Nino Ugrekhelidze, Founder of Co.Mode

How did you start your company?

I started this business 4-5 years ago when I felt that the demand for Georgian designers was on the rise. At the beginning I initially started by selling various designer clothing, and then 2 years later, when more demand arrivedfor different styles, I decided to make my own production and so created the Co.Mode (clothing and footwear) line.

 

What first sparked your interest in fashion?

I qualified in business administration, however my goal since childhood has been to have a network of clothing stores in different countries (like what mass-produced brands have). Until now, I have been following my goal and trying to make it a reality. I wish to one day have an international mass-produced brand which is from Georgia.

 

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

My educational background was inbusiness, however I don’t regret it. To the contrary, having this knowledge as a base has helped me greatly in the setting up of my business. I appreciate how useful it has been for me to correctly understand and navigate the reality of running a business. What I learned about fashion was from some training courses which I undertook in the USA and in Georgia too, but I think that overall I gained more knowledge from practice. I had to do a lot of experiments to get it right and I think that everything up till now has been part of the learning process. Similar to in every job, one should ideally be working towards their own self-improvement all the time. We need to continually gain experience from different situations to improve to the optimal version of ourselves. Sometimes there are mistakes, sometimes success, but it is all a process, one which is necessary for development.

 

Have your pieces become more appealing to a wider pool of people over time?

At the beginning we were creating products for Georgian customers and not thinking about catering to the interests of tourists or foreign buyers. However, with the help of social media today you can show everyone what you are doing. So our customer numbers are growing all the time. Also, we see that in our country the number of tourists is growing season by season, so this also reflected on us.

It’s such a pleasure to hear from foreign people that they have had our store in their ‘must-visit’ lists of places to shop when in Tbilisi.

 

Are there any types of clothing that you prefer not to wear?

Yes, of course there are. Sometimes there are dresses that I know for a fact I will never wear, however I can appreciate for whom exactly they have been created.

I almost never think of my own personal taste when creating a dress. I have a very casual style which first of all must be very comfortable in every situation. I am a hard-working person so without comfortable clothes it would be impossible for me to work. But of course I always have my favourite things in store; without this, Co.Mode wouldn’t exist.

 

What have been some of your biggest achievements?

The first main achievement was when we did our online website www.comode.ge, however our products are also available to be shipped worldwide, so can be ordered from anywhere.

Our collection is well sold on the Russian market. We have some buyers from different cities of Russia who sell us in their stores. Also, we may soon establish a presence in the Yerevan market too.

Our biggest challenge so far this year was sending our collections to one of the most popular stores in NYC where international designers are showcased. After this, in February Co.Mode was invited to a NYFW runway and also to an international designers’ presentation in Paris during Paris Fashion Week. These two activities have been the biggest achievements for Co.Mode thus far, which are a good sign for its future success.

 

Tell us about your line. What is your main inspiration?

My inspiration always comes from details and observations. When I need more inspiration my mind is always tuned to catch some interesting detail from someone or something which can then inspire me to create something interesting. I can say that my mind is almost constantly in a state of connecting details with each other. I don’t only think about how to create beautiful clothes for customers, but rather how to beautifully showcase this clothing to customers.

The Co.Mode Collection is always about women who love being stylish. Such a woman is always confident in our clothes and knows that she is trendy.

 

What have been your favourite moments on your journey so far?

Every little success of Co.Mode has been a favourite moment of mine, but mostly it is the working process – when you are doing something to achieve good results and you can feel it coming into being… it’s a great feeling of pleasure. This feeling is always on my mind and therefore I constantly feel the need to repeat it.

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