Sometimes what you do without any future calculations, with your desire and interest, because it is a good way to have fun and bring you happiness, will turn into a pleasant surprise after years and may even help you to discover yourself.
Fashion blogs have not been popular in Georgia for a long time, but one of the first such blogs is www.anobanooo.blogspot.com, which was created by Anano Dolaberidze back when there was no ‘Phubber,’ and Anano was studying at the Georgian-American University Business School.
Well, if you dream of being a businessperson as a child, and then apply your ideas to your field of interest, there is a great chance that a very cool project will come out of this dream, which will be successful as well as special.
In the framework of Visa’s initiative She’s Next in partnership with Forbes Woman Georgia We present an interview with Anano Dolaberidze, in which she shares her experiences and future visions, which will help readers better understand the challenges, barriers, and opportunities that women entrepreneurs face.
A lot was going on before Phubber. How did you imagine as a child, what did you think would be a job you would never get bored of?
I have always been interested in the fashion industry, however, I found myself to be actively involved in this industry professionally completely by accident. My first job was as a Visual Merchandiser for the brand of ZARA, one of the largest chains of Inditex Group, then I soon moved to Roberto Cavalli’s store as a brand manager. For more than a year I was also the general manager of the Georgian designer Lako Bukia and at the same time, completely by accident, I started styling in the shootings, I got into magazines as a fashion stylist and worked for Beaumonde magazine, as well as EGO / EGO MEN magazines.
From the current perspective, this experience is quite diverse, and after so many stories, you will fall in love with this industry. However, of course, as a child I could not even imagine this coincidence, I loved fashion, but at the same time, I wanted to connect my future with the business world. Modern possibilities are so diverse that I think you will always find a solution for doing your favorite things while not forgetting your childhood dreams. Over time, my work has gone in different directions, I became the head of relations with international media and buyers of Tbilisi Fashion Week and brought journalists, influencers, buyers, and photographers of famous publications to Georgia, I worked in the direction of consulting with Georgian designers. Now I am the fashion editor of the magazine “Nargis”.
What difficulties and challenges did you face during your career and how did you deal with them?
The are many challenges, especially in the fashion industry. At first glance, as beautiful and attractive as this field may be, from the inside it is quite complex and often even unfair. It takes a lot of hard work to succeed in this industry, however it is all probably necessary to get stronger and never give up. I always remember all the difficulties or challenges I went through all these years and I think you can not get good experience without pushing your limits and proving to yourself and others that you can overcome all the necessary obstacles.
What motivated you all this time?
Self-belief. I have never given up on anything in my life, I have never questioned my abilities. If I decide to do something, I make every effort to do so. I try to never be complacent in my head and always demand more of myself than I do or can. I think such an attitude is very important for self-development, the minute you say – I am very good, then perhaps the regression has already begun.
How was Phubber founded? What was your specific goal? What changes should Phubber bring to the local market?
We started thinking about Phubber after my partner, Giorgi Chugoshvili, suggested creating a digital platform where anyone could buy or sell the item they wanted. Phubber allows our customers to sell items that they no longer like or no longer want, and thus earn extra income. It all happens very easily, online, with a few clicks in the app. Phubber’s service is important: we bring each item sold for free from the seller, check the item, establish its authenticity, then pack, take it to the buyer and transfer the amount to the seller.
Today Phubber already has more than 60,000 registered uses. Here you can find everything related to clothing, footwear, accessories, and beauty products. The application presents more than 500 international brands and almost all Georgian designer collections with up to 70% discount. In total, more than 90,000 items have been uploaded, making it the largest online clothing platform in Georgia. Phubber is also in the active phase of the 500 startups program and we plan to enter a new market in early 2021.
How important are Phubber-like initiatives from the private sector and what positive change should we expect from this project?
Promoting the ecosystem of technology and innovation is directly related to the economic growth of the country. Therefore, the private sector should play one of the most important roles in this process. Especially in pandemic conditions, the need for similar types of products and destinations has been clearly identified. From the founding of Faber to the present day, record-high sales and demand have been at the forefront of the pandemic, and I am delighted to have successfully tackled this challenge. We have been able to purchase and deliver clothing online as fast as food delivery services and we are constantly striving to further refine and improve our service. Also, what makes Phubber special, in my opinion, is the item verification and authentication service that every item sold goes through Phubber, and the customer is guaranteed to receive exactly the item the seller has specified in the app. It is forbidden to place fake items and natural fur in the application, which is a kind of policy of the company from the day of its creation.
As for Faber’s changes, we are now moving to a completely different and very responsible stage. We won Georgia’s 650,000 GEL Innovation and Technology Grant Program and therefore attracted co-financing from American Angel Investor, who is one of the shareholders and one of the pioneer employees of the famous WhatsApp. Attracted finances will help us to better manage and refine UI / UX and automate processes. We plan to launch Phubber Web at the end of September and expand it in the first half of 2021. Our goal is to be the first “Unicorn” from Georgia and we plan to focus on the Caucasus region, as well as Eastern Europe and Asia.
Phubber participates in the program of 500 startups of the world’s largest accelerator and it is already known that out of 15 selected startups that passed the first part of the program, Phubber hit the top five and we will continue to participate in the program, further refine and develop our business.
In retrospect, how important is it to fight for our ideas and never give up? How should we encourage ourselves in the most difficult moments?
If you do not work hard and if you don’t learn the price of success and you will not be given the spirit to fight for it. Every day starts with thinking about the future, what I should do, and what my goal is. If this is not your daily routine and you do not live with this idea, I think it is difficult to succeed.
I believe in energy, I believe that life is a boomerang and whatever kind of life you live, whatever attitude you have towards those around you and your work, you will get the same attitude in return.
What advice would you give to women who are just starting in their careers?
I think women are very strong. Women are warriors. I want to tell them to stay motivated, to believe in themselves and their abilities. When there is an idea, when there are a purpose and self-belief, I think every woman can achieve what she wills. We must use any challenge, any difficulty for our development.
What is the power of us, women?
In my opinion, the strength of women lies in their spiritual strength, pragmatic thinking, and ability to make decisions instantly. We talk about this often and I want to tell all women again – you can be both an ideal mother and an ideal leader in your business. Women in our country are victims of many social stigmas.
What would you say to them, how should women change their lives first, and break stereotypes?
First of all, breaking any stereotype starts with acknowledging, not getting used to, and not keeping silent. It is important to think about our daily development. Most importantly, we must fight for our interests and desires. Working on yourself always brings the greatest victory.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are certainly related to Phubber. To be honest, I don’t see us ever stopping and saying that we have already done our job. That is what I like, that is what fascinates me in our work. The most important thing for me is the constant feeling of development, the need, and the ability to never stop.