There's a growing interest for "new breed" English brands in Russia....
Aleksander runs a Moscow based shop called "Proud Heart", he's now one of Three Stroke Productions most recent retailers and we're happy to share a few words with him....
HOW DID U START, AND WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN GOALS?
In 2007 whilst studying at University, my friend Eugene and I opened a small online store to sell the kind of clothes that we like. We are both interested in football, and we appreciate decent clothing. Our attention was drawn to the leading British and American casual clothes labels, which we liked very much. The main buyers in our new shop initially were our friends, who obviously share similar preferences with us in clothes. It is worth mentioning that in 2007 Russia was very much in shortage of good casual clothes of British and American brands. For example, trying to find a decent quality polo top was a big problem. Having opened our little shop, we wanted to supply the kind of quality casual clothes that were hard to find in Russia, at least for our friends anyway. Then, as word spread about our shop, we started receiving orders from not only friends, but friends of friends. We then started taking orders from people we didn't know, which was very interesting. That's when we realised that we were on the right track. It's nice doing the thing that you like.
WHAT KIND OF BRANDS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR STORE AND WHY?
To date, we have set ourselves the task of uniting Proud Heart with well known European and American casual brands, and also with certain street wear clothing brands that aren't so commercial. This is an interesting, and at the same time easy task in Russia. This was our aim from the beginning. Even today you can see in Proud Heart well known brands such as; Asics, Dickies, Lyle & Scott, Henri Lloyd, Ralph Lauren. Along with young, fast growing British brands such as; Three Stroke, Casual Connoisseur, Peaceful Hooligan, etc. In the near future we want to expand our range and introduce brands such as; Penfield, Veras, Trickett. We also hope to continue working with Weekend Offender. If we start to work with a brand, we look forward to a long and productive relationship with them. This is important to us.
IT SEEMS THERE'S A GROWING INTEREST FOR "NEW BREED" ENGLISH BRANDS IN YOUR COUNTRY, WHICH IS VERY GOOD NEWS...... CAN YOU
Yes, indeed. In Russia today many people are interested in new British brands due to the fact that they want more exclusive items made in small editions. This means that only a few other people will have the same clothes as them. It's the young British brands that satisfy this criteria. This became apparent to us, and is precisely the reason we have included them in the brand list of our store. Along with the young British brands, we are combining them with brands that have a long history. Russia has always paid attention to the good clothes of British brands, especially those with a long history. Young British clothing brands make fewer, but certainly no worse, and more often better. We notice that we have a growing demand for Three Stroke Productions, Casual Connoisseur, Peaceful Hooligan, and this makes us very happy. We will do all we can to make as many new people aware about these brands as possible in Russia.
DO U GUYS FOLLOW ANY FOOTBALL TEAM? AND WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTATIONS FOR RUSSIA AT EURO 2012?
I proudly follow my Football Club - CSKA Euro2012: Of course, like any Russian, I'm waiting for the victory of the Russian national team at the Euros. Although objectively speaking, I'll be happy if Russia qualify in their group and make it to the quarter finals. If Russia make it to the semi final, as a mark of respect we'll have a good sale in the store and to drink lots of beer :)