From an idea to a business. “TSEKH – it’s a dry cleaner’s?”

A lot of ideas remain just ideas and are never realized. The same with business: in order to develop your idea into a project and start implementing it, you often need a push. For the graduates of Lviv Business School of UCU Innovations and Entrepreneurship Program such a push was their business education. LvBS and MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship Program present a series of articles about the ideas that became successful businesses thanks to the education, about the growth and the difficulties their authors have faced. 

Today the hero of our section called “From an idea to a business” is Yevhen Mordvinov, a Kyiv citizen for whom the distance was not a problem because he had a great desire to get the education of good quality at Lviv Business School of UCU. Not only did Yevhen successfully pass the graduation project on setting up a dry cleaner’s that would meet the highest quality standards, but he also brought his idea to life. Read our interview to know more about it:

Yevhen, please tell us about your way from an idea to a business.

When I came to Lviv Business School of UCU Innovations and Entrepreneurship Program, I had already had some experience working at a dry cleaner’s. That is why the easiest way for me was to use the knowledge I got at the business school together with the experience I had had. The decision came as it was – I decided that I would pass the graduation project on setting up a dry cleaner’s and seek investment for it. It was my participation in this program that helped me to write a business plan and raise funds for it.

And did you come up with the idea of setting up a dry cleaner’s before your studies, or when you entered this program?

I didn’t come up with this very idea. I had several ideas related to innovative lighting, but exactly at that period of time the exchange rates changed drastically, and that is why I decided that it would be best to set up a business which I knew and had experience in.

What was the most difficult when you started your first dry cleaner’s?

Perhaps, the first stage – setting up all the processes – was the most difficult; and when we were launching, it was difficult to find people. Because in any business the most important thing is people, a well-built team. I think it had been easier for me to find funds than to find people who were responsible and wanted to become professionals. In general, we have 20 people in our team now.

How did you come up with a name “TSEKH – it’s a dry cleaner’s”?

We were discussing the name with our partners who later became our first clients. When they first saw the premises for the dry cleaner’s, they said: “But it’s a workshop!” (‘Workshop’ is tsekh in Ukrainian.) Well, in this sphere the clients always ask you questions like: where is your workshop, where do you do all the work? That is why we decided to take a simple name TSEKH (‘workshop’). The name fits really well, it is short and easy to remember.

What were the most useful cases during your studies?

For me personally, one of the first cases is that there is no need to limit yourself to the amount of money you need. And the fact that business needs a lot of investments is not necessarily true. João Perre Viana, our lecturer on innovations, explained it to us during the very first module. That is how I worked: I bought equipment from another dry cleaner’s that wasn’t able to meet its liabilities and was going down. Also, before opening our dry cleaner’s, we have already had a client base for the initial period. And one more very important thing that we got to know during our studies: do not open something and wait for someone to come; communicate straightaway with your future clients, partners, ask if they are interested in what you want to offer on the market. This is a kind of business development.

What was the role of your education in choosing your business model?

Thanks to my education I acquired knowledge of budgeting and managed to create a good financial plan that helped me to get an investor interested and make him believe in me. A sound, structured business plan gives you confidence in tomorrow.

What is so innovative about your dry cleaner’s, because there is enough competition on the market, right?

Our idea was to create a dry cleaner’s you would want to come to. Because people often have the same associations as with a dentist or a mechanic when they don’t understand what they spent money on :). What we intend to achieve is a client-oriented dry cleaner’s, both outside and inside. The most important thing is neither equipment nor a place but the people who work here: it shall feel good to come to them. And if a client is not satisfied with the quality or the deadlines, we can make a full refund.

How is your project developing?

We already have two branches in Kyiv, and very soon we will open the third one. We also have ambitious plans about a dry cleaner’s network, including branches abroad.

Finally, please tell us what does studying at Lviv Business School of UCU mean to you?

Generally, it is very interesting and useful. It is truly the European level of education. When I first came to UCU, to this building on Khutorivka Street, I realized back then that I would like to study here. Because here they have values, good selection of lecturers and people who lead the program. I think that the Innovations Program is useful, first and foremost, to structure your ideas, challenge them and successfully realize them in the future!

Innovations and Entrepreneurship Program is the one and only master’s degree education program in Ukraine that offers systemic business knowledge for those who want to start their own business within realms of technology or innovations.