Here is my interview with Yumjir Urjinee, an outstanding talented designer who has unique collections, including the presentation of her collection in DC Fashion Week in 2009 and launching her book “Clothing Design” in 2010. Her designs stand out with the exceptional combination of casual style and Mongolian traditional elements, which can define her style as Ethnic Casual. She has a very artistic nature which can be seen from her blogs, Facebook page, her TEDxUlaanbaatar 2013 talk and obviously from her designs.
O. E- What’s your “story” behind the business?
I graduated in 2001 as a Fashion Designer and opened my own fashion salon. But due to economic and social circumstances I had to shut down my business. Since then I have worked in many different fields and even got my Finance degree. In 2010 I decided to enter the Fashion industry without any hesitation.
O. E- Have you planned your business before launching? How did you decide to open your salon “Yumjir Fashion”, Facebook Page and blog?
I launched “Yumjir Fashion” in 2012. My passion to fashion led me to start a blog in 2008. I have never had a certain business plan; I have only visualized in my mind and dream about it. While studying finance I learnt lots of stuff about business and finance, thus this knowledge really helped me out with my business today.
O. E- How well do you fit the characteristics of entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs should have this passion for the things that they love and can do best and the patience to overcome the obstacles in their way. And I was ready to do that and still am. If I blamed the Mongolian fashion industry and economic situation, the “Yumjir Fashion” wouldn’t be launched. I saw the opportunities in the Mongolian market. I tried to see the advantages the market represented rather than the difficulties.
O. E- What advantages and disadvantages do you see in being the entrepreneur?
Somehow majority of the people think that you have to have the starting capital to successfully launch a business. But it is not so, you can start from zero. Believing in yourself and in your abilities is more important than the capital. The biggest investment is your knowledge and skills and the ability to use them in a right way. You can startup with little amount of money and then expand it.
O. E- What skills are important for a successful career in a fashion industry?
Personally I understood that success will come when a designer as any other artist finds their own style. I aim to create recognizable “Yumjir” designs. Also marketing is definitely very important. Since I make casual modern clothes with touch of traditional elements, I started wearing them myself and posting them on the internet so that it could easily reach and relate to the audience. And it worked out!
O. E- What is unique about your designs? On what do you emphasize?
The uniqueness about my designs is my choice of textiles; the patterns and colors are different from others. I like experimenting with different patterns and prints. Sometimes I even make that myself. Generally the color and pattern is what makes my designs so distinct. My designs are simple but the small details are very eye catchy.
O. E- Where did your ideas originate? Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my ideas in many different ways. Recently I make designs regarding the fabrics that I use. Because in Mongolia the textile production is not well developed thus it is hard to find the right textile for some designs.
O. E- How do you evaluate Mongolian market? How risky is it? What opportunities and threats do you see?
Mongolian market itself is quite small. Even though there is a niche in the market to produce fashionable and high quality clothing. Recently the Mongolians have been showing the support for domestic businesses and that is very commendable. Thus it totally depends on us if at some point in the future we can prefer domestically produced apparel. As today we purchase more of import goods such from China, Korea, Turkey, USA and Europe. Moreover the famous global brands keep opening their branches in Mongolia. From this view there is undoubtedly much potential in the market.
O. E- How would you define your target market? What are its characteristics?
I want Mongolians to wear more casual clothes with traditional elements also my goal is to let the world know about “Mongolian Style”. Right now, I am working to make a name for Mongolian brand thus I would define my target market as all Mongolians. Of course in the future I want to expand my business to the international level. But I believe that starting it from my country is a right thing to do. I dream of making a Mongolian style that even foreigners would wear in daily life.
O. E- How do you define the price? Competitor’s role to price?
To define the price I consider the design, fabric and sewing fee. Also the fact that I produce my collections with “limited edition” affects the price. For now the prices of competitors don’t affect me that much. Some of producers concentrate on cashmere, while other concentrates on leather or fur, so all of them have different measurements of price. For now I use cotton to make my products. Later on I am planning on using leather, cashmere, fur and others.
O. E- Are you planning on expanding your business?
There is no businessman who does not want to expand their business. But I am more to be called as an artist than a businessman for now. Of course I have lots of stuff and plans in my mind. I dream of having factory, launching boutiques for wider market and entering the international market.
O. E- What do you attribute to your success?
I believe that being faithful and hardworking will lead me to my dreams. My principle is to keep moving towards my dreams no matter how slowly I move.