In 2017, Tsitsi Shengelia decided to turn her hobby into a business and established a carpentry shop • by Tsitsi. The shop in Zugdidi is a place where the carpenter transforms her emotions and moods into the woodwork, where she feels free and happy working on every detail. In Tsitsi’s shop, you can find a lot of interesting items that can now be also viewed and purchased on Tsitsi’s website: www.tsitsi.ge(link is external)
Currently, she creates two major lines: accessories and kitchenware. The young carpenter does everything herself – from woodwork to communication with her customers.
“I do the woodwork myself, and I love this process. I create almost every detail by hand, putting my emotion and positive energy into each item that goes to an individual customer. The process of working with wood is a two-way energy exchange when you bodily feel the heat and aroma that the wood emits. For example, the smell and texture of conifers are completely different from those of deciduous trees. Customers can always feel the energy that I invest in a particular item, and they return the energy in their feedback. I think that’s why consumers like my handicrafts – they actually make us closer to each other.”
Most of Tsitsi’s handicrafts are designed for women, and the message is clear: it is time for women to break gender stereotypes, speak out and find their own niche. Apart from working, Tsitsi tries to always communicate with her customers, which helps her better explore her target audience, understand the market demand and develop her business properly.
From Hobby to Entrepreneurship
Tsitsi wanted to participate in a program that would give her the knowledge and skills she needed to run a business. This is how he got involved in the EU4Youth Project to enhance youth education, employment and participation in conflict-affected areas in Georgia and Ukraine. The project targets at increasing educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for IDP and conflict-affected youth, as well as strengthening state-civic cooperation over youth education, employment and entrepreneurship issues through advocacy.
“Before joining the project, I made accessories: wooden and felt bags, hand-painted wooden brooches and other items, but I faced a lot of challenges, and I needed the necessary skills to manage. That’s why I filled in an application form and was finally very fortunate to find myself among people who generously invested their knowledge and energy to help me become an informed and skilled entrepreneur.”
According to Tsitsi, the project helped her gain theoretical and practical knowledge for running a business. Cooperation with the project also helped identify the problems that the business faced; for example, managing the product line was an issue requiring immediate attention. Today Tsitsi has no problem with that. She says, even though the project is over, the team is still very supportive, caring and motivating: “They share my failures and success, encouraging me for setting more serious goals and going for bigger victories.”
The young entrepreneur identified mentoring as a very useful component of the project when a person focused on her interests helped her use the available resources to their best.”When I received the funding, I only had an idea and a draft, and I did not have any entrepreneurial expertise or skills. I didn’t know which tools to work with, what I needed to start my business, what was my niche and my place at the market. Then entrepreneurial school helped me, and today I have a direction, a goal and the environment to further develop my own business. In general, I would advise everyone to never miss initiatives that give you a chance to develop. Education and training are the best investment you can make. Boldly take this step, always learn a lot, never stop, be active and go for your goal”.
Tsitsi says, she would never give up is the quality of her work, because she believes producing items that are neatly made, durable and practical is a way to show respect to your customers:
“I like the magic going on in the workshop, when I think over an individual item. The period between receiving an order and finishing the item is the time for creativity. I never forget customer’s reaction and feedback, because those who buy my items fill me with energy and new ideas, help me refine and enhance my products, and I try to always offer them novelties. ”
Click here for the video: Tsitsi Shengelia’s EU-supported success story
The information has been prepared by “Entrepreneur Georgia” in the framework of the “EU4Youth – Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine”.
The project – “EU4Youth – Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine” is implemented by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Center for Education Development and Employment (EDEC) with the financial support of the European Union.
EU4Youth – Georgia
Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine
The project aims to enhance the livelihoods of internally displaced and conflict-affected youth and foster their meaningful participation in society by