There are many clothing and textile companies of various sizes and types in Lithuania. Some of them - Lithuanian capital, others - develop their activities with the help of foreign partners and their experience. We will review the path of LATIA Export Development cluster companies in Lithuania. One of them is UAB Textilis, the largest production and wholesale fabric company in the Baltic States. We invite you to read an interview with Janina Malakauskiene, the director of company.
How was your company established?
The company was established in Kaunas in 2004 to mobilize textile professionals who can share their experience in developing and manufacturing new textile materials.
Have you changed the production over time?
Of course. Both the range of the company’s services and its output have changed over time. Initially, we shared our experience with the customers and provided customer service: from the creation of the fabric structure to the organization of fabric manufacturing and delivery to the customer. We also represented some of the largest textile manufacturers in Europe. We also created our own collections. We were choosing locations for production that are more profitable from the financial and manufacturing point of view.
As we were expanding over time, we were purchasing the equipment for finishing ourselves. This has given us the opportunity to use fabric finishing technologies that are environmentally friendly. The company also provides laboratory services: visual inspection of materials, determination of physical-mechanical fabrics and knitwear properties.
We currently provide full customer service: from materials for the presentation of new collections to the organization of the production of the final product.
In which markets are your customers located?
Most of the company's products are exported to Western, Central and Eastern European countries. About 70 percent our products travel to Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Scandinavia, etc. The remaining production gets to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, etc.
What observations do you have about different markets? Perhaps some of the products are
more popular in some markets, and other products are more popular in other markets? Do you possibly notice cultural differences in the development of activities in different countries?
Each country has its unique preferences for colours, structures, prints, but there are also year-round trends that are presented to all countries. Our goal is to adapt to different cultures and traditions, to learn about differences and to offer such materials that would interest customers in any country. We participate in exhibitions, during which we can find out the cultural needs. For example, Eastern Europeans prefer to dress more elegantly, whereas Western European customers are more practical, choose cosier, simpler options.
Which markets are you looking to expand to?
If we succeed in achieving our goals, we are planning to continue to expand in the European market, as well as in the United States and some Asian countries.
Why is it important to export and participate in a cluster?
It is very important for us to participate in the cluster, because only together can we achieve the set goals. The cluster combines material manufacturing and product sewing companies with which we are closely associated. We have the opportunity to hear the needs of other companies, participate in joint events, refine the needs of customers. The market of Lithuania or, in general, the Baltic States is not large, so exports are simply necessary for us. We want to create more jobs, we want to remain attractive in domestic and foreign markets. And this can only be achieved by joining the forces, i.e. by participating in a cluster.
How do you assess the Lithuanian clothing and textile market?
I would very much like the market to be larger. We have to adapt to the needs of our customers, to hear their wishes. It is necessary to make the customers interested, not to wait until they start looking for us.
What do you think would be the recipe for success in this market?
We need to find the key that would help to attract customers to buy our products. We must be interesting and different. This requires professional textile makers, good management.
How do you assess the European, global clothing and textile market?
Currently, the market has shrunk significantly for objective reasons related to coronavirus. The Eastern European market has shrank by about 40 percent. Of course, the companies that have been strong struggle to continue to working successfully, even with declining workloads.
How is this industry developing in general?
This industry was nearly dead. We currently have few companies that have survived, even fewer those that are struggling to develop, seek access to customers. But no one is standing still.
There are more and more new companies in the market that are becoming increasingly more attractive and innovative. The most important thing is not to stop, to find ways to become attractive in the domestic market and abroad.