STARTER team Full Grain brings leather leftovers into the market

2017 autumn STARTERcreative team Full Grain aims to bring leather leftovers into the market. The team leader Olga Vertjajeva, who studies interior architecture in EKA, is doing a little business inside the business.

Please tell us about your idea: why did you choose this idea, what kind of problem you want to solve and who is your target group?

Olga: ”My idea is to promote reuse of leather leftovers and motivate craftsman and artists to create new products from this beautiful, natural and durable material. I’m working with leather interior products (tiles for floorings, surface coverings and other custom made interior details) and I have noticed a problem, that there are many remaining that can’t be used in a project, but could be used by craftsman or creative people for smaller details or experiments. My colleagues in this field confirmed that they always feel guilt when throwing away pieces of expensive materials that they can’t use it for their products. So basically the idea is to bring leather leftovers marketplace. “ 

How did you get into programme? What were your expectations about STARTERcreative? 

Olga: ”I read about STARTERcreative in an EKA newsletter, and thought this is a great chance to investigate how relevant and valuable can be the idea. I also though that this would be a great opportunity for my personal growth and management skills improvement. “

How did you complete your team, where did you find necessary competence? Do you have all necessary competencies in your team right now or you seek for someone special?

Olga: ”Presenting the idea for the first time was extremely hard. I was presenting the idea at the end of the pitching session and didn’t expect someone to join my team. But I’m very pleased that my great teammates believed in the idea and trusted me. Joseph Okunhon is studying marketing and Mirjam Vikisk politics, so I think we are “more theoretical team” at the moment. We are really missing some technical mind – web developer or programmer, to move further with the digital platform. “

What kind of knowledge and abilities you gained from STARTERcreative?

Olga: ”For me the most important thing was to see and understand what really a start up company is. How people get there, with what kind of ideas and how is possible to succeed. I learned that it is not only a new name for ’’small business’’, but really huge industry, and a life style for many people. “

What was the biggest challenge for you in developing your idea? Was it necessary to change something because of new knowledge or feedback you got in programme? What did you learn from that experience?

Olga: ”It was a real creative process, and for me always (in any design project) the hardest is to refuse ambitions. Every time pitching or expressing the idea I felt that all becomes more clear, but also less inspiring. But I understood this it is like crystallization of process and the only right way. Being a team leader and co-operating with all the stakeholders is always a challenge, a specially when your team members have different professional and cultural background. This also is amazing experience.”   

Do you suggest STARTERcreative to your friends?

Olga: ”I would definitely suggest – it is worth to try. This is a great change to get guidelines for developing your idea and also find a lot of contacts. “

What are further plans with your idea?

Olga: ” I have not lost hope to realize it, but I am not so ambitious as I was before. I’m sure that this idea has a potential, and the right time will come. I’m still working full time and also writing my master thesis and unfortunately can’t work with the idea properly at the moment. “

Are you an entrepreneur or planning to establish your own company?

Olga: ”I have a prepared draft with a name of the company ready to be registered. But I’m starting with small steps and will start inside of the company where I’m employed at the moment. So there will be little business inside big business and will see how it will turn out in future. “

Article: Kelli Turmann, STARTERcreative supervisor of Estonian Academy of Arts

Photo: Küllike-Tafel Viia