Indira Ukueva has been living between Moscow and Bishkek recent years. She arrives in Kyrgyzstan in the morning, goes to Madina market to buy sewing accessories, and goes back to the airport from there.
She graduated from the Kyrgyz State Technical University named after I. Razzakov with a degree in clothing design, but was unable to fulfill herself in the Kyrgyz Republic. She left for Russia to provide for her family.
The 45-year-old Kyrgyzstani outlined her success story in a few words: she is not afraid of any obstacles after such an experience in Moscow.
She told 24.kg news agency how she was able to raise four children and at the same time open a business in Moscow.
— Indira, where did you work during your first years in Moscow?
— I came to Moscow 18 years ago, like all our compatriots, to work, having left the children with my mother.
The first ten years I worked at many places. I was a cleaner, saleswoman, house painter. I worked in the field of construction the longest: with a brigade, we did finishing of buildings, put up wallpaper, tile and etc.
Ten years later, an acquaintance who worked at a private garment workshop in Moscow asked me to make a new sketch. We previously worked together in Bishkek. After that, I got an offer to engage in the garment industry.
— Many our compatriots have been saving an initial capital for years, and then open their own business. Did you save up money for a garment workshop, too, while working in other fields?
— No, I transferred all my salary to Kyrgyzstan, spent money on study and other expenses of my children. Many migrants live this way; they immediately transfer almost all their earnings to their families.
When I opened the workshop, I almost had no money. I had a customer and a desire to work. I rented twelve sewing machines and gradually increased the number of jobs. Nowadays, 50 people work at my Syapat LLC; there are 40 places in the workshop itself. All of them are citizens of Kyrgyzstan. They work officially.
— Do you teach girls yourself? Do you invite them to work from Kyrgyzstan?
— We can also teach, but mostly those who already have work experience come to us.
I would like to advise girls not to believe rose colored advertising about employment in Russia. More than once, girls came to me without money, sometimes without documents, who escaped from captivity, where they were kept forcibly and were not payed wages.
According to them, they came to Russia after seeing an advertisement about work at garment workshops with accommodation, and they got into industrial zones in Moscow region. It turns out that our compatriots lure them, take away their passports upon arrival and send them to the Vietnamese in Moscow.
I myself heard on the radio in the markets of Bishkek such messages. Honestly, I myself wanted to work for them: dormitories, high salaries. I can not promise housing, because it is expensive and problematic. But I help my employees who have just arrived in Moscow to find accommodation with the help of acquaintances.
— Where are your products sold?
— My customer has an online store that delivers throughout Russia. She also has 70 outlets. There is another website, we manage it together with a partner. We sell only wholesale. Our clothes can be purchased in many stores in Moscow and other regions of Russia.
We have regular customers who appreciate our work for quality. We order fabric from Turkey. I have designers, who are constantly working on new models. By the way, we have mostly extra sizes adapted for the local population.
We order all accessories from Kyrgyzstan. If something is missing, I can urgently fly to Bishkek, go to Madina market and buy what I need, and then return to Moscow in the evening.
— Is it difficult for a citizen of Kyrgyzstan to do business in Moscow?
— At first, I was not able to register me as owner of the company, I agreed with a local friend. However, after Kyrgyzstan joined the EEU, the company was reregistered. I pay all taxes, deductions each month — an average of 100,000 rubles.
If an entrepreneur does not violate the laws, then there are no checks and pressure from the state bodies.
And I would also like to mention bureaucracy, I spend a lot of time on obtaining permits. For example, we spent a whole year just to increase the limit of electricity consumption.
— Would you like to come back and work in the Kyrgyz Republic?
— I visit Kyrgyzstan on business or to solve problems of relatives. I would like to relax at Issyk-Kul lake, turn off the phone and spend time in the mountains, enjoying nature and kumys.
We bought housing, started a business in Moscow, so I will work here for now. Especially since my children are with me. My daughter is 25 years old now, she lives with me, the son is a student in Bishkek, the younger ones also live in Moscow.
I plan to open a good workshop in Kyrgyzstan. I will work in two cities.