An EBRD programme targetted specifically at women entrepreneurs has enabled a Serbian cosmetics business to rebrand and boost sales.
Identifying the problems
Sound product management, strong marketing and a firm grip on finance are all essential skills when running a business, something that Mila Litvinjenko knows all about.
She also knows how important good advice can be. The EBRD’s TurnAround Management (TAM) Programme and, more specifically, the Programme’s Women in Business initiative (funded in Serbia by the European Agency for Reconstruction), have helped her t transform her cosmetics business, Aura.
The company was already successful before it started working with TAM advisers but it needed better systems to manage its sales and financial data. And to stay competitive its brand needed to be revitalised. However, before deciding where to take the brand, market research was needed to find out what customers really thought of their products.
With TAM advice, Aura launched a new collection of cosmetics in early 2009 and saw sales increase by 17 per cent in February 2009 compared with the same time last year. Ms Litvinjenko uses good quality German and Italian ingredients in her cosmetics but the Aura brand is designed in Serbia and matches the latest fashions at a price that Serbians can afford.
Aura is now firmly established as the leading domestic brand and competes in the Serbian market against international names such as Maybelline and Rimmel.