“Home is where you are” — this motto that many displaced people can easily relate to is now promoted by the Ukrainian home décor brand "Tarlini" which was forced to relocate from Kharkiv to Lviv in western Ukraine. In April 2022, Vladyslav Liubchenko, an entrepreneur and volunteer, fled the war hoping at first that he would be able to come back to Kharkiv and restart his business very soon. However, the war showed no signs of abating, prompting Vladyslav to start anew in Lviv. Jointly with his friends, he created a showroom of the brand that shares the ideas of the hygge lifestyle. About 30 locals and internally displaced people from Kharkiv and other cities from eastern Ukraine joined the team.
Vladyslav started his business together with his wife seven years ago by importing Mason jars from the USA to Ukraine. Since then, a separate brand for house décor goods was created with its own manufacture. The majority of textile goods were handmade and sewn in Kharkiv Region. Wooden goods, perfumed candles and aroma diffusors were also manufactured locally.
The start of the full-scale war brought all business processes to a halt. The team focused on volunteering and was able to set up a logistical system to deliver humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable population in Kharkiv. On the most intense days, volunteers delivered up to 1,500 lunches per day to affected people. Volunteers also brought vans with medicine and essential goods to Kharkiv from western Ukraine.
In May, Vladyslav decided to resume his business so he could pay debts to suppliers, and salaries to employees, and financially support charity projects in Kharkiv. Despite the close proximity to the destroyed administrative buildings in the centre of Kharkiv, all company assets remained undamaged. In May, all goods were moved to the safer regions of Ukraine.
After the relocation, the business faced economic challenges. Due to increased currency exchange rates, making imported products more expensive, as well as longer delivery, it became unprofitable to import goods. Vladyslav’s team decided to manufacture everything they could in Ukraine, as this allows to support local economy and create new working places.
Although it is relatively safe in western Ukraine, people's purchasing capacity has decreased, making business income unstable. The entrepreneurs are actively looking for ways to enter foreign markets to popularize Ukrainian goods and survive during the economic crisis.
The company received grant support for relocated businesses from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and is using this assistance for the development and implementation of the marketing strategy, website update, design of packing for new goods, and procurement of raw materials for production. The team is actively working to expand the product range and plans to participate in the international fair of home décor Maison&Objet in Paris. IOM also helped the company to connect with the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Ireland to explore the experience of the renowned brand.
According to the Lviv City Administration, Lviv Region hosted the highest number of relocated businesses in Ukraine. 193 enterprises moved to the region from the territories where active hostilities are ongoing. Of them, 115 companies have already fully resumed their work. IOM is actively working with the regional authorities to support relocated enterprises and boost economic recovery.
Within the project "SME Boost: Economic Integration of Internally Displaced Persons and Business Recovery" (December 2021-May 2024), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Development Bank (KfW), more than 700 enterprises will receive grants between EUR 4,500 to 20,000. Additionally, the project engages the diaspora to support the recovery of the country and of enterprises through skills development, business support, and access to finance, networks and markets. The selected 300 micro, small and medium enterprises will also benefit from consulting services thanks to IOM’s partnership with the Kyiv School of Economics and the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.