We talk to Evelina Buividiene, Director of Export Customer Service for RIOLIS as the company celebrates 20 years in business.
Tell us how the company started?
RIOLIS was founded in 1996 by Oleg Akifiev. It's a family business and currently managed by Oleg's son, Ilya Akifiev. The company was small initially, and only had five employees that did everything from creating new designs, choosing threads and fabrics, packaging the kits, to selling and providing customer service.
The initial designs were simple and it was soon decided that if the company wanted to improve designs, then the company would need to bring on board a professional artist and designer. In 1997, RIOLIS appointed Galina Skabeeva as the head of the design. She has formed a successful design team and still leads them today. She continues to bring about an endless source of fresh ideas and a wonderful creative atmosphere to work in.
How has the company changed over the last 20 years since Oleg Akifyev started the business?
The company has constantly evolved during these 20 years and now has 11 departments, each specialising in their own areas including sales, design, supply, production and so on. We've two main locations, our head office in Moscow and, more recently, we also have a branch in Lithuania that concentrates on international production and sales.
For many years now RIOLIS has worked with the best European brands for materials, so we can offer our customers the best possible quality of fabric and threads. The product range has also grown vastly, and every year the company adds more than 100 new designs.
The company has grown into a well-known brand in Russia but what do you think makes it popular in Europe too?
The same principles apply everywhere; we really do care about which materials we use and try to produce only the best designs every year. We love the products that we make. One of the advantages that our company has is that we have a flawless customer service. This high quality of customer service together with our one-of-a-kind designs and superiority of our kits makes us valued in countries all over the world.
Of course, there are some designs that are more popular in the UK and in other countries like Australia, but we're fortunate to be able to produce many designs to cater for all tastes.
How would you describe the RIOLIS product range?
RIOLIS has three distinct brands. First is RIOLIS Premium – this includes exclusive luxury designs that are complemented by beautiful gift packaging. We also have a range of kits for children and beginners that are produced under the trademark Happy Bee. These needlework kits are bright, funny and easier to stitch so are the best choice for young and novice stitchers.
In the Create it Yourself range, you'll find a variety of pictures, embroidered cards, religious motives, cushions and things for the home. We've pictures based on famous artist's paintings, urban scenery, village landscapes, sunflower fields, still life with cherries and Chinese pagodas – in other words, pictures for every taste and level of skill.
Have you any exciting new products to share with us?
RIOLIS' main field is cross-stitch, but we're always trying to explore new trends and techniques. This year, we have three new bright and sunny long stitch designs in our catalogue. We love our small decorative kits with plastic canvas, so the company is expanding this product line in the future.
Like the rest of the world, here at RIOLIS we adore the adult colouring book craze. We couldn't help ourselves and this summer will hopefully introduce a new line called Embroidery Therapy. Each kit contains a glossary of new and exciting stitches, colourful threads, a canvas with a pre-printed sketch and a chart that will help you to create some beautiful work.
What's inside a RIOLIS kit?
Each RIOLIS kit contains a colourful scene, fabric and threads, instructions in six languages and a needle. The kit contains everything except the hoop to begin working on your kit immediately.
For many years, we've been working with Zweigart who produce the best quality fabric for us. We use two types of thread – Anchor stranded cotton and a wool/acrylic Safil thread. All of the threads are wound on a numbered organiser so they're very easy to use. Additionally, we sometimes use beads, metallic threads, felt, ribbons and lace – everything to make the finished result even more beautiful and original.
What are your best selling products?
Each country has its own best-selling kits, there are a couple that stand out all over the world. The White Owl (design 1241) has decorated the pages of many catalogues. Two beautiful ladies from the Premium series, Velvet Evening and Lilac Evening have captivated the hearts of romantics everywhere. We also have a series of world capitals – London, Paris and New Year, which have featured at every exhibition we have participated in.
Where can retailers see your range of cross-stitch designs?
Our UK distributor is SoloCrafts who we've worked with since we launched in the UK in 2010. The Solocrafts team are happy to assist with any enquires and have adopted the RIOLIS ethic of excellent customer service providing this to all UK customers on our behalf.
RIOLIS is distributed in the UK by Solocrafts
T: +44 (0)161 464 7313
Date Posted: 14 April 2016
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