A little while ago I met a really lovely Serbian designer at London Fashion Week, Dušica Županjac. I have caught up with her to find out and share a little more about her business, PRiK.
What inspired you to start PRiK?
- I founded PRiK at the end of 2012 with an ambition to bring more quality fashion to girls and women at reasonable prices. I noticed that in there were more and more people in the streets that looked the same, like copy/paste, and without any feeling for fashion. On the other hand, I noticed that there are women who really try hard, but who have limited possibilities to find nice clothes to wear at various occasions, from everyday use, to business and evening occasions.
How did you start PriK?
- I launched PRiK as an online business. Having observed the e-commerce as an emerging trend in Europe, I realised the merits of being among the first on the Serbian market. It also came with the benefit that I could reach out to all corners of the country at once. Almost everybody has an Internet connection these days and by using a good delivery company, your presence is guaranteed. Many women do not have time to go shopping and prefer to make their purchases late at night from home on the Internet. Furthermore, in many cities the selection of shops is limited. Hence, the option to buy high-quality fashion a few clicks away at an affordable price becomes quite attractive.
- We started out with building a crowd on Facebook, advertised there and were able to sell through this channel almost from day one. Later we started our own website, prik.rs, which gave us full control over how the products were displayed. We continued our presence and marketing on Facebook in parallel and later also began publishing on Instagram and Twitter. In the same spirit, I started the PRiK blog where I present the company in a more personal way, wearing PRiK clothes and writing about them, travelling and sharing my advice on clothing and styling. The combination of these platforms is powerful. Some girls feel more comfortable buying on an established e-commerce site; others find it more convenient to order through Facebook.
- My inspiration derives from the elegant and simple. High-quality products speak their own language and people understand it. I believe that fashion should be accessible to everybody. Most of my creations are therefore highly wearable, simple enough to be worn in the office, but refined enough for almost any evening occasion. Of course, I have made sure to cover also the very most elegant events with our made to measure dresses and other pieces.
- Our key customers are girls with strong personalities, charisma, cheerful spirits, but also more generally career women who appreciate the sophisticated touch. Typically, these are bank clerks, lawyers, managers or ministry officials. However, I can make sure that as we approach summer, we are equally popular among young girls seeking the perfect prom dress.
What have been your greatest achievements so far?
- In 2015 we were invited to participate in Serbia Fashion Week. I presented a collection of 15 looks which was highly appreciated by the public and acknowledged in the Serbian media. Personally, I was even more enthusiastic as I presented the SS17 collection there in November last year.
- Likewise, our performance at the French Embassy in Belgrade in connection to this happening was widely acknowledged.
- Following these events, we got more international recognition, and in February 2017 we participated at Oxford Fashion Studio’s venue at London Fashion Week, presenting the AW17 collection.
- Since March 2017 we are proud to present our line at MADZone on Brera 2 in Milano’s fashion district. As we went there to mark our entry into the Italian market, we also made an editorial that will be published in one of the larger Italian fashion magazines.
Where are you now and what is next?
- We have come to a stage where we even must reject offers for participation in Fashion Weeks. We would love to go everywhere, but of course, it is not possible. While we have started working with markets outside Serbia, we still have the lion’s share of our sales on the Serbian market. Now PRiK will approach foreign markets more broadly, focusing on Europe but having the US in mind (presence at some fashion week there would be a good start). We have cooperation with a team of fashion designers in London in the pipeline. We will continue with Milano (I love it!), and we will see where we head next. A natural step is, of course, to broaden sales in the South-East Europe and Central Europe region which is geographically close to Serbia. We are talking about countries like Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, to mention a few.
- PRiK is also establishing “physical” presence and plans to open a store in Belgrade while we look at the options for establishing some presence in other main cities in Serbia, such as Novi Sad and Niš.
- Finally, I am excited about our new production facility that we are preparing. It will allow us to increase production in order respond to the various requests that we are receiving from individual stores.