EBRD and EU help a Georgian sock manufacturer to boost quality
Georgia’s Tiflistex believes in the power of funky socks. With its track record it is difficult not to. Three years ago, Giorgi Gachechiladze decided to launch his project on the outskirts of Tbilisi on what used to be a construction waste site. Manufacturing products “made in Georgia” was both his ultimate motivation and source of pride.
Today, Tiflistex employs 40 people, sells its goods in large malls and supermarkets and has exported socks to neighbouring Azerbaijan and also to the European Union, to Greece and Austria, for example.
What your socks say about you
“Socks can reveal much about the person who wears them: colours, motives, fabrics can speak of your personality, how bold you are,” says Mr Gachechiladze.
“I particularly like the recent trend of politicians and businessmen opting for a splash of colour to highlight their personality. But when you are a textile manufacturer, even basic designs need to be of the highest quality. This is the most important feature of our product.”
To deliver on even better quality, the company received financing from the EBRD which allowed it to purchase modern knitting, packing and ironing equipment from Italy and make improvements to its production workshop to boost workers’ health and safety.
All processes follow rigorous environmental rules, EU norms and standards. After the investment, the company received cash-back from the EU as part of its EU4Business initiative.
The EU4Business-EBRD credit line was launched back in 2016, first in Georgia, then extended to Moldova and Ukraine. Each country benefits from a free trade area with the EU.
Up to now, over 270 small and medium-sized enterprises received financing to expand or modernise their production.
This helps them to make most of the free trade agreement, to substitute imports by producing high quality goods and to sell them abroad, which provides a strong boost to the local economy.
For Tiflistex, the future looks bright. The company has already acquired a OEKO TEX certificate - a quality passport which paves the way for accessing new international markets.
The company also lets other small sock producers utilise the premises of its modern factory. The socks, which feature traditional Georgian staple dishes such as Khinkali or Khachapuri, have long won the hearts of locals and an increasing number of visitors to Georgia.
“All our future plans lead to expansion. We want to increase our production and expand our product range. We want to trade with more countries, both in Europe and worldwide. This will lead to increased sales, more jobs and more socks to everyone’s taste here and abroad,“ says Mr Gachechiladze.