion is a digitally sophisticated company but at the moment, we are working on further improving their digital content and expanding their client base. Inesse Fashion has been additionally chosen for Ready4Trade’s eBay Central Asian Hub so they can also trade online and access international markets”, says Yulia Spasskaya, an ITC mentor.
E-commerce in action
Through Ready4Trade, participating companies such as Inesse Fashion are being trained on how to create a website, sell through online marketplaces, use online payment solutions, develop a digital marketing strategy and understand logistics for e-commerce. Gulnaz is focusing on the development of the content plan for social media. “We are planning to launch an online shop and ensure our presence at marketplaces such as eBay. Thanks to in-person on-the job consultations we have decided to change a concept on our Instagram page to make it more client-oriented and diverse. We are creating more stories, videos, and live photos to attract more visitors. I have a clearer vision of the marketing and digital strategy for our brand and hope we will succeed in implementing our future plans. Thanks to the advice of my coach, I am posting more information about my background, my vision of the brand, and our future plans to attract more visitors and happy customers.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the five beneficiary countries of the Ready4Trade project, funded by the EU for a total amount of 15 Million euros, and implemented by ITC.
Stay connected: #Ready4Trade #CentralAsia
With the project ‘Ready4Trade Central Asia’, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs). The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.