The coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of life as we know it and has hindered the activities of businesses across the world, and in Georgia as well. The children’s clothing store Bebe + is not an exception: the company had to change its development plans once the virus struck, and find new ways to survive in the coronavirus crisis.
This is how the company started online sales via Facebook and continued offering clothes of different brands to its little customers.
“We planned to further expand in Georgia and open three new stores in three regional towns of the country by 2020. Following the demand from our customers, we decided to open our first stores in the Georgian towns of Rustavi, Zugdidi and Telavi. But the coronavirus pandemic has changed all of our plans. As soon as the situation in the country gives us the opportunity to do so, we will continue to carry out all the plans we had before”, said IngaChitava, director of Bebe +.
Once the company started using Facebook for online sales, Chitava saw that the demand for the service started to grow, and decided to further strengthen the company’s e-commerce activities.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, once the government allowed e-commerce in the country, we launched Facebook sales and plan to expand in this regard. Today we satisfy the needs of dozens of customers every day. We can say that we laid the foundation for this new tool during the most difficult period for our company”, Chitava said.
As of today Bebe + has eight stories in Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi, two in the Black Sea region town of Batumi and two in the third largest city of Georgia, Kutaisi.
Bebe + provides clothes for children from 0 to 16 years of age. The clothes are imported from Europe as well as from Asia and are all original brandnames.
Prices start from GEL 8 for a shirt, GEL 20 for trousers, and GEL 15 for a dress.
About 200 customers visit Bebe + stores every day.
Today, all the leading brands that produce children’s clothes can be found under the roof of a single store – Bebe +, which has cemented itself as the leading children’s clothing store in Georgia.
“All famous children's brands are represented in the stores of Bebe +. Recently new brands from Turkey and India have been added to our collections”, Chitava says.
To attract more customers Bebe + offers seasonal discounts and additional promotions for different holidays.
“Our main advertisement is our activities on social media: we have a lot of followers”, Chitava notes.
The dynamic development of Bebe +, which today has been recognized as the number one brand in its segment by the Golden Brand awards, started 19 years ago when two sisters Nana and Inga Chitava opened a seven square meter store in Bazroba – one of Tbilisi’s largest open-air markets.
In that little space, there was everything – a trading table, colored laminate walls, bubbles, a logo. The space was decorated in such a way so as to catch the eyes of children.
Success in the children’s wear market means understanding the industry and your place in it, Chitava believes. She says hard work and an honest approach to “the most sincere customers” (children) will never escape attention. In her words, it is exactly this that has brought the Golden Brand award to the company.
“Low prices, good quality, high level of service, customer-oriented campaigns and teamwork led our company to the Golden Brand awards”, Chitava said.
Chitava said that in addition to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are facing a slew of other challenges as well.
“The main challenge for businesses today is the state’s approach. It could be more liberal than it is today. I have in mind the existing VAT system, and volatile bank interest rates.
“At this stage, due to the situation in the country, it’s hard to talk about serious development, because despite our desire, we have had to partially suspend our activities.
“After food, baby products are what people need the most. It is difficult to say what kind of challenges this pandemic will leave when it is over, but I wish there were more employed people in Georgia with a higher solvency rate”, she said.
Despite the challengesChitava believes Bebe + has managed to successfully compete with local and global brands, of which being selected for a Golden Brand award is a good example.
“Next to the global brands that are represented in our market, it is gratifying that we took first place in your research. All this is because we provide quality goods at an affordable price. We are satisfied with this result but this does not mean we will stop looking to improve”, she said.