Please see the interview with Nina Kochiashvili – CEO at “Kardanakhi Estate”
First of all, please tell us about your success story, what stages you went through, what difficulties you faced and what stage you are at now?
History is long; It all started in 2002, when I returned to Georgia from USA, it was dark and cold. At that time, my family was already producing low-voltage devices in Georgia and selling them in the local market. By 2004, the raw materials left over from the time of the Soviet Union ran out and the production process became very complicated, we began to think how to save our business. That’s when my first challenge began: dealing with Turkish entrepreneurs, in the business field where there were only brave men. China was added to Turkey, then European countries, USA. Until now, the GTS Electronics company occupies a leading position in its field in Georgia.
In 2014, our friends founded the “Georgian Women’s Business Association” whose primary idea was that women can very easily be involved in business processes and produce their products; Take it to local or global markets and find success. What was followed by a great response from various donor organizations, we liked the idea and with their help we organized a number of exhibition conferences, which were entirely devoted to the power of women, their role in the development of the economy.
In 2020, together with my husband, we bought wine cellars in Kardenakhi and started wine production, and we also open a village type resort where you can see and see how the production of Kvevri wine is going on, what life was like in the once strongest village. The idea of creating this type of cellar came when we saw that Kardenakhi, which was historically one of the strongest villages, was now empty and revived; I have a great desire to facilitate the retraining of the young people left on the ground, to strengthen their self-esteem and to help them find jobs.
What was the biggest challenge on your career path, an obstacle that seemed insurmountable at first, but you were able to overcome?
To be honest, I didn’t have such challenges, I always believed and as time goes by, this vision is getting stronger and stronger, that nothing is impossible, everything that a person wants will definitely come true. I am quite positive about all the things that I take up and start.
What is your main motivation to keep moving forward?
It was different at every stage of my life, for example when I came from America, then I thought about saving my family, I used all my mental and physical resources to save the business, which was very important for our family, and we even achieved success (18 years have passed since its establishment). Above-mentioned company takes a leading position in the field of electricity and energy nowadays as well.
When we created the women’s business association, I wanted everyone to see the strengths of women, how well they can run a business, how correct their vision is and how consistent they are, I thought that it was very important then; And Kardenakhi showed me its pains and I wanted to make my small contribution to the development of this beautiful village; The main motivating force in this activity are my children (11-year-old Anastasia and 12-year-old Elena) who work with us and strive to make our family’s business successful and the idea is understood correctly by everyone!
Tell us about your current activities. As we know, you have your own wine enterprise – “Kardanakhi Estate”, how long have you been engaged in this business and what are your plans for the near future?
The idea of creating the Kardanakhi Estate appeared in 2020, when one of the most beautiful houses in Kardenakhi was listed for sale for me and my husband. We immediately looked for all the resources that were possible during the pandemic, and with the help of kind people, we acquired them and did a historical-architectural research. It turned out that it was a house full of history, the pitchers we cleaned were made by Soloman and Ioseb Chubinidze, the newest pitcher is from 1904, it was during this period that wine production began in these cellars, and the house was built in 1884, the architecture of Ozerov, a well-known architect of that period. We removed the communist period additions to the house and restored its authenticity, while we cleaned the pitchers and renewed the wine production. At this stage, cooperative Kakheti wines, which are sold under the brand name “Kardanakhi Estate”, are exported both to America and Europe, enjoying great success in the Georgian market. At this stage, we have already restored the historical recipes of wine and port wine production and we are producing both dry and fortified wines.
In the spring, probably in March, the cellar will be opened for tastings, the vacationers will have the opportunity to see the historical cellars, enjoy the amazing views of the Caucasus and taste the wines of “Kardanakhi Estate”.
In addition to this, the most important thing is that we have negotiations with various international or local educational organizations and we want to retrain local young people, first of all in skills, which I think will help in choosing and managing the future profession or activity.
Your work is one of the very good examples of successful entrepreneurship. What is it like to be a successful female entrepreneur in Georgia and is there anything you would improve in this regard?
To be a successful entrepreneur, be it a woman or a man, I think education is important at every stage.
Finally, limiting ourselves to the traditional question, what would you advise aspiring professionals and young people who are now taking their first career steps?
I would advise them to think carefully about what they want in the future, to choose the right profession, to do what they love and not to be afraid of life challenges, since everything will bring success in the end.