Interviewed by: Aliona Ryne
Photo and video: NuArt Studio
Behind the scenes, you told us that Le Frivole now has a cloud office. What does it look like and why did it happen?
It looks simple enough. We have been preparing for this for several years and now the story with the coronavirus has pushed us to the point when it is time to switch to a new system. This is when you do not need to go to the office, because you have an office anywhere in the world. And this is very cool both for me – the owner and for the employees who work in the company. They just don't waste time on commuting or anything else.
And how do you control that people are working at home and not wasting their time?
In fact, this is the question number one. For some reason, all managers think that if their employees are in the office, then they are in control. This is, in fact, the deepest delusion. There is no control – if people do not want to work, then they will not work. Everything is simple here.
To begin with, it is important, in general, for which company people work. If people have an understandable idea conveyed to them, then this is already a reason to work, and not to idle. As for control, everything is simple here: there are plans for a day, for a week, for a month, for a quarter, for a year. These are the points of control. You need to look at the indicators, at their deviations to a greater or lesser extent. This is how you can control. It is not difficult, but you have to come to this. We have been doing this for five years already, so this is a natural story for us.
How many employees are there now? And how do you control these points?
Now there are still up to 20 of us. We strive to move all non-key functions outside the company. This is one of the important points of such a thing as a distributed company.
Firstly, we do not have an office as such, we work wherever we want.
Secondly, we have an IT system that allows us to quickly reach agreement with each other.
Thirdly, we have a motivation system. I mean financial motivation, which is not tied to the time worked, but to the result achieved. Most of the company's employees have no salary at all. The transition to such a system went on gradually. This is a painful process, many left the company: they were not ready. But now there is a system in which an employee himself influences his result. He sees what the company has sold and for how much and knows his share of what the company has earned. Transparent and understandable.
How is your logistics arranged?
At the moment, if we talk about the export we have a warehouse in the European Union, which works according to the fulfillment system. This is not our own warehouse, this is a cell that we rent. There are people who know much better how to work with a warehouse than we do.
And in Russia we have our own warehouse.
Do you have any predictions: how long will it take to conquer the foreign market?
It seems to me that any person who sells something in Russia wants to sell it for euros or dollars. Export stabilizes the situation within the company. But export needs to be understood. Everything abroad works differently than here. We have ideas and we are gradually working on them.
You brought different things with you, I want to see what it is. Will you tell?
This year we are ready to show off a new collection of overalls, stockings, bodysuits with rhinestones. There are 6 models in total, but what is quickly, in demand, can be easily sold. Our classic packaging: bright, juicy, with all the necessary elements. Designed to attract the attention of people entering the store.
I also brought along a costume from the Premium collection. This is a New Year or Halloween collection. This costume we have in four sizes, that is, we completely cover the entire size range. This is one of our differences from potential competitors. Although on the territory of Russia we have no competitors in the field of costumes.
With panties the situation is about the same, in some models 3 sizes, in some – 4 sizes. This is a basic assortment that always sells well. Update coming soon.
How do you develop new models?
For a product to work, someone has to put one’s soul into it. Someone should want to do something interesting, spend part of their energy, time, effort. If we want to get massive sales, we need to do it inexpensively, work on the packaging, do it efficiently, because people in Russia are becoming more demanding every year.
How did Le Frivole begin? How did you understand that it is in this niche that you need to work?
This is a very cool moment. It was almost 10 years ago. It all started with the fact that I had my own retail store. I wanted there to be an assortment of costumes. At that moment, when I began to sel ect an assortment of suits and underwear, I realized that there was nothing to buy. So that you understand, now such a suit on the shelf costs fr om three to six thousand rubles. Then, ten years ago, you could buy suits of inferior quality, but at the same price. I bought it, put it on the shelf for 7000 rubles and it stood there for several years. I looked at this and thought that something was not right here, it seemed, this was a free niche. People come in, people ask, people want. The entrepreneur's logical conclusion is that it is necessary to answer the needs. This is how it all started.
You have your own line of toys. Are you continuing to develop something new?
I don't remember exactly how many we have in development, but it will be a very strong increase in the range of goods. We gradually take those categories in which we are not represented. However, we operate within a fairly simple concept: if we had our own retail store, what products would we like to see on our shelves? Gradually, within this framework, in terms of quality, assortment, colors, packaging, we go step by step.
Thanks for the conversation!