The textile industry in Bulgaria has a world standard like no other- states Antoaneta Antonova, owner of one of the top manufacturing companies for women`s clothing.
What changes is the textile industry going through during the last few months? Did it manage to come back to its normal workflow? Are we ready to cover the leading world standards and demands?
Antoaneta Antonova is CEO of Antoan Vill with its’ headquarters situated in Ruse, Bulgaria - one of the leading clothing manufacturers countrywide. The company produces women`s clothing since 1998, exporting to some of the well known fashion brands in Europe. Antoaneta Antonova is a member of the board of directors of BATOK (Bulgarian Association of Textile, Clothing and Leather) and it is an ex member of the Board of Directors in BAPIOT (Bulgarian Association of Producers and Exporters of Textiles and Clothing).
How the COVID-19 crisis reflected the textile industry? Moreover, what lessons did it bring?
This extraordinary and unexpected situation affected all of us. We saw that during pandemic there is no difference between small and big businesses. Even the world leading brands went through enormous losses. Only those who could adapt and find the next available opportunity could survive. As you know, Antoan VIll was one of the first to redirect their whole production to sewing safety face masks as the market demanded. This decision was made so that Antoan Vill could survive, but also to respond to the community needs during the lockdown in Bulgaria.
What else helped you stay on the market besides face mask production?
In order to survive, no matter how big your company is, you have to keep your current clients and business partners while you keep up with the good quality of services you offer. We managed to give our customers what they need: good service, on time deliveries and high quality. We kept this line of stability and that made us long term and well-trusted partners. Next to that, couple of years ago we incorporated diversification of our products, which gave us positive results over all our production process.
Did the previous workflow recover from the crisis? What changes did you go through?
To a point yes, but we all faced and are still facing difficulties in our sales and that reflects on our business as well. Clients are giving small orders, many variations of the styles and deliver delicate fabrics that require special attention. We all face higher standard requirements. Everyone wants to bring their production to absolute perfection. Before the clients were more tolerant, they would accept production optimization standards, but now they do not. Therefore, we have to follow their technological requirements. Antoan VIll is already preparing orders for next season. However, we made so many blueprints and samples than ever before. This is a factor, which shows us that the producers of fashion demand big variety of products so that they can have more sales in the near future.
To which markets are, your orders currently focused on right now?
Now our orders come from our current business partners in Europe but other counties outside the European market also contact Antoan Vill. This only shows us that the world needs new suppliers. It is only a matter of time before we can acquire the position we demand and deserve.
You are a member of Bulgarian Association of Textile, Clothing and Leather (BATOK). Do you plan to take any actions to help the industry in Bulgaria?
We are united in our belief that we must show and prove ourselves as a branch of the world. We already started taking steps to develop a strategy on how to make this happen. Our industry is extremely well equipped at a world level. We have many great specialists in the field and very experienced workers. We also hope to receive a government support. In addition, we would like that our state recognizes us as an important industry, to believe in us, even though we are willing to take the appropriate steps by ourselves.