CEO INTERTOP Ukraine,
Alumnus of 4th enrollment of the School for Strategy Architects
Everything started 25 years ago. The Soviet Union collapsed. There were almost no foreign-made shoes on the market. I sold electronics at that time and our main founders suggested starting shoe business. That was such a terra incognita and a considerable challenge for me. But I agreed. We bought three or four shoe brands, opened the first store and named it Intertop.
Unfortunately, we have not grown always. There have been several stages of transformation. At first, it was a small shoe store. In 1998, when there was a crisis in the country, we started to enter the regions’ markets. In 2006, we discovered new countries – Kazakhstan, then Russia. In 2014, we closed business in Russia.
You cannot change the system when you are always inside it. You must go beyond this system. When I applied to the programme at the School for Strategy Architects, I was convinced that we would be able to consider our system from another angle, we would be able to change it after completing training. I and the company had a corresponding request.
At the beginning of training, it was very difficult for me to perceive decision-making of civil servants or cultural figures, for example. Their process is completely inconsistent with business decision-making. The first three or four weeks really threw me off balance, because I didn't understand how to think not as a business person. However, that enriched me much. Later, I thanked sincerely the programme managers for such a composition of the group. I met completely unsurpassed people. I became more open-minded. I realised that different people might have different roles. I got insight into other systems.
Now Intertop is undergoing new transformation. We have clearly defined our client groups and try to be a little ahead of the market. We used to be a shoe sales company, we had all the world’s top brands represented. Now we transform into a technology company. The development of our business has reached a new level, we have begun to develop more consciously.
We work on two very important things: technology and customer experience. We introduce a new IT system, change mobile app, we have already added to our website an automatic stylist with artificial intelligence which creates total looks with jewelry, clothing and shoes.
Intertop is an open system. We understand that we cannot create all the world's innovations, we cannot be the best at everything. But other partners can easily join us with their own innovations. For example, the automatic stylist was designed by an external startup. It’s advantageous to customers and suppliers as we provide unique service.
And now we work much with new partners. We design Tokyo Olympics uniform jointly with the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. We and the Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine opened an eco path in the Holosiivsky Park. We support the cultural projects of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, OpenOpera project.
I know that we will have a bright future. I am sure that Ukraine will develop and we will be a very successful country because we have great potential and great people. I am sure that our company will be a leader.
Ex-Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine
Director of the Ukrainian
World Congress Mission (UWC) to Ukraine