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PROTOS is: fashionable (exquisite) collections, delivered from Greece within 2-3 weeks!
We are going on looking for interesting opportunities for salons and curtain designers.
07.04.2015, Бизнес
Well known on the market the PROTOS & Co. offers a huge range of curtain fixtures and fittings as well as sewing notions. But recently the company started dealing in fabrics. Its blockbuster products are individually created collections of Greek fabrics with the delivery guarantee of 2-3 weeks.

We found it a good occasion to talk about the company’s perspective on the curtain market, its specification and ask for the insider opinion about the market in Russia.

The owners of the company are very interesting people, good friends since their childhood. We interviewed Fedor Karafudili born in the USSR in a Greek family. As a young man of 25 together with a group of friends he started a sewing workshop, producing jeans and holiday resort clothes like shorts, summer hats and so on. 1990 he immigrated to Greece where he lived and built up his business for two countries.

WilliZ: You said that you started from the sewing manufacture and the supply of curtain fittings and you are still dealing in these products. Have you ever been interested in other market areas?
Having come to Greece, at first I organized the supply of curtain fittings for my friends. Our sales steadily increasing we started dealing in everything we could: oranges, fur coats...
Once we invested in a big lot of oranges, more than 500 ton, it was a very considerable sum of money for us. And then we found out, that the captain decided to turn off the refrigerators during the transport, saving on the fuel. You see, oranges go bad very quickly in the warmth... To make the long story short, after that we grew fond of curtain fittings and betrayed it no more (laughing).
WilliZ: But how did you start dealing in fabrics?
It was a funny story as well. In Greece I helped a kinsman of mine to renovate his house. We invited a curtain designer, but as he named his price, I was a little bit shocked and asked once again. Later I consulted my curtain tape suppliers who dealt in fabrics as well. So I learned that, first, our designer offered us exclusive fabrics and second, in Greece there is a large range of nice and reasonably priced fabrics. Our logistics from Greece are good developed; we know the Russian market very well, so it was not difficult to make a decision.
Show-room of the company “Protos & Co”
WilliZ: You had already dealt in curtain tape before fabrics, hadn’t you? When did you start this business?
We have been dealing in curtain tape already for a long time, for more than 15 years.
The Greek curtain tape is a good niche product: on the one side, it is cheaper than the German one, on the other side, it is of a much better quality than the Turkish product...
WilliZ: The Greek curtain tape is a good niche product: on the one side, it is cheaper than the German one, on the other side, it is of a much better quality than the Turkish product...
We started dealing in curtain tape together with a friend of mine, who possessed a little factory with just a couple of machines. During this time he built up his factory, purchased more machines and developed a very good stable quality of the tape. We always check thoroughly the supplies from other firms, but here we are 100% sure of the product. Yes, our curtain tape is of a very good quality.
WilliZ: What brand is this?
Maribbon
WilliZ: Do you get your trimmings from the same factory?
No, we order trimmings from several Greek manufacturers. It is very important for us to ensure the best colour compatibility of the elements, that’s why we control our suppliers, so that they even request the samples from each other and order their threads from the same factory. Besides, they always look through our new fabric collections, in order to create perfectly suitable trimmings for our colours and stile. China and Turkey cannot organize such a service for us.
WilliZ: What differences do you see between our curtain and sewing markets?
Reputation plays a big role by the “curtain businessmen”. A typical example: a client came up to friends of mine at the exhibition in the Emirates and made a big order. They said his face seemed to be familiar. It turned out, that he visited their stand at the last four exhibitions and made an order only at the fifth one.
On this market we are challenged by high requirements and by the responsibility for the promises we give. That’s why we try not to waste our promises, but better to guarantee the fulfilment of the already given ones.
WilliZ: The most important is to keep the delivery times, isn’t it?
Yes, it is crucial to keep the delivery times we promised to our clients. You see, our delivery times are 2 or 3 weeks. We are constantly supplying sewing notions from Greece, that’s why we can ensure it.
WilliZ: Do you deliver only individually ordered fabrics?
You know, I don’t even think about a storehouse. Once I walked through the warehouse of the company we exclusive represent. There are several levels downwards, huge storage facilities, so it is just impossible to present the full range of products.
Storage facilities in Greece
WilliZ: What textile factory do you represent?
“Sarlas” are well known Greek editors. Collections of this company are successfully sold in the whole world, because they unite fresh modern design, interesting textures and moderate price segment. The company creates collections for the private, as well as for the contract market. It is developing quickly: this year they started sales to Italy. We think that their collections have good perspectives. They offer many Mediterranean designs, new ideas, bright colours, organic fabrics; I am sure, they will be much in demand on the Russian market.
Click on the picture to zoom
WilliZ: In other words, you plan to develop actively the curtain line in spite of the crisis?
Yes, we have big plans. I always say to my children, unless you aim high, you are bound to achieve low.
WilliZ: What can you recommend salons and designers now, in the time of crisis? What is your own experience of 2008, how did you deal with the crisis situation, how do you manage it right now?
It is very difficult to give advice to people, who have already been working in this business for a long time.
WilliZ: Nevertheless, everyone has different experiences and...
Don’t lose good hope... I have a friend, he compares for fun the bottom of crisis with the horizon: the nearer you come up to it, the farther it is running away from you. But if you live with such an attitude, you will never reach it.
That is why, don’t pay attention to difficulties, just go forward, that’s it. You will get the results, they will come.
WilliZ: How do you react to the current crisis?
We managed to hold prices steady till December; I think our clients appreciated it.
WilliZ: But have you retained price in roubles till now? Is it updated according to the present currency course?
Our prices are in roubles. Due to advantageous discount agreements with the factory we could hold prices low, and even if the currency course will grow for 5-10 roubles, we will stay in this price category. We can allow it ourselves.
WilliZ: Did your experience help you? How did you go through the past crisis times?
You know, 1998 we “pulled through” thank to the grandmas, selling their stuff near the House of Fabrics on the Leninski Prospect. Our big clients, sewing factories, that we supplied with sewing notions, stopped abrupt all the purchases. We found us just “hanging up in the air”. And these grandmas literally saved us: through them we could reach the working at home masters (tailors). During the time till 2009 the chains of the retail stores for sewing and needlework grew up and the mechanics in the personal services sector developed their work area. All these organizations helped us to survive during the crisis of the year 2009 and we are deeply grateful to all of them!
WilliZ: Thank you for the interview! You have a beautiful show-room, it is a pleasure to work here.
P.S.
We are happy to remind you, that „PROTOS & Co“ can be found in our supplier catalogue: williz.info/company/1653/ | Website: protos-textile.ru

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