Interview with Kristi Täht, CEO
Q: Kristi, you’ve been an active entrepreneur for over 20 years. You have supplied both, Finnish and Estonian newborn baby packages with your products, you’ve owned Hipo and Marat brands, as well as your current business- Qualitex, and quite a few other companies. You are a completely self-made entrepreneur. What were the challenges when building your business throughout those years?
A: Business is hard and risky, no doubt about that! And you never know which direction things will go. Yes, I have done all these things but you never know until they are actually completed! Like newborn baby packages to Finland …It’s a tender project you never know if you get the project or not. If they pick you and you sign the contract, then you know its yours but you can never count on these things.
Business is challenging but the most important thing is when things change and something happens, you need to be fast enough to adjust and keep going. You always have to have goals, but goals without action are just goals. Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take the risks! NOTHING!
Q: Manufacturing and production are getting more and more digitalized. On the Estonian market, what do you think is the future for the labour in that industry?
A: Our production is very hard work, and its not so easy to digitalize it. Maybe some parts of it but not now.. and people are our greatest asset. We cannot replace them.
Q: Just a few years ago, you’ve decided to leave Estonia and chose U.S. as your next destination for life and business. What has been your biggest achievement on that extremely competitive market so far? What has been the most challenging?
A: My biggest achievements have been the get the clients who I thought I never get. But I still have a long way to go as I am not even 10% where I want to be.Actually, understanding the I need to let the idea of ‘American dream’ go and accept emotionally that nobody is waiting for me here and if I want to succeed, it only comes through hard word and consistency.
Q: Could you tell us in a few words about the casual sportswear line that you are planning to launch soon? What market is it mainly targeted for?
A: The new sportswear line will be made of 100% certified organic bamboo. It will feel and drape like silk, yet ultra practical. The feel will be ultra soft and comfortable. The fabric will be naturally 100% anti-microbial and will contain inherent UV protection. It will be also suitable for those who are allergen sensitive. It will be perfect to wear in the mornings, day and nighttime. It will be also ecologically sustainable. The quality is high as everything is produced in Nordic Europe. The line will be suitable for women 18-44 yrs. (80 million in US), Millennials, Y-Gens. Premium Price Oriented, aimed at the annual income: $35k – $100k
Active Market: $44B in US +16% YOY Growth
Q: Has AmCham network been helpful to Qualitex and if so, how has your membership benefited your company?
A: Yes, it definitely has. The main benefits that we find for us are:
· Ability to share knowledge
· Guide others through the challenging world of business
· Gaining connections through AmCham