SAMARA: Alexander, an Austrian, has been working in Russia for a large German retail outlet for the past seven years with stints in Moscow, Rostov and now Samara. At the suggestion of a Russian friend, he co-opened men’s barbershop franchise Chop-Chop in Samara in 2013.
After six months of observing business at Chop-Chop, Alexander decided to create Chica, a woman’s version of the high-end barber shop. His logic was straight forward.
”I realized, if men can pay 1,500 rubles for a haircut (~$50 in 2013), they probably have wives or girlfriends that could afford a similar women’s salon. Samara may not look very good right now, but people here have money.”
Igor, 24, has owned a bar, cleaned up cemeteries and developed an app for an iPhone in his varied working career in Vladivostok. Now he has opened a fashion boutique featuring some of his own creations. He says he has more ideas for businesses, but it is tough getting support from his family. ''My parents don't understand me,'' he said. ''They are from the Soviet period and I am from the capitalist period. They say 'Why don't you go get a government job? But us children of the 1990s - we are grown up and have some money to start our own businesses.''