26-year-old Evelina Nokaitė from Kaunas has been engaged in her own business for two years – she creates unique fabric cases for books.
She told “Temporary Capital” how it all started, what feelings she felt when the first buyer appeared, and openly shared what she expects from the future.
Books have accompanied me throughout my life
Evelina remembers with a smile that books accompanied her since she was a little girl.
“Since childhood, I read a lot of books. The librarians at school already knew me, they were my friends, they always recommended me books. I still read a lot. The love of books remained. I value them very much, I protect them very much”, – to the portal lrytas.lt Evelina opened.
Accompanied by an endless thirst for literature, the girl enrolled in Lithuanian philology studies after school.
“During my studies I had to read a lot, I often borrowed books from the library. Those books got dirty in the backpack, often a drink of water ran out. The corners were also folded… I was very sorry and it was not fun to carry such books back to the library,” Evelina recalled.
The whole family was provided with cases
This is how the first beginnings of the business were born. The girl from Kaunia began to think about how to make the books safer in her backpack. After browsing the internet, my eye fell on fabric cases – these are made for books by foreign entrepreneurs. There was nothing similar in Lithuania.
“I knew that there were such cases abroad, so I thought of creating one myself. I really did not think that I would create a business and sell to others,” she said.
The first quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic has just begun. At that time, Evelina, like other citizens, spent a long time at home, there was a great lack of activity. So the idea of fulfilling her ideas came up – the girl decided to finally buy a sewing machine.
“I found a video on the Internet on how to sew a book case and tried it. Three years have passed since then. The first year I just sewed for myself, family members, acquaintances, friends – I didn’t think about business. I started selling seriously two years ago,” said the interviewer.
The first buyer is an American
After sewing enough cases for family and friends, Evelina decided to try to sell some.
“I wanted to see if they would buy or not, so I created a profile on a platform where you can sell all kinds of handmade goods around the world.” At that time I had three cases, I uploaded their photos.
I remember that my very first customer was from America. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it, I remember writing to that person, asking if he really bought it,” laughed Evelina.
That’s how it all started. Evelina realized that there is a trade of hope to engage more seriously, so it was necessary to make some responsible decisions.
“I thought for a long time about what size to make those cases, because there are all kinds of books. I remember measuring the books on my bookshelf. That’s how I created three sizes: to fit both small books and e-readers, and medium and thicker books,” said the interviewer.
The first cases were simple.
“I didn’t use interesting fabrics, there were no zippers. And now the quality of the fabrics is better, I recently discovered a waterproof fabric and added a zipper. I perfect every detail, I try very hard to carefully select all the tools that are needed.
In the beginning, I chose what was beautiful to me and what other people seemed to like. But I didn’t find any interesting fabrics in Lithuania, because they are all for clothes. There were no fabrics suitable for the cases, so I searched overseas electronic stores. I found all kinds of fabrics there – and very cute ones,” the interviewer testified.
The first in Lithuania
Later, the activity continued in Lithuania. The Kaunian woman created her own online store, called it “Mythical Pages” – she wanted the person who read the name to understand that it is about books. This is how the word “pages” (lit. “pages”) appeared. And “mythical” came about because Evelina really likes books about mythology.
“Of course, there were moments when I thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Starting the business was really difficult because I had to invest everything I earned into new tools. The work seemed futile. But I really enjoyed sewing those cases, the work itself is very fun.
I figured if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but at least I’ll have tried. But those difficulties were different – and now I often ask family members or friends to help me cut the fabrics. It’s hard for one, but it’s good to get help,” the girl smiled.
The main purpose of the cases designed by Evelina is to protect books. But, adds the businesswoman, you can put whatever you want in the cases – tablets, phones, laptops. Although there is no shortage of sellers of such goods abroad, Evelina says that she has never seen anything like this in her homeland.
“This is an unexplored market. People who bought the case write to me that they are glad that I am in Lithuania, that they have been looking for such a case for a long time. Often, such nice words from customers encourage us to continue working. When a product is unique, it is easier to get people interested because there is no competition.
But on the other hand, when you are a small business and the product is not well known, it is very difficult to grow an audience. I spend a large part of my profits on advertising because I want to show people that we exist at all,” she claimed.
Brightly colored cases are currently the most popular among book lovers who have discovered the store.
“Fashion depends a lot on the season. At Christmas, they bought cases of Christmas fabrics, now, in the spring, everyone is writing that they want colors, asking when we will have them. Quite often cases are also bought for children, who want more interesting patterns. But I think cases are universal. A fabric with a cat can be liked by both a child and an adult,” the girl smiled.
Will wait for dreams to come true
Currently, Evelina works in a library. Work has to be combined with own business, but the girl is not afraid to dream – she wants the business to become her main activity someday.
“Now the main goal is to earn enough to make it my main job. Now that I’m working another job, it’s hard to keep up. I want to save more so that I can invest more – maybe even in another employee to help me.
I would also like to have my own work space, some kind of studio, because now I work from home. And a physical store would be very good, because not everyone wants and knows how to buy online. I have ideas to sell clothes with writings or pictures related to the books in the future. I still really have ideas on where to expand”, said the interviewer.