Hardship led Kristine to leave her home in Latvia with her family six years ago. Today, she lives with her husband and two children in Nuremberg, Germany and is proud to provide a better life for them through her small business.

Inspiration everywhere 

“I didn’t see a future for myself in Latvia,” Kristine shares. She was especially concerned for her kids. She wanted to provide new possibilities for them, hoping they wouldn’t face the same challenges she had.

A woman sitting on a bench with a book in her hands
While pregnant with her second child, Kristine realised what she really wanted: her own fashion business.
Photo: IRC/Lena Mucha

Kristine had already been working in Germany for several years, but starting her own company was a totally new challenge. “In the beginning I thought, ‘I can’t do this, I am not going to make it.’” 

She found the courage to make her dream come true after the birth of her son.

Someone holding a mobile phone in front of a computer screen
“It's important for me that if I am wearing something simple, one piece brings in something special.” So Kristine chose to start her business with one special accessory: socks. 
Photo: IRC/Lena Mucha

Today, Kristine continues to be inspired by her family and her biggest passion: fashion. Kristine's socks come in different colours and all have bows or beads, making them true eye-catchers. “I love the process of designing them, as much as I love selling them,” she says. While riding through the city on her bike collecting inspiration, her unique socks are hard to miss.

“This is just the beginning”

“I am just starting out,” Kristine says. She has been working on creating content for her new website and social presence. “The beginning was tough. It was quite a lot of reading, writing, and calling with the city officials to get everything set up.” But through the International Rescue Committee’s business training programme, funded by the Citi Foundation, she has been able to navigate the paperwork and connect with the right people.

The three-month programme guided her through the process of creating her own business plan and gave her the tools to be successful as a business owner. Kristine also benefited from mentoring, which built her confidence and gave her guidance in the bureaucratic processes around setting up her small business.

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Guests at the 2018 Summer Party
Photo: Getty Images for IRC

“I have already achieved a lot. And this is just the beginning.”

Dreaming big

For the future, Kristine is hoping to extend her business beyond socks. “I am doing it, but I am doing it slowly.” 

A woman, Kristine, shows her phone screen to another person
Kristine is proud of herself, and her new achievements have given her the motivation to dream even bigger.
Photo: IRC/Lena Mucha

The family is hoping to buy a house with a garden and space to play outside, so she can throw parties for her children. 

Most importantly, she wants to make sure her children get a good education and that she can continue to provide for them. “This is our big dream here in Germany,” she says with a smile.

Find out more

The IRC’s Resilient Futures programme, in partnership with Citi through the Citi Foundation, offers young entrepreneurs living in Germany, Greece, Cameroon, Nigeria, Lebanon, Jordan and Mexico the chance to kick-start their businesses and reach their full potential. The programme is implemented in Germany by AAU.