Sewing together the pattern of successful business

A serbian fashion company is improving it's financial management and innovative products through EBRD's investment.

Rich colours, folk motifs and intricate knitting make IVKO Woman an original label in the Serbian fashion scene.

The parent company, Ivkovic, was established by Danica Komnenic in 1986, when she opened a small knitting workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo.

A woman trying her hand at private entrepreneurship in a socialist country undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows, but Danica’s determination knew no bounds.

Natural fibres

The company uses only the finest natural fibres to produce a range of contemporary women’s knitted fashion products. During the 1990s her production moved to Belgrade, in Serbia, and several years later Ivkovic, the once modest family business, turned into a fully-fledged fashion brand.

Designing a better business

However, managing finances and creating new clothing lines were areas of the business which needed improvements. The EBRD’s Small Business Support (SBS) team connected the company with a local consultant and with experts in the textile industry. The projects, which were partially funded by the European Union and partly by Ivkovic itself, enabled the company to tackle both issues.

The company and the consultants worked on streamlining the bookkeeping, reporting and activities control. Operating and accounting procedures and a software upgrade where introduced, leading to better organisation and engagement of all employees.

Collaborating with the EBRD

Additionally, in 2013 the company began a new collaboration with the EBRD. A Czech textile expert is helping Ivkovic develop a new line of printed fabric products using modern technology and putting their know-how to use in a new way.

After much work and improvement, Ivkovic now has two production facilities in Serbia that employ over 75 people, and IVKO Woman is a globally distributed knitting label with products stocked in major fashion stores across Europe and the US. With their new know-how in place, Ivkovic believe they will double their turnover until 2016.