Apparel labels have resumed their work while relocating to other cities and expanding their manufacturing across Europe. Restaurants and cafés accept visitors, and schools and universities work remotely. Life in Ukraine resembles Remarque's books, but with a caveat: Wi-Fi in bomb shelters is available, and social media channels operate in full swing.
Fox Lingerie team was one of those who resumed work almost right after the large-scale military attack on the 13th day of Russian aggression. Prior to the invasion, the label, known for seductive and romantic sets, trending swimwear, and signature bodysuits, had nine stores across Ukraine and was also stocked by the high-end shopping mall TSUM Kyiv. As of now, two boutiques in Kyiv and Kharkiv are destroyed and the rest are on the way to resume their operations.
Juliana, 27, is a second-time war refugee. She was born and brought up in Luhansk, a city under Russian occupation for the last eight years, which she left in 2014. In February 2022, she fled her home to the capital of Ukraine.
The young entrepreneur says the team was lucky and managed to evacuate the stock from the Kyiv warehouse. The 'rescued stock' of over 1000 sets was eventually donated to internally displaced women.
"We witnessed millions fleeing their homes to start their lives from scratch without taking basic things, not even some underwear. That's the least we can do," Genzel continues.
In 2015, right after the Revolution of Dignity, a historical event in Ukrainian history, Fox Lingerie was founded. Juliana claims she got used to crises and life-changing situations and instead perceives these as a window of opportunities to find some light in the darkness. This war became one of this momentum.
"Having been shaken by the events, we had to re-evaluate our business needs and potential for further growth, so we moved towards expanding across the European market. Perhaps, if this war had not caught us by surprise, we wouldn't find time for this business opportunity in the course of normal events".
Despite the lockdown restrictions, the brand succeeded in many ways over the past year. Last autumn, the team opened four new boutiques and had enormous plans for further expansion. Having moved to a safer region of Ukraine, Juliana could finally focus on the strategy for their future growth within the international market. Even before the Russian invasion, Fox Lingerie had gained worldwide recognition: it had franchise partners in the US, the UAE, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.
"Currently, we are working towards entering the European market, and I am excited to participate in expos and establish partnerships with new buyers". Juliana says that the team has prioritized redesigning the online store, adapting the content, and translating the site into different languages.
"Ukrainians are known for being very hard-working, brave, and resilient," Juliana shares the peculiarities of the Ukrainian mentality. "We all believe that Ukraine will win in this war, so we count the days until the victory. These days, the people are united, and everyone is committed to contributing to this victory."