During this period, we both approached our 30th birthdays and wondered: am I taking everything from life? How does my work realize my creative potential? When we grew up during the Perestroika in the late ‘80s (in the Soviet Union), which was sharpened by the development of the industrial society, and later in criminal post-Soviet ‘90s, we were taught that you need to choose a job that brings money. Creative professions were not mentioned at all or thought of, and it wasn’t accepted to change your type of activity and take risks. So, for decades, we struggled internally with these attitudes and studied technical specialities instead of art – we worked for years in marketing, IT companies and law firms, and carefully changed them from time to time. And, of course, the positions that we occupied in IT and law and prospects by 2013 could barely concern creativity. It was a stable and quite interesting job, but it did not give room for personal growth and the development of new skills.
Another problem was that the shortage of quality non-trivial clothes in the early 2010s in Ukraine did not give room for self-expression to creative people like us. It was difficult for a person with a delicate taste to find something original for themselves, not only in the assortment of rare Ukrainian manufacturers but also in international network brands. There were several semi-underground concept stores in Kyiv and, of course, the showrooms of the first mass-market, streetwear and designer brands.
But still, people didn’t have confidence in the domestic product; it seemed low-quality, secondary to foreign brands, and in many ways, this stereotype corresponded to reality. Before we decided to start manufacturing clothes, we realized what our creative vision and interest in fashion were, customizing vintage clothes or creating something ourselves at home with a sewing machine. It was at the junction of what we are interested in and what we could do for a living, that the idea of the clothing brand was born.
Now you could name it ikigai. In fact, we started in a comfortable mode – as we imagined – combining our job and clothing production, to see if this direction worked for us. In 2013, working in parallel in IT and law in our home-city Mykolayiv, we launched the basic Finch items: hoodies and t-shirts with prints. But the more we dove into it and realised our goals, the less space we had to work on it. It is quite difficult to work for a company full time and, at the same time, devote yourself to your projects. In the first year after launching, we realised that we were not interested in the direction of basic clothes, and we would like to develop as a designer brand. But what's more, we realized that it’s impossible to build a business without giving it your all and, on the other hand, you can make better decisions working for yourself if you don’t make money elsewhere. Your life should depend on your business to make it grow.