The Cieplice Baths
7 March 2019
11 March 2019

Successful Expat Woman – Nataliia Tkachuk!

This is a week devoted entirely to Women who did not stand back and watch others succeed. The women I would like to introduce to you are Women who took action in their life and played it right. The Women who showed others that female life is not only about house work, kids, school trips and wine. The Women who are bosses but also their own financial advisors, marketing strategists and any other professional. Those Women know they were born for more than being Mothers, Lovers and Wives. So now, read and learn how to overcome your fears and get your pretty asses to shake off and start following your dreams.  You’re welcome!

As an example of a Fascinating Female Boss, I introduce to you –  Natalya Tkachuk – a recyclable bag designer and maker!

Q.: Hi Natalya, would you like to tell us more about yourself?

My name is Nataliia. I am a UX designer but now I am on maternity leave. I was born in the South of Ukraine and had been living there around 20 years. Then I married and moved from my native city with my husband to another city not far from my born place. It was so important for me to have a possibility to visit my parents and friends during weekends or holidays. 

I am the kind of person who cares about friendship and relations with people. The most important thing we have is our time. That’s why if someone you like has time to drink coffee with you or meet for a walk be thankful for him/her time, because every minute of our life is priceless.

I moved to Poland from Ukraine 4 years ago with my husband and 1,5-years old kid. It was our 4th moving for last 10 years, but first moving abroad. Thanks to my company for opportunity to work outside Ukrainian office. The company decided to open new office in Wroclaw and it was a nice offer to our family as a comfortable attempt to try – how to live in European Union . You know, during our preparation to move to Poland, my son didn’t get a visa the first time and it was a shock for us and it postponed our trip till January 2015 instead of December 2014.

Q.: How do you find living here? 

It was our experiment to fill the European way of life as I mentioned before. First time it was hard a little because when we moved I knew only few words in Polish. We were surprised of how many people here speak English pretty well.

I am falling in love with Wroclaw. First half of the year we walked a lot to explore the city. I remember my first walk with the stroller on the Promenada Staromiejska. I liked every building and every step put me in love with Wroclaw. This walk put me in the wonderful world of European life where I was a young mommy who can walk in amazing beautiful place, drink coffee and breath the air of changes. (In Kyiv, Ukraine, it is a problem to find a place for a walk with the stroller without stress about road, car sound etc.).

Even now every time when I am in the city center I feel that my love in this city is growing. I have few of my favourite places to rest and drink tea/coffee, rest with the kids and it is cool to feel you can go everywhere with kids and with a good attitude of people around you. 

It is nice to me that here we can raise our kids and it was surprise for me when I saw a lot of dads on the playground after work and they play with their kids in sandbox with a pleasure.

After 2 years of living here, we decided to sell our apartment in Ukraine and buy our own in Poland. It was easy to take a mortgage and find a flat that we really liked. 

It became more and more comfortable for us to live here so much so that  we decided to give birth our daughter here:).

Q.: Please tell us a little more about your bags? the types of items you use in creating your bags?

I am sewing bags for fruits and vegetables. The main mission for each of them is to replace the plastic bags which people use while  visiting grocery stores. Each bag is made from 100% cotton and grid. You can just put fruits in the bag and add sticker. At the cashier you just need to pay. 

For now, I have 3 types of bags: solid for grains, with the mesh and print – for fruits and vegetables, with a front of mesh – for salad and greens.

Of course, you can use the bags in different ways, for example to store the toys or some home staff. One of my friends uses his bag for storing the aeropress, another one – for packaging clothes during trip.

I use 100% cotton with oeko-tex standard 100. The certification of products is in accordance with STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®.It means that all parts of an article meet the required criteria – in addition to the outer fabric, for example, also the sewing threads, inserts, prints etc., as well as non-textile accessories, such as buttons, zip fasteners, rivets etc.

The OEKO-TEX® tests for harmful substances are fundamentally based on the respective purpose of the textiles and materials. The more intensive the skin contact of a product and the more sensitive the skin, the stricter the human-ecological requirements that need to be complied with.

That’s why I decided to use this type of textile.

Q.: How did you come up with this idea? Do you work alone? 

The first bag set I sewed was for my friends as a present for Christmas and it was a funny reaction that they were made by me and they did not believe me because they liked so much the quality of the bags and every seam. Before that I was looking for some handmade activity during my maternity leave. It is a good possibility to try something new, to open new areas and try to realise them!

The main reason to start producing bags for fruits and vegetables was the full box of bags from different product shops and local groceries in my kitchen. I noticed that we are killing nature around us with huge amount of plastic in each family. And I try to use my chance to change the situation and I decided to open my own shop with cotton bags. It was my idea and my husband and friends supported me. 

I found a good textile for bags. It was hard to find the balance between the price and quality. But it was my challenge and after few experiments I found the solution.

Yes, I do everything by myself. Once my husband tell me that one thing how he can help me is just to cooperate more so I can have more time. Now I understand that I will need extra help and need to delegate some task (sewing or support or packaging or social media activities). 

Q.: How long does it take to make one of your bags? What do you reuse to make this bag? 

When I make every bag I do it with love and with attention to details. I spend 30-40 minutes per bag for now. I understand there are the ways how to reduce the time costs, but in this case the quality will be decreased too. 

The steps to make one bag are the following: cut textile, stick them together and control the symmetry, sew parts and add logo, add the rope and check the quality with removing all unnecessary strings.

It is a lot of different bags in market now, but I have my own auditory and I try to make the quality of my bags as a high standard which I prefer to buy to myself.

Q.: Where can our readers find your products? website? Insta? local shops or markets?

It is available on Instagram and in few weeks I will open the shop on Etsy and add the bags set in few local shops and cafes. I have made a photoset for all bags and the next step is adding all of them to Etsy. Now I am waiting for packing for my bags to start to sell them in local shops. The main problem for me is time. I use every free minute to build the label that I really like. But you know sometimes it is hard to do it with 2 kids ?. By the way, my son tells that he like what I make?.

Q.: What is the price of your bag? How long does it take to make one?

The price is from 20 till 30 PLN – it depends of the type. If you buy 3 or more you will have a discount.

Q.: Anything you’d like to add? 

It is cool to see the reaction of acquaintances what I do and how they like it. Every day I see a growing number of people who care about nature and our feature. It is pleasure to understand that the contribution of my work is valuable for the future and give happiness to the owner of each bag

Natalya is truly passionate about her reusable handmade bags which not only make her and her customers happy, but most importantly those bags are a step towards saving the world and making it a better place for the next generations! Personally, I think her spirit and motivation is contagious, and inspiring to start with. I’m Polish and I absolutely love the fact that Natalya chose our country to make a difference in! Thank you Natalya!

Follow her in: ?

Instagram – @torebka_justabag

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