World Footwear


Interview with Julia Guzenko (Giardini) from Ukraine

Nov 11, 2022 Ukraine
Interview with Julia Guzenko (Giardini) from Ukraine
Our newest interview is with Julia Guzenko, owner of chain store Giardini, based in Ukraine. We have talked to Julia about the conditions of working in war time. Watch the video

Working in war time

When people ask me why I work, I have only one answer. I cannot erase out my business because I want to pay salaries. If I pay salaries, people have money for their life and they don’t (need) to ask for help to the Government. (If I have my business) I pay taxes. It is very important to continue.

I’m really proud of my staff because they go into our shops in trade centres and when they see signals of a dangerous situations, like when the sirens are on, they go into the safety places, they stay there and wait and after they go back to the trade centre, and they start to work again.

I (re) opened my first shop after 10 days after the start of the war, because many of our clients called me, as they know me, and wrote me messages asking if I could open the shops or ask the trade centres to open the shops as shoes were in need. We had many people that were dislocated from their hometowns and had travelled with only one luggage piece with clothes and shoes. Many of them have moved from the South of our country (Ukraine) and there the territory is warm. In February they dressed shoes, not boots, as they had warmer temperatures in the South. They have moved into Lviv or Kyiv, where there was snow, they were in shoes, but they needed boots. As everything was closed – all shops were closed – I was contacted. And so, I called the trade centres and asked them “Please, can we open our shop?”.

(In the last few  months) We have worked very hard for our clients, and have prepared very comfortable prices, as we understand we cannot have the same profit as before. So, we have prepared comfortable prices for our new collection. And we were successful in this season as all our factory partners didn’t cancel anything, they have shipped all our collection, and we have received very fast, and we were full in our shops.

I’m happy that some people have come back. Especially in Kyiv and we will grow up there, which for us is a very important city.

What to look for in a shoe?

When I look at shoes, any shoes, I like to touch it as it is important to understand a few things: Is it soft? What does it feels like inside? If I’m sent a picture I cannot understand it. And if I order six pairs, is one question, but when I order 500 pieces is other question. And I like to have my order without mistakes, and so I must be sure about colours, linings inside, insoles, and all materials. (All of this) is very important.

* This interview was conducted during the summer of 2022, during the last edition of Expo Riva Schuh in June 2022.

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