As many as sixteen Moldovan and Belarusian fashion brands operating in the women’s clothing sector have become acquainted with the European market in recent months. Participants from these Eastern European countries have been able to promote their clothing to Dutch buyers and importers via an online matchmaking platform. This event, set up by CBI (Centre for the promotion of imports from developing countries) and Export Partner, has generated a number of interesting contacts.
Preparation and matchmaking
The participants prepared for these matchmaking days during the months of April and May. First of all, Export Partner organised a webinar about the ins and outs of the European market, such as trends, growing markets and certification. The webinar also focussed on communication and presentation skills, which are essential for discussions with potential clients. The highlight of the event consisted of various meetings with Dutch importers. Valuable contacts were established after the meetings, in some cases even with the first concrete agreements.
One company with a successful participation like this is L. Storojuc, based in the Moldovan capital of Chișinau. This clothing brand focuses on “the modern, active, independent and elegant woman” and designs and produces each item of clothing itself. The fact that two Dutch importers showed an interest during the matchmaking is good news for the owner, Liudmila Matei. “We have enjoyed numerous productive discussions together. This is a great step towards promoting our brand in the European market. We hope to be able to make a really good start as soon as the pandemic is over,” Matei said.
The women’s fashion brand Georgette - also from Moldova – can look back on the matchmaking with a positive feeling too. The company made a good impression and was also asked about follow-up meetings. According to Georgeta Mir, the face of the brand, the event was “a great opportunity to bring our products to the attention of new potential buyers. The fact that a Dutch party wanted to know more has given us the energy to continue with our focus on the European market.”
The Dutch participants were, in turn, surprised by the quality and appearance of the various different products. They have already discussed a business trip to Moldova, in order to get better acquainted with both the companies and their samples. In addition, more digital meetings will be held this month between the importers and exporters for the required follow-ups.
Outlook during the Covid period
The organisers are satisfied with the online alternative which took place in the middle of the lockdown period. “The event has shown how valuable it is for Moldovan companies to establish new trade contacts”, stresses CBI Project Manager Afke van der Woude. “Despite the challenges of cancelled exhibitions and travel restrictions, parties on both sides are willing to continue doing business. This offers a positive outlook for the forthcoming period, during which we’ll be organising other online events and - where possible - we can look forward to physical activities again.”
The Ready2Trade project is being implemented by the CBI (Centre for the promotion of imports from developing countries) and ITC (International Trade Centre) and is financed by EU4Business, an initiative for SMEs in the EU’s Eastern partnership countries.
The Ready2Trade project will come to an end in the autumn of 2021. The final months will therefore be all about finalising activities and dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s regarding the European market.
More information about the companies, the programme and contact details can be found here. Contact the companies via CBI.