Lviv Business School (LvBS) is launching a project called “Small businesses with great impact”. Business is not only about gaining money and scaling but also about the impact and social responsibility. It is about people.
Meet our first hero — Andrii Levytskyi, Lviv Business School graduate, historian, and successful entrepreneur. His social furniture-making workshop “WoodLuck” breaks stereotypes. It not only makes a profit and increases production capacity but also gives people with addiction a chance to start a new life.
Andrii’s furniture-making story began in 2014. After the Ukrainian revolution, he started working for the charitable organization “Lviv Education Foundation”. He dealt with education projects for youth in the Eastern regions of Ukraine. The cornerstone of this was the volunteering camp “Building Ukraine Together” (our hero is its co-founder).
“Four intense and successful years passed before burnout and creative crisis came. So I decided to quit this project. At that time I was studying at a short-term LvBS program. As a part of the program, we had to present a business project along with a detailed business plan. My idea was to launch a co-working, where people could come and create a “real” product with their own hands,” recalls Andrii.
After some time and calculations, this idea turned into launching a craft furniture-making workshop, where all the items would be custom-made.
Hard work, persistence, and fortune’s favor did well (shortly after launching the workshop they received a big order; 120 UAH invested in advertising turned into a 400 000 UAH order). Now the workshop has 11 employees, 4 of whom are fighting for a better life and undergo rehabilitation.
During those years “WoodLuck” has elaborated a set of unique and effective cooperation rules. In 5 years, there was only one minor accident with an employee. Moreover, trust is cherished here above all. It is believed that there should be total trust despite anything:
“We have something that is called a total trust. We understand that normal cooperation is impossible without trust. It is highly important. When a production manager is told that somebody takes a day off because he feels sick, the manager just perceives this information. That is it. We always trust our employees. People who work with us regularly have keys and full access to the workshop 24/7. It cannot come unnoticed when people understand our values and perceive them,” says Andrii.
Although the business is sustainable and makes a good profit, money is not a top priority here:
“Our priority is not to make money but to hire people and support them as much as possible. In the future, they could be our competent employees, or we could work as partners.”
To ensure everything would work as a clock, Andrii Levytskyi gathered some experience from his European and American colleagues. His studies at Lviv Business School helped him to structure the knowledge of management and marketing and understand how to start exporting.
All in all, our hero has defined 5 effective life hacks that helped him to become successful:
- feel free to experiment (but keep your mind cold);
- share responsibilities;
- build and maintain trust;
- hear your staff;
- throw staff parties.
WoodLuck is about support, trust, and believing in good features people have. It is also about high-quality pieces of furnishing and decor showing that sometimes we all need a second chance.
“All risks are justified if you are not afraid and clearly understand why you are doing this,” summarized Andrii Levytskyi.