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Aleš Rauš: The doctors told me that I can say goodbye to walking. Today I run a successful company and play sports

Posted on2 Years ago by

Hi Ales. You have built a successful business in a sheltered workshop and you produce special types of caps. How did you get there?

Hi, yes, I have a sheltered workshop even though I had a serious accident. I probably wouldn't call them special. They are more like a "designer". They are original, ecological and handmade. They are completely produced in Slovakia. In addition to the production of caps with a wooden peak, I also work on "chatting" clothing, which is covered with velcro. You can stick various thematic patches on them.

How did I get there? A few years ago I discovered kickstarter and various other websites with interesting ideas from all over the world. Being a lover of fashion, design and technology, I naturally followed these sections. And one evening, while watching the fashion section, it occurred to me to replace the classic visor with a wooden one.

What makes your product different?

When I decided to start it, I found nothing. However, humans are incredibly resourceful. About a year later, when I looked at what was new on the Internet, I found people and companies that started to focus on exactly this type of product. There was an awakening and sadness that someone started it. However, I had started things in such a way that I did not want to back down.

I bought some competing products, worked on their flaws, and now I can proudly say that my visors are detailed. I place the veneer fibers from top to bottom, because they stand out better, the visor is curved, that is, it is not straight like a plate, it is neither too thick nor too thin, so that it does not break in the end. I sand every product myself and also finish it. I try to match the fabric of the top, the wooden visor and the rear leather fastening as much as possible. The top of the cap holds and has a beautiful shape, so it does not make any unsightly folds.

I am the only one who specially prepared women's haircuts and designs according to the needs of female customers, I burn motifs on the visors according to the model of the interested parties or they choose my own motif. My product also has an ecological character, because some veneers and leathers are donated to me by furniture companies. We have an agreement that I make other products from it. It is definitely worth mentioning that the brand has a Slovak name, you get the cap in a stylish package.

How long has your business been operating and how long did it take for it to become more successful?

The development took me about two years. I met a well-known Slovak person who helped me a lot. They solved my daily problems such as - late delivery dates, forgetting to look at the template during development, and the like. In the end, one craftsman fell in love with the house and put my product into production at a large furniture company. However, it was also a struggle to convince them. First, we had to make a few prototypes, and only then could we talk about ordering thousands of pieces. So I've been selling for about half a year and it's getting better and better.

What did you need in the beginning? What was your initial budget?

I mainly needed a lot of patience. :) I covered the finances from other personal income. In total, I needed several thousand euros to enter the business, which were invested in development, tools, machines, raw materials, marketing, ambassadors, and the like.

How do you choose material suppliers and where are they from?

I look for them on the Internet and arrange personal meetings or on the basis of references from other companies.

Do you have any bad experiences?

I have, there are many. Well, I would rather mention the more beautiful experiences. For example, people admire me for creating something despite my handicap, for making an effort, so they simply give me some things at a bargain price, or one gentleman even made logos for me in the first series for free. I begged him very much that I urgently needed to make a few pieces for the first street market in Vienna. I left him a contact, he checked me out on the Internet, read my story. When I wanted to pay him when accepting the order, he said it was free and crossed his fingers.

What happened to you that you are in a wheelchair? How did your life change after this event?

The first summer in 2004, when Great Britain opened up the job market, I decided to improve my English during the summer holidays and possibly earn a few pounds. On the penultimate day before leaving on one job, the ladder slipped while washing the windows and I fell and broke my spine. I returned home with a special, with some earnings and a good knowledge of Polish, since the bag with them was torn that year and they were everywhere, even in private homes. :)

The first months I was only in bed and in a wheelchair, later I "suffered it out" on crutches and splints under my knees that fix my feet. Now I have been playing sled hockey for 7 years, cycling on a normal bike, walking with assistants in the mountains, doing graffiti and participating in motivational lectures in schools with parasport24.

What verdict did you get from the doctors?

Well, one told me that I can say goodbye to dating, normal discharge and an active sex life. The second doctor recommended me various positive movies, books..I simply wanted and believed in positive thinking. I thought with every attempt to move my leg and said to myself: yes, it moves and yes, I can put it higher. It took years and today I play sports. I am living proof that if you want it, you can do it. However, it is also true that each similar case is individual.

Who do you work with or what are your plans in this direction?

I don't want my product to be just a hipster piece. I work with DJ Spinhandz, he is the DJ of rapper Strapa, Tono Suchota, singer Juli, DJ Mash - working abroad and many others. I plan to collaborate with singers, active athletes, dancers, actors...

Are you planning to expand your business within Europe or?

Yes, I am already hearing from different corners of the world. So yes, we are preparing deliveries there as well.

And is it about Slovaks abroad?

For now yes. And our work is really increasing. I am very happy about it. :)