Ulia Kordiukova always knew she wanted to be a designer. She grew up fascinated by the creativity behind every piece of clothing. Born in Rubizhne, Ukraine, a town of only 60,000 residents, she always had hopes of a “different, better life.” Ulia’s interest in designing began at a young age. Her mother worked at a textile factory, making stitches on socks and stockings, which inspired Ulia to begin sewing and creating clothes for her dolls at the ripe age of seven.
“I wanted lots of clothes for myself, but my family couldn’t afford it. I’d dig through my grandparents’ attic and repurpose their old clothes into something newer and fresher. That’s where my entrepreneurial spirit, and my desire to be a designer were first born.”
Ulia in Ukraine with some of her first clothing pieces.
After graduating with high honors from Kiev National Linguistic University, she began her very own fashion brand, UliUlia. As Ulia’s passion for designing continued to grow so did her realization of the importance of sustainability. Ulia believes making simple choices can have a huge impact in the long run, “use a metal fork, use a ceramic plate, bring your own bag when you shop or donate things.” She came up with the idea that clothes destined to be thrown away could be used in an “upcycling process”: material not in use can be repurposed into something entirely new. She started asking her family and friends for donations and transforming the donated items into something modern and unique. “Depending on the material, one could create minimalistic or loud pieces. It doesn’t matter what age, gender…it’s rather, do you like sustainability or not?”
Shortly after living in Ukraine, Ulia made the bold move to pack her bags and venture overseas. Through a friend connection in Chicago, she landed a UI/UX design internship at Comrade Web Agency, where she could work in several design programs. She yearned to develop her design skills further, so she enrolled in Web Academy’s rigorous “bootcamp”. Throughout 2016, she quickly learned how to design and develop using Sketch and InVision, which are design tools frequently practiced by Saggezza’s UI UX team today.
Ulia discusses “Upcycling” at a recent Saggezza Lunch and Learn.
Since joining Saggezza in January 2019, she has already acquired vast experience within the design field and met incredibly talented individuals along the way. “I was looking to design, but in a completely different way. I wanted to grow both personally and professionally and Saggezza has provided me the freedom to do that.” Currently, she has been focusing on completing different design-related tasks to improve the customer experience for one of Saggezza’s Fortune 500 clients. “This happens on a daily basis and is always changing; no day is ever the same”, she adds.
Her advice to anybody interested in launching their own business is that “life is worth doing what you really like and what you enjoy, no matter what. I’ve always had a tendency to underestimate what I do; I think a lot of people struggle with it. Take care of yourself, and tell yourself it’s ok to take a rest sometimes.”
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