Nowadays, few people can be surprised by the presence of their own business: someone has their own beauty salon, someone opens a clothing store, and someone opens a design studio where the main character is a raccoon.
The head of such a design studio in Borisov, Andrei, told how the idea arose to open his own business, what role the raccoon played in this, and whether it is possible to make money on it.
What is necessary in order to start a business?
– Perhaps, you need a couple of thousand dollars in your pocket, a strong family and good friends. Of course, without an idea also nowhere. In 2016, when they opened, we had only a camera, printer and raccoon.
My business is most likely a cry of the soul. 5 years ago, after graduating from university, I realized that in my city it is almost impossible for a young specialist to get a profession. Dozens of resumes were sent, dozens of companies were bypassed.
Everyone wanted to get a specialist with work experience. And where is it, this work experience, to recruit? I somehow did not want to go to Minsk every day for experience.
During this time, I worked as a logistician, as well as a specialist in working with computers, and as a supplier, until I finally realized that I did not want to work for the owner, and only 150 of the promised 300 dollars were paid.
Once at a family council, we decided to invest the remaining couple of thousand dollars from the sale of an apartment and buying a house in our own business.
They chose this direction because they already had experience, since from time to time I helped my mother in video and photography, and for a long time she was an individual entrepreneur in this area.
Accordingly, the family had the necessary equipment: a camera, a video camera, a printer. We bought a cash register, furniture, we ourselves made the design of our signs, gave them to print and opened.
One of the mistakes that begin their business is that everyone wants to buy everything new and the best, and then, if something doesn’t work, they are forced to sell it at half price, and when you buy used equipment, you can always conditions and profit growth to upgrade and buy something new.
For example, I bought my first laser black-and-white printer for $ 15; it was with minor problems. “Brought to mind,” he works to this day.
In the pavilion, everything was redone for themselves. Family and friends who came every evening helped a lot – who washed the walls, who windows, who assembled furniture, who put forward their ideas.
Everyone wanted me to succeed, and for this I am very grateful to them. They are now happy to help me.
How did three years go by? What difficulties were there?
– Three years ago there were no arches from balls, no champagne. Just once opened the door of the pavilion and that's it.
I thought that in 3-6 months I would already have a profit, but it wasn’t there! Children came in crowds to look at the raccoon, but profit did not come. In order to earn money, first a large sum had to be earned and distributed: rent to the landlord, rent to the market for land, tax, Social Security Fund, payment for cash desk, terminal.
Sometimes it happened that mother or brother paid for something from their salary, if there was not enough money for everything. It turns out interesting: if, for example, you do not work anywhere other than your individual entrepreneur, then you need to pay 120 rubles a month in the Federal Employment Service, and if you work at least part-time, they calculate 1% of the salary.
In general, after a year of work, I had accumulated such a debt in the FSZN that my hands dropped. I wanted to close. But here I was fortunate enough – I found work as a programmer at 0.25 rates in one of the schools in the city, and then after three days in the guard.
Consequently, the Federal Security Service is already being calculated from those works, however, like debt. My brother and I took a loan and we bought a pavilion, and I already paid not for the rent to the owner, but a loan for my pavilion.
But how did the raccoon appear?
– I dreamed about 4 years to get a raccoon. After reading the mountain of literature, I realized that this animal will live with me. But my mother stubbornly dissuaded me from this venture, since she came across more articles about the minuses of the content of this animal.
Once, having arrived at the raccoon breeder, hoping to get more arguments that getting a raccoon is a stupid idea, and when she saw a small animal, her mother just fell in love with him and couldn’t let her out of her hands.
In general, a surprise was waiting for me in the evening – a fluffy baby with bead eyes, who looked at me out of the box in fright.
About work, clients and profits
– For 3 years of work in one place you already know some people by name, many thank you for your work, grannies treat them with their pastries, fruits from the garden. During this time, the range of services has expanded, bought new equipment.
If from the beginning I only knew how to photograph and shoot video, today I can offer outdoor advertising, banners, and advertising on cars, stands for institutions, badges and medals for schools, helium balloons, as well as original gift ideas. And our chocoboxes for the holidays are ordered from different cities of Belarus.
With our raccoon Duggy, we go to the kids' birthdays, talk about him, play games and give away prizes. And not so long ago, a raccoon began to teach children the "ABCs of Safety", which includes a series of programs on the rules of behavior on the road, in water, at home when there are no adults.
Raccoon always comes with gifts – flickers, souvenir magnets, memos with numbers of security services.
Of course, after 3 years of work, there was profit and the hope that all this was not in vain. Words of gratitude and positive reviews are very inspiring.
Is the raccoon constantly with you in the pavilion?
– We bring raccoon to the pavilion only on Saturday and Sunday. When he stays at home, we close it either in a separate room, or he is under the supervision of our dog, Shepherd Shepherd.
She is very smart and enjoys playing with him and even educates him: if a raccoon climbs on the kitchen tables, she neatly, like her puppy, pulls him from the collar from there or starts whining so that we pay attention and take action.
Is it difficult to keep a raccoon?
– Of course, this is not a cat or a dog for you. The raccoon does not understand the word "impossible" or "no." If he climbed onto the table, it is difficult to convince him not to do this.
Raccoons in general are difficult to raise, it can only be outwitted. If he grabbed the thing you need – a lighter, a pack of chewing gum, lipstick, then you can pick it up only by cunning – give him in return a piece of biscuit, candy or some other toy.
Keeping a raccoon is a science. You can’t buy just a random animal by announcement, as it can be a wild raccoon and instead of joy and admiration you will get only disappointment. We bought for $ 450.
We love our raccoon very much. Despite his pranks, some misconduct is forgiven him. In order to avoid new troubles, at home we try to clean everything in its place, close lockers, remove dishes from the table, put flowers in a place inaccessible to him.
As Exupery said: “We are responsible for those we have tamed,” therefore we carefully monitor his health, his nutrition and treat him as another family member.
Photo: from the personal archive of the hero