'Made in Valmiera' is made in Valmiera

In order to promote the products or services of entrepreneurs, homemakers and craftsmen of their region, several parts of Latvia have created their own trademarks, which serve as a confirmation that the place of origin of the particular product is the region in question.

Cēsis, Sigulda and coastal districts already have such initiatives and now Valmiera district has joined them with the launch of a 'Made in Valmiera' certified symbol, reported Latvian Radio.

The first batch of awardees were home producers whose products range from rye bread, to ceramics, donuts, ice cream and even chocolate, have been evaluated as high quality. Municipal business specialist Guna Ķibere pointed out that quality is also the main criterion.

To receive certification an application must be made, then the municipality evaluates it. "Basically, this trademark is a sign of quality. There are now 41 in total, and this family is getting bigger every moment," said Valmiera district business speciālist Guna Ķibere and emphasized: "It is very important for both the municipality and these entrepreneurs, because they get to know each other, and organize each other to push their products to market together. It's a win-win for everyone."

Peppers, donuts, ice cream and kids' clothes

Every entrepreneur and home producer also has their own story of how their business started.

"I could say thank you to Covid! I worked as a cook. When Covid started, nobody needed cooks – everything was closed. I sat at home, scratched my forehead and thought about what to do, I thought – I'll plant some peppers, I'll grow them," says Jurgis, whose field of activity is hot pepper cultivation and processing.

"It was all jumping into an adventure, without prior knowledge; the first peppers grew, I gave sauces to my friends and realized that I had to continue," he recalls.

Covid-19 also encouraged Santa Āri to find her niche – her own brand "Mūsdienu virtulis" or "Modern donuts".

"I was a waitress and, unfortunately, I lost my job at that time. I had to find my passion, I had to leave my comfort zone, and this idea for donuts came up," said Santa.

They are not at all like the usual ones. "These are little donuts that are personalized, there are minions, bunnies, cats, bears, everything that is fun and smiley, positive. They are baked in the oven. Yes, these are not the ones that are fried in oil, but much healthier. When you step out of your comfort zone, other areas open up for you," said Santa.

Meanwhile, Aiva Jurciņa was encouraged to focus on entrepreneurship while waiting for a baby, and now her hobby – needlework – has become her business.

"Like most mothers, living at home with children, I was looking for my own entertainment. I really liked needlework. Now I create children's clothes, sew, knit, embroider. I didn't learn to be a seamstress, I learned everything by self-learning," she says.

Aiva is convinced that the main thing is not to be afraid: "Do what you like and just go forward. I wasn't afraid either, I did it, I started with a small one, I saw that it was liked, there was a demand. And so it grew and grew, expanded with more and more choice."

Rihards Sankovs' experience also confirmed that sometimes life itself creates situations to start thinking about your own business.

"The certificate received today is for the ice cream production that we started making three years ago. I made it as a joke for my wife and daughter. After visiting a couple of markets, I realized that many people like my ice cream, especially in the summer season, when we made vegan ice creams – surprisingly, many people who are not vegans also like it," Rihards said.

Rihards started his business after returning to Latvia after spending time abroad.

"I stayed outside of Latvia for nine years and when I came home, I realized that I no longer want to work for anyone else, because you can truly feel at home when you are your own boss."

All these stories of entrepreneurs, including Riharda, confirm that the basis is an idea that you have to believe in and entrepreneurship.

But what benefit will entrepreneurs get from this trademark? Business specialist Guna Ķibere explained that manufacturers can use the trademark on goods or packaging, place it on their websites, and at a point of sale, thus allowing the buyer to instantly know that these are local products. There will also be other activities from the side of the municipality that will help to popularize the brand.

For example, on May 10 and 11, there will be Traders' Days in Valmiera, and only those with the 'Made in Valmiera district' trade mark will trade in special tents.

In order to popularize the products made in Valmiera region, it is also planned to open a physical store in the city center, where everything created in Valmiera region could be found in one place.

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