Harnessing the full power of online textiles during coronavirus pandemic
It is always the smallest things that make the biggest difference. The right colour of socks can create a winning outfit, a fluffy cushion can add cosiness to a couch and elegant napkins can turn a simple dinner table into a sophisticated setting.
This philosophy has been the driving force behind Ponti’s three successful decades on the market in Moldova. The well-known manufacturer of textile products, which received support from the EBRD and the European Union (EU), offers a wide range of goods to its loyal clientele, from colourful socks and trendy stockings to home essentials such as tablecloths, napkins, decorative cushions, aprons and much more.
The company had humble beginnings. Rewind 30 years and you’ll find a small workshop in Chișinău, where the first pairs of socks were knitted by a handful of employees. Today the company has grown into one of the leading manufacturers in Moldova and has become a go-to brand for women, men and kids.
“Our products are made with love. We use beautiful, natural fabrics such as linen and cotton for home textiles. They give the sensation of comfort and cosiness when decorating kitchens, living areas or children’s rooms,” says Natalia Coșulean, Ponti’s Commercial Director.
One can easily spot small Ponti shops in Chișinău, Bălti, Soroca and Orhei. Ponti products also pop up in shopping centres and malls across the country. But what the company lacked just a few years ago was a solid online presence and an e-commerce platform.
The EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme, with funding from the EU through its EU4Business initiative, supported the company in integrating online channels and social media marketing into their sales strategy.
Going beyond bricks and mortar
E-commerce is arguably one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. The coronavirus pandemic has brought its potential to new heights, reaching millions of people locked down indoors around the world.
“When starting work on this project, our main goal was to refresh our brand identity and reach more customers through a new website and an eye-catching social media campaign,” says Natalia.
In order to stand out and find its competitive edge in an increasingly crowded online sphere, a new brand book was drawn up to fine-tune the manufacturer's distinctive and memorable brand identity. The stylish new website incorporates online payment systems and is easy to navigate. It is optimised for user-friendly mobile and tablet access – the most convenient modes of shopping for technology-savvy Millennials.
‘’Thanks to the new site, our regular customers are able to buy the products they have known and loved for many years online. The new website helped us to roll out new items, too,’’ says Natalia.
When the lockdown measures swept through Moldova, Ponti found itself standing ready with a new website and an engaging social media campaign. The company continued working and supplying its loyal customers during this turbulent period.
‘’Our textiles make excellent gifts. During the pandemic, when all shops were closed, sending a beautiful tablecloth or apron to a friend was a thoughtful gesture,’’ adds Natalia.
Moreover, after the project was completed in early March, the company increased its workforce and turnover by 55 per cent. The next big step for the company will be to familiarise people outside Moldova with its products, and online sales might prove handy here, too.
“We have long dreamed of selling our products outside of Moldova. Now, we can finally do it! A good brand and a good website translates to a successful business,” says Natalia.
To date, more than 250 small and medium-sized companies have benefited from the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme with EU funding in Moldova.