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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News blog9 June 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

'In the business of crafts and culture'

An interview with 33 Under 33 entrepreneur Mariia Gavryliuk

Secrets of Success Mariia Gavryliuk 33 under 33

On the Promoting Enterprise portal, we are talking to the entrepreneurs on the 33 Under 33 list. This Secrets of Success initiative aims to shine the spotlight on a selection of successful young entrepreneurs, documenting their stories in an effort to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Today it is the turn of young Ukrainian Mariia Gavryliuk.

Mariia is from Ukraine and she has a Master’s Degree in Fashion Design from Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design (KNUTD). Her heroes are her team. Mariia believes that she inherited her entrepreneurial spirit from her parents. Her company, which she set up using her own investment, creates trendy home and fashion accessories using Ukrainian culture and traditional techniques.

Tell us about your business

The Gunia project is a brand of exceptional things produced based on traditional ethnic cultures. Each collection is a unique combination of design thinking, deep ethnographic research, and an artistic approach toward craftsmanship. The brand employs folk crafts and pays attention to the smallest details of traditional culture to create artisanal designer pieces that are perfectly suited for the needs of everyday life.

Where did you get the idea from?

Both Natalia Kamenska and I, Gunia’s co-founders, used to work in the fashion industry. There we understood that we wanted to create something meaningful and hand-made that is filled with symbolism. At that moment, Ukrainian culture wasn't represented well, even in Ukraine. We understood that we wanted to show the deepness of our culture and the skill of our artisans. The project started as a hobby.

How old were you when you first decided you would start your own business?

I was 24.

Secrets of Success Mariia Gavryliuk 33 under 33 trump card


How did you get it off the ground?

For the first few years we were working without salaries with part-time work on a different project to be able to invest in our ideas.

Who did you turn to for help?

I mainly turned to friends and family for support.

Describe some of the obstacles you faced as a young person starting out in this business.

The main obstacle at that time was a lack of experience. My partner Natalia and I both had education in design and we had ideas about what we wanted to create as a product. Managing a business wasn't something we were good at, but we learned along the way.

How do you define success?

Being proud of your work and achieving the results you set for yourself.

What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?

For me, the most challenging aspect was finding the right people.

What are the future goals of your business, and how will you go about achieving them?

We want to develop our brand in the international market. Unlike when we started working, now we have a clear plan, KPIs, and a team who can help us achieve our goals.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?

If you have a dream, don't be afraid to take risks to make it a reality.

Follow and learn more about “Secrets of Success: 33 under 33” via the app and the Youtube SoS 33 under 33 playlist. 

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