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Vicmod: fashion and personality

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“My wife, Victorita Violeta, had the passion, the imagination and the creativity to make clothes, so we were convinced that we could create something great together. In 1996 we started our own fashion business just with one sewing machine and no financial resources, in our parent’s house,” says Dan Lupu, co-founder and General Manager of Vicmod, a fashion design and production company that uses the brand-name Mizar.

From the moment one decides to be self-employed, the pressure is on - and it doesn’t let up. “Twenty years ago, the challenge was about finding suppliers and retailers,” says Dan, “Now, it’s a different challenge. There are many more fashion companies in Romania – local and foreign – and we have to fight to maintain our top spot in the market. They key is to be different. We can’t just copy what the big guys are doing. Sure, we need to follow the trends, but we have to offer something unique as well,” explains Dan, “For Vicmod, it’s the quantity and diversity of designs that we produce every year. The design team, led by my wife, produces over 1000 models every year, which is vital in Romania because people here are keen to express their own identity and fashion is a very effective way of sending powerful messages. So, we try to create designs that follow mainstream trends but also bring out our customers’ personalities.”

The company aims to cover the whole Romanian territory. “It’s not only that we want to open new stores, we kind of have to,” says Dan, “If you don’t have your own store, people don’t recognise your brand, and if they don’t recognise your brand, they don’t buy your clothes. So, having multiple stores becomes a condition sine qua non for survival and success.”

However, this is easier said than done. “It’s not as simple as renting or purchasing new premises. The store is the face of the company, it becomes your brand, so you really need to invest in it: a professional interior designer, stylish furniture, excellent staff…” he adds.

To support this scale-up effort and open three new stores, Vicmod secured an EU-guaranteed loan from Banca Comerciala Romana, backed by the EIF. “In the end, the business expansion turned into an expensive and challenging project, but thanks to this loan, it has all become more manageable and we have already opened three new stores and enlarged our production team, creating 25 jobs in the process,” says Dan.

Company: Vicmod (Romania)

Type of business: fashion and retail 

EIF financing: SME Initiative Romania

Financial intermediary: Banca Comerciala Romana

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Romania, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/ro/index.htm

 

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