The Baltic Course  

Estonians looking for their own trademarks

Alexander Vene

The Estonian textile and sewing industry has a growing trend of gradual transition from sub-contracting to searching for it's own trademarks and an increasing output of finished articles

A gradual decrease of sub-contracting in the Estonian industry is connected with objective reasons: the industrial costs here are gradually approaching the average European level. Besides, if salaries in Estonia and Finland in the current growth rate will be equal only in some 20 years, then the costs for water, power and heating are becoming closer much faster.

Currently, the share of subcontracted Estonian textile enterprises is 50%; nevertheless, it is expected to decrease to 20% by 2005. Sewing companies have been involved in this process for several years – the share of sub-contracting enterprises in 1998 was 72%, currently – around 60%. Europeans, primarily Scandinavians, gradually start to look for subcontractors more to the south – in Lithuania or Romania. 

In order to replace the outgoing subordination completely, Estonian enterprises are actively looking for and developing new trademarks, which actively enter not only Estonia, but also Central Europe or Scandinavia. Along with this, the largest enterprises open brand shops, for example, Baltika has accented penetration of the Polish market lately, while Klementi is doing Scandinavia.

Generally, the conventionally strong Estonian light industry has managed to overcome all moments of change in the country’s history successfully – the textile and sewing industry has decently survived general privatisation, the economic crisis of 1998, and currently intends to get rid of subordination with no serious loss.