Olga Kovalchuk’s Interview in «Cabinet»
Interview with Olga Kovalchuk – the founder of Ukrainian factory “Lacover” in magazine “Cabinet”.
Olga has a fragile, delicate image, but all her movements are swift, and from the first moments of communication you realize that a strong-willed woman with a huge inner strength and core is sitting rigth next to you. Looking at Olga’s smile and open minded face features, it feels like energy fulfills you.
When she speaks about the factory, her eyes burn. It feels like we are talking about beloved child which receives lots of efforts and patience.
Olga, can you tell us about the idea of setting up a factory?
It is not easy for a young entrepreneur in our country to start his own business. The state is not ready to support the beginnings of people. The system of bureaucracy that exists in Ukraine does not allow us to move forward quickly.
When there was an idea to start a business, it was like a challenge, as an attempt to overcome the system and make a real contribution to the development of the country’s business sector. After all, we have everything that is necessary for prosperity: resources, people – the most valuable chain. A lot of smart people, professionals live in Ukraine, but they are undervalued and forced to leave the country. I want to raise this bar and prove that we also can invest in knowledge and progress.
Have you been so strong and confident since your childhood?
In my childhood, I was very stubborn. (Laughs.) I was naughty and always wanted to do the opposite. I went against the rules and instructions. Probably, that was the time when I became confident in my strength. To fight for justice. I pursued a certain goal and achieved it. I’m doing this now.
What is your goal now?
First of all to increase the level of service and production in the country. It is a long term goal, not a year or two, it takes decades. My work today is an investment in the future of Ukraine. This is the creation of the basis, a shoulder for producers, which depend on foreign suppliers.
I want to overcome the established stereotype that in Ukraine there is no worthy service, that our product is substandard and imperfect. This is not true. In our case, the value of LACOVER products is higher than the price.
What complexities arise at you, as at the woman-director. Enough young age does not bother you in work?
Yes, the difficulty is also in the fact that the clients we work with are large manufacturing plants, serious market players. Their leaders are usually older, more experienced. At the first meeting they did not take seriously a young woman, they do not believe that I can manage a large company. At first, it seemed like mentoring.
But I have proved by many means that I can manage it and continue to do this every day. Generally, I often meet gender inequality. Many people think that a woman can not be the founder of business and competently conduct it. Women occupied a big niche in the sphere of management, abroad but not here. I’m sure a modern woman can bring order not only in the house, but in any enterprise.
You have a small child, how can you combine work and family?
Business is an art and daily hard work at the same time. It is very important for a woman to be able to maintain a balance between work and family, to be strict, exacting leader and a quivering mum, a caring wife. I try to maintain this balance.
It happened that my husband is my support not only in life, but also in business. First of all we are partners and his support and respect helps me to get out of any difficult situations. Of course, there is also controversy, but in disputes the truth is born, and we walk together through life, overcoming obstacles.
And the son is what inspires me every day, gives me strength. In difficult moments I throw everything and fly to him. It’s enough for a few minutes – to see clear, love-shining eyes, a smile and feel warm hands on the neck and that is it: fatigue has vanished, and I’m ready to battle again.
What are your plans for the near future?
After the launch of the factory in January 2016, we have already passed several levels of development. Now a new stage is starting – we are launching the plant on a new platform. We are growing, improving, level of production is changing, so am I. The fact that I have a tremendous responsibility to clients, partners, employees makes me think ahead, plan, set long-term goals and follow them systematically. This is what does not allow me to stop, no matter how difficult it is.
The mechanism is launched, and I believe that everything will be just fine. We gonna make it possible to revive quality services and products in Ukraine and become “fashion legislators” in our sphere. We are number one and it is more difficult. But the goal is clear: to become the number one plant abroad and well-known brand in Europe.