Our very own, Olga Bondar, spoke to the Masters of International Business Management students on Friday, October 27th about her captivating cava exporting business. With a simplistic explanation of its start, she slowly and methodically introduced students into her world of business. Only starting her cava exportation business, 2 years ago, she has managed to overcome several hurdles placed in her way to exporting to the Ukraine from Spain.
Despite having a master’s degree in a static field, Olga thought it best to increase her knowledge surrounding the business she was creating. She became certified as a sommelier, in order to better articulate and empathize with not only the buyers of her cava but more importantly, with the growers of the grapes. Understanding the family touch to each bottle produced from the vineyards, she was able to grow a trusting bond with them in order to promote their product outside of Spain.
"To start a business, you are every position."
When asked how many employees her company currently has, the response was a point to herself.
Being the owner and operator of such a growing business has its challenges. Nevertheless, having only been in business for two years, Bondar wouldn’t change a thing. Except now, she jokes about needing a driver to make the large deliveries. Trusting outside companies to pick up and deliver to shipping sites is a stressful arrangement for Bondar, who says, she also realizes the importance of honest teamwork.
From the start of her business, Bondar welcomed the challenges as they came along, because as she states, "The signs were all there". When it came to deciding on what business venture to partake in, she knew exporting cava to her home country of Ukraine, was the right move.
While creating the business plan was a fairly easy going process, understanding and meeting the exporting expectations and regulations was a task that required more intention. The process for the license took about 6 months to obtain. Finding a company name not already in the registry also took some time to establish. Determining the type of company Bondar wanted to have for tax and stamp purposes, proved to be an interesting feet, as well. Nevertheless, she persisted and received the necessary paperwork to put her business in motion.
The next set of challenges was presented by the people of Ukraine. Not many had knowledge or experience with cava. Bondar had to give educational talks and cava tastings to potential clients, in order to expand the importance and uniqueness of cava. The niche market had been created. Understanding that cava is neither white wine nor champagne, allowed for Bondar’s exporting business to flourish. Now, businesses are aware of the subtleties surrounding cava drinking as well as food pairings.
Building Trust and Interest
At Oysters Cava Bar in Kiev, a partnering restaurant with Bondar’s exporting business, are select events supporting the variety and import of limited edition cava. Complete with food pairings and menu options that enhance the cava drinking experience, Bondar feels that these offerings allow the people of Kiev to become more interested in the drinking culture of Spain.
As the sole person representing her company, Bondar prides herself on connecting with the owners and operators of the vineyards that she works with. Becoming almost part of the family is important for both parties. To accept the mentality, specifics and the details surrounding working with individuals from other countries, is a very important step in business, says Bondar.
Olga Bondar currently ships to only the Ukraine, but aspires to add other countries to her exporting list in the near future. Having 7 wineries currently associated with her company and exporting over 35 different types of cava, is a success story in itself. This year, she exported over 30000 bottles to 3 restaurants and looks to add more restaurants to her list of businesses.
With a sincere focus on growing her business, Bondar is adamant about keeping her finger on the pulse of her businesses progress and maintaining a place in the hearts of her family wineries. By not focusing on quantity, but rather quality, and delivering every bottle to those most appreciative with care and pride, she is looking forward to a productive future.