Living water. The history of family business of Maliatko Brand founders

Living water. The history of family business of Maliatko Brand founders
Anastasia Ringis
Investgazeta Newspaper No.23, 18.06.2013
Year of foundation of the Company: 2008 (previously TM “Maliatko” was a member of Aqua-Eco Company).
Scope of activity: production and distribution of mineral water and baby food.
Proprietors: Iryna Varagash (wife) – the President of the Econia Company and Olexii Denysenko (husband) - Technical Director of the Company.
Family connections: man and wife, two sons – 15 and 13 years old.
Annual turnover: 120 million UAH
Personnel total: 211 persons
Iryna Varagash got an idea of producing special baby water when she had to use artificial feeding for her elder son Olexii. “On the Humana cereal box I read a recommendation, that mixture shall be diluted with specially prepared water”, - says Iryna. In the early 2000s there had been no Ukrainian manufacturer which produced such water. But a husband of Mrs. Varagash, Olexii Denysenko, who established the Aqua-Eco Company in 1996 and had been producing water under the Truskavetska Brand, had got impressive business experience of the plant establishment. Iryna didn’t have to persuade her husband to support her business idea. While she had been working in the commercial department of the Aqua-Eco Company, she managed to increase Truskavetska volume of sales in several times.
In order to implement plans on special baby water release a new plant was established in Truskavets in 2001. By that time the couple's eldest son had been three years old. While Iryna Varagash was preparing for the establishment of new plant lines, she gave birth to a second son - Pavlik. According to her words, the baby was nursed by all the plant and called – “our maliatko”. “When we needed to decide on the name for baby water, we realized that we had already got it”, - says Mrs. Varagash. Pavlik naturally became a face of the Maliatko Brand. “This means a kind of peculiar quality guarantee”, - says Iryna Varagash.
Until 2007 the President of the Company was Olexii Denysenko. He was responsible for strategic, financial and production management, and Irina was traditionally focused on sales and marketing. The manufacture of baby water was moving on. In 2007 the Company decided to establish a plant in Cherkasy Oblast, in Zolotonosha City. “There you can find environmentally friendly water resources and good raw materials base”, explain workers of the Company. In 2008 a new company “Econia” was established, Iryna Varagash became the head of the company. Olexii Denysenko remembers: “We argued a lot: concerning management structure, monitoring construction, reporting system, competency of managers, etc. At some point we reached a limit, beyond which it could be neither a family, nor joint business”. Family couple had to strictly differentiate the area of influence and allocate their roles. Now it helps them to avoid many conflicts at work.
“As before, our approaches are different, but the progress is, that we both understand the subjectivity of own assessments”, - explains Olexii Denysenko. Iryna Varagash confesses that they often discuss manufacturing issues within the family circle. “Our kids know everything that takes place in the Company, they have an impressive vocabulary of business terms”, - she says. The children - Olexii and Pavlik - inspired parents not only for creation of Maliatko TM, but also for expansion of the trading line. One day eight-year-old Olexii noticed, that he had been already grown-up to drink Maliatko water. Thereby the product line of the Econia Company has got one more product - Teen Team teenage water (in the production portfolio of the companies “Akvulia”, “Chystyi Kliuch” (Clear Key) and “Chaikava” (Tee-Coffee). In volumes of sales the Econia Company enters to the top 10 of the largest manufacturers in Ukraine. Elder son takes an active part in parents’ business. Once, remembers Irina Varagash, he asked me: “Mom, how old shall I be for you to let me govern the plant?” Then the parents invented how to involve their children in the family business.
Every summer for three years already we send brothers to practice in the Company's Plant in Zolotonosha City for a few weeks. “They have been working as production line operators - calmly comments Mrs. Varagash. - For us it is important that our sons understand what work means, how to make money and what a valuable product is released by our Plant”. Olexii Denysenko-Jr. is actively interested in the work of other Company’s departments. For example, he has already worked with forwarders and merchandisers. According to the parents’ plan, every year children shall be trained in different spheres of the Company. Meanwhile, remote video monitoring allows watching what occurs in the Plant from the capital office. When Olexii Denysenko can’t see his sons in the workshop, he phones the Head of the Production Department and forbids him to show excessive loyalty to successors.

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