Legend of Milavitsa
Since early times, the morning star of Venus has symbolised love and beauty. Ancient Slavs called this star Milavitsa. To find it in the sky canopy is a piece of cake. Everybody must have observed the "evening star" scintillating in the still lighted sky at sunset. As the canopy becomes cloaked with darkness, Venus becomes increasingly luminous. When the sky grows totally inky and then lights up with a whole placer of stars, Venus glistens brighter than the other luminaries. Sometimes Venus can be seen in the morning, before dawn, as the "morning star". With the sun rising and other stars having disappeared, the gorgeous Venus continues to gleam against the sparkling background of daybreak.
People have been aware of Venus since antediluvian times. Many legends and popular beliefs are connected to this star. In antiquity, people used to think of it as two different stars: one that appeared in the evening while the other - in the morning. Later, people came to understand that they observed the same luminary - the sky beauty-the evening and morning star-the Venus. Poets and music composers praised Venus, great authors described it in their oeuvres and famous painters depicted the celestial being on canvasses. Milavitsa-Venus is a symbol of spring, love, and beauty. The name Milavitsa sounds with a rustle of the tenderest silk and is concordant with the word "milovatsya" (translated from Belarusian as gaze at or admire something). Today, the brand of Milavitsa is known all over the world as the largest European corsetry factory.
The beginning of the enterprise?s activities has to do with a Minsk haberdashery factory that was established by the Tourne brothers in 1908. Since that time, the factory name and the product assortment have changed many times.
Today, it is one of the largest corselet factories in the CIS countries.
In 2000 the following foreign investors allotted capital to the development of the factory: Iluna Group SpA of Italy, which specialises in producing lace and elastic bunting, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The Milavitsa production enterprise was the first to be registered in Belarus as a joint-stock joint venture attracting EBRD capital. Just as well as the company was the first to get the ISO-9000 certificate in 1996 and 2001 has renewed it under more exacting version, keeping current number one. Thanks to the highest quality of products, the brand "Milavitsa" is well-known in the Republic of Belarus, Latvia, Poland and CIS countries. Thus, in 2003 an independent Belarusian organisation announced a competition called "Brand of the year 2003" where "Milavitsa" was declared as "Brand the property of the Republic".
The enterprise?s chief activity is the production of corselet wear whose share exceeds 85 percent of the total production volume. Among articles produced are brassieres, girdles, half-waist girdles, top bras, and corsets. The whole range of produced lingerie falls into several collections: the classic collection, the fashion collection, the swimwear collection, and a medical lingerie line that includes post- operative underwear and underwear for nursing mothers.
The core criterion for classifying the designed models as classical lingerie is their functionality and comfort. The fashion collection is targeted towards a younger and more innovative market segment. Items of this collection are peculiar because of their refinement, unusual functional and colour solutions, and correspondence with the world?s modern lingerie trends.
A minor share of the factory?s output belongs to bathing suits and medical underwear. Owing to the quality of the materials used, the colour gamut, and the cuts, Milavitsa products stand side by side world-known brands. Annual enrichment of product diversity results in the dynamic development of the Belarusian lingerie market. Successfully combining various technical (updated equipment, new materials, and improved production system) and intangible assets (creative potential and knowledge of experts), Milavitsa offers its clients new types of products each year. The most important constituents of production process are updated equipment and technologies, high-quality materials delivered by Italian, Belgian, Latvian companies. The annual renewal of general production funds leads to reliable and high- performance production foundation.
The used equipment allows employing contemporary western technologies for Milavitsa operation.
Production and Sales
In 2003, the domestic production volume amounted to 10 million pieces with 78.3 percent of domestic products unit weight. The 2003 tolling work reduction can be viewed as a positive tendency in production development.
Output of corselet products and sales volumes have faced consistent growth within the recent three years. Planned output of corselet products and sales volumes for 2004 is 11 million pieces. Presently, Belarusian and Russian markets observe a steady demand for lingerie priced at the Milavitsa Joint Venture Closed Corporation?s values level. To fully meet the demand, the company regularly increases its production volumes even at the cost of the tolling unit weight.
Understanding well the importance of such marketing complex component as distribution, Milavitsa does not cease work over intensification and development of its trading network. As for late 2003, companies from over twenty world countries were the firm?s trading partners. The 2003 production volumes increased by 25 percent against 2002. With a 10-12 percent market growth and an 8-10 percent growth of competitors? sales, this is a fairly good result. The Russian Federation accounts for the largest share of Milavitsa?s outlets - 59 percent. Department stores (four department stores in various cities), Milavitsa?s in-house retail trade network (10 shops in Moscow), and official representatives (distributors and dealers) constitute the basis of the company?s distribution activities in Russia.
The second important marketplace is Belarus, which accounts for 29 percent of products sold.
The retail network includes twelve brand shops, specialised sections in large department stores and a number of small outlets. A peculiar feature of Milavitsa products distribution organisation is the absence of any division of models into those for domestic and import consumption. In this way, home and foreign buyers have equal opportunities to purchase styles they like.
Apart from Russia and Belarus, Milavitsa products are sold to other CIS and distant overseas countries. The distant overseas market is a promising direction for the enterprise?s trade network development. In 2003, export was carried out to Baltic countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, and Israel. Thus, the totals, made by Belarusian Camber of Commerce and Industry, show that "Milavitsa" is the biggest company-exporter of Belarus and have got the title "The best exporter 2003". In 2004, the enterprise plans to heighten sales to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries that are familiar with the Milavitsa trademark. Milavitsa is Russia?s leading lingerie brand in terms of both popularity and loyalty.
For Milavitsa, 2004 should become a year of changes in assortments, sales, and marketing policies. The outcomes of these changes are expected to have a positive impact on customers of all categories. Milavitsa, not yielding its firm positions on the domestic market, intends to solidify its presence on the traditional western markets and also to further advance to Western countries. The high quality of the products, usage of the newest technologies and up-to-date equipment, raw materials from the best world producers, and the high level of the trademark popularity are conducive to further Milavitsa growth. In 2004, the company plans to raise the sales volume by 25 percent, mainly by means of the trade network development. Much attention will be paid to intensifying sales channels, retail trade, and development of the Milavitsa brand. In order to realise successfully all the tasks set this year, the company should increase the efficiency of all the processes of product creation, starting with the optimization of purchase activity, perfection of engineering and technological production preparation to the labour productivity raise and logistics perfection.
The "Milavitsa" team takes a grave view of the matter and finds it realistic. The experience and qualification of employees, the corporate standards are oriented towards achievements and aspiration for being the first in own business makes the company to gain the aims and to remain the bright star of the Belarusian economy.