There are many clothing and textile companies of various sizes and types in Lithuania. Some of them are of Lithuanian capital, whereas 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. We invite you to read an interview with Astra Gintautaitė, the owner of Šilta mada, UAB.
How was your company established?
The company “Šilta mada” UAB was established 10 years ago, this autumn it will celebrate its anniversary. This is gratifying. "ŠILTA MADA" fur salon is well known in Lithuania. We are located in the center of Vilnius, so the vast majority of our buyers are from Vilnius, but we are constantly visited by buyers from other major cities and towns. The team of professional fur cutting and sewing masters working in the salon does not leave anyone indifferent, and buyers quickly appreciate the fur products created for them.
What is the main activity of "ŠILTA MADA" fur salon?
Until now, most of our orders have been individual orders: we professionally sew fur and various fur accessories, repair and resew fur. Exclusive style fur silhouettes, fur details and individual complex fur constructions easily distinguish us easily from others. "WARM FASHION" already has its own clear style and touch. Well, and the professional knowledge of the technological side of sewing allows us to boldly try and create new models of both fur and fur accessories.
In the fur salon "ŠILTA MADA" we not only sew new fur coats, but we always encourage the customers to repair or resew old-fashioned fur coats to protect the environment. Fur coat resewing is a process when we sew new stylish fur coats from old-fashioned old fur coats. We are happy to contribute to the protection of the environment and nature.
Natural fur is a natural raw material that decomposes rapidly in nature and its primary production is environmentally friendly. In addition, we use natural fur down to the smallest pieces - so our production is practically waste-free. It is disappointing that the analogue of natural fur - faux fur - is one of the biggest polluters of the environment. At present, a large share of fashionists, in pursuit of rapid popularity, advocate only faux fur, often not mentioning the direct huge damage caused by faux fur to the environment.
Have you changed production over time?
We used to sew more genuine leather products. Now, however, our priority and beloved raw material is natural fur. We work with natural fur of mink, fox, chinchilla and beaver. From them we sew not only fur, but also vests, ponchos, various fur accessories, such as hats, collars, scarves, gloves and various other products.
As the climate warms, the purpose of the products changes, the silhouettes and models of fur keep pace with the latest fashion trends, and natural fur is often used as a finishing element. In recent years, we have expanded our product portfolio and started sewing fur hats, offering our customers collars and scarves of various sizes, shapes and colors.
In autumn weather, fur accessories do not leave anyone indifferent - fur always lifts the whole line and, moreover, fur always decorates and distinguishes the wearer.
We also haven’t forgotten to sew genuine leather - we sew various leather clothes, have expanded the line of leather accessories. Currently, "stretch" leather is especially popular - elastic natural leather of special treatment, which is perfect not only for pants, but also for dresses, skirts and sarafans.
In what markets are your customers located?
Tailor-made sewing is focused on the local Lithuanian market. We participate in exhibitions in Lithuania. Once we strengthened the line of accessories, made sure we could and knew how to sew them, we started researching the target export markets. We aim to export fur accessories, we feel their demand abroad, we are able to produce them professionally. We joined the cluster to export.
In which markets are you looking to expand?
We have been working with an Austrian company for several years, we have noticed an increase in sales of our goods. This is a good test for the products offered. We aim to export our products to the USA, Japan.
Why is it important to export and participate in a cluster?
Exports are definitely important for increasing the market share and, of course, for higher profits. Our field of activity is seasonal, so exports would ensure us more stability and the continuity of the production process during the spring-summer season.
Participation in the cluster seems attractive to “Šilta mada” UAB as various information is shared here, we communicate with colleagues from other companies. This provides an opportunity to get to know better the activities and nuances of work of other textile companies operating in Lithuania, as well as their specifics.
How do you assess the Lithuanian clothing and textile market?
The textile market is always more like a fragile princess than a strong giant. It is certainly not easy for companies to manage their production processes, especially in the face of external circumstances such as COVID-19, the constant rise in labor costs domestically.
Our field of sewing natural fur is very specific. We have our own niche that is sustainable and stable. We enjoy the constant professional staff of the company, which is the basis of the company's successful operation.
How do you see the European, global clothing and textile market?
The global clothing and textile market is sensitive to both changing fashion trends and external circumstances. Here things quickly turn and change. COVID-19 has negatively affected the exports of many Lithuanian textile companies. It is gratifying that the world is turning to sustainable fashion, talking more and more about durable textiles, encouraging to buy less.
I believe the day will come when the world will turn back to natural fur as one of the most sustainable raw materials.
How is this industry developing in general?
The good thing is that the world is developing a new right approach to natural fur. In January this year, Sweden rejected the intention to ban the breeding of soft fur animals. Copenhagen Fur studio is intensively looking for new ways to use fur, is creating modern combinations with natural fur that meet the multi-functionality and sustainability needs of the fashion industry. Located at the Saga Furs in Helsinki, the design center offers video lessons on how to work with natural fur and teaches technological news.