‘Heroes of Everyday’ is a monthly column featuring regular people doing not-so-regular things. Written by Irina Pavlova, the column will explore the lives of men and women who boldly step outside their comfort zone, finding new passions and talents, learning as they go, and trying to make the most of everyday.
This month we have featured Julia Zarembo, Olga Polyakova, Anastasia Dubina – Founders of 375-Marketing.
Soft spoken with her deep blue eyes and a soothing smile, Julia is about to reveal her story of 375-Marketing, a new start-up conceived by three female partners in Minsk, Belarus. Yes, this is the same Belarus that is often branded as “the last dictatorship of Europe” by the western media. But I am about to discover a very different side of this post-Soviet society – its innovative capacity. Julia Zarembo, Anastasia Dudina, and Olga Polyakova belong to the generation of pioneers, but not in a Soviet sense (pioneers were the youngest members of the Communist Party). They are the pioneers of innovation and the emerging transformation in the Belarusian business environment.
The idea behind 375-Marketing came to light during an international exhibition where Olga, an experienced web developer, recognized the need for the localization of websites by foreign businesses operating in Belarus. The need to translate foreign companies’ messages into the local lingo required a team of devoted professionals, who could tackle this task from different angles. Together with a good friend Anastasia, a PR and communications professional with 11 years of experience, and Julia, a marketing expert specializing in small and medium size enterprises, the idea turned into reality. One and a half months later, in the midst of the global economic crisis 375-Marketing was born. It is young, boisterous, and very promising. What makes it so? Mainly the collective experiences of its founders.
Julia’s professional story dates back to 7 years of senior marketing roles within large companies and the start of her own business thanks to Marina Romashko, a long-term university friend. This friendship story is an example of symbiosis that gave a breath of fresh air to BE AN iDEA LEADER, while also initiating a successful launch of Julia’s own Z-Consultant. Julia’s first Belarusian client appeared as a result of positive feedback from her American clients found through Marina’s network. Hard work and passion eventually paid off, even across the borders.
The initiator of the joint business idea Olga became the link between Julia and Anastasia, a journalist, a copywriter, and the owner of her own marketing firm. Anastasia’s contribution to 375-Marketing is in producing texts that help clients solve various business issues. She is convinced that the-newly launched collaboration is an equivalent of ten minds working together since each female contributes her unique professional expertise. Even though I spoke with this creative “troika” separately, all of them described passion for work as the key driving factor in their daily lives. “We really love our jobs and our country, and through our new business project we wanted to show that it is possible to work according to the world’s standards in Belarus,”- explains Julia. They work when you sleep. The website of 375-Marketing promises “10 extra days off every year.” And they really mean it!
The new start-up is a manifestation of a long-expected transformation taking place in the post-Soviet state, where only 20 years ago central economic plans did not provide room for clients or passion. Surprisingly, the girls’ biggest current obstacle is not the state’s resistance to private enterprise or even the financially feeble environment. It is the existing public doubt about the ability of females to be successful entrepreneurs. Can these girls deliver? “That is the question that often arises in peoples’ minds, even though they rarely verbalized it,”- explains Julia. Bu they do not seem to mind it. Dedication and passion for their daily work has overpowered the public’s doubt and the worrisome financial future. Seen by some as unwise for starting a new business venture during the deepest economic recession, they overcome it on a daily basis with their innovative approach to business and a deep belief in what they do – for themselves and for the country. Olga, Julia, and Anastasia are the true pioneers of change whose example will shape the next generation of small business owners. “From dictatorship to entrepreneurship” might become the media’s new framing of Belarus in less than twenty years, where 375 Marketing will be cited as the trigger point of innovation. And until then, it is the combined energy of the three talents that is bound to produce business solutions to domestic and foreign clients, delivered with a great degree of professionalism and passion.