Ultugan Kyzaibekova

The tailor from Kazakhstan

Entrepreneur Ultugan Kyzaibekova owns a tailor‘s business where she and her 35 employees make clothes and uniforms for the police, government employees and prosecutors, among others.

Ultugan’s journey to becoming a successful tailor began in the early 1990s, when she initially bought food and clothes to sell on in her small village. When she moved to Almaty with her family, she expanded her business and sold everything that was in demand – food, cosmetics, toys, etc.

During this time, she got to know the microfinance institution KMF Microfinance Organisation LLC, which has been in existence for over 20 years, and bought clothes for sale with the help of small loans of 50-150 thousand KZT (Kazakh tenge) (approx. 110-328 USD). After some time, she already had several stalls at the Almaty flea market and a thriving business in which her husband and son were also involved.

I’d rather turn down an order than complete it badly. It’s a great feeling when customers come back with new orders or recommend us to their friends

Ultugan Kyzaibekova

But Ultugan had a greater vision: She began attending sewing courses, took on orders for tailored clothes and gained regular customers over time. When production began to grow, she opened a sewing workshop. She took out another loan to buy sewing machines and other equipment. The location of the workshop near an important bus stop aided her in her success: travellers would come to the capital to shop and became interested in high-quality alternatives to Chinese clothing. The main assortment of the tailor shop was eventually determined by demand: Ultugan receives orders from government agencies for the production of work clothes and uniforms with state symbols and badges.

After a few years, Ultugan founded a company intended to participate as a subcontractor in large tenders for sewing uniforms for government agencies. By taking out more loans, she was able to constantly improve her equipment and therefore her product range. Her next goal is to buy a plot of land and build a large sewing factory in Almaty. She also wants to apply for funding from KMF for this project.