St. Petersburg: I passed three young men, probably not much older than 20, sitting on St. Petersburg main road Nevsky Prospect at about 12pm on a Saturday morning. The men said they were returning home from clubbing all night...and all morning.
St. Petersburg: Katya and Dasha, 14, grew up in Vladivostok in a military family and moved to St. Petersburg. They were walking along Rubenshtein, a popular street lined with cafes, restaurants and bars.
St. Petersburg: Konstantin, early 30s, was sitting with his friend on a bench near Palace Square in St. Petersburg just before sunset. Konstantin said he works in the construction industry and dreams of building his own boutique hotel in the cultural capital. But not just any hotel...Konstantin says he wants one that rotates. When I asked if that is even possible, he said he still has to figure out how the plumping would work in such a building.
MOSCOW: On her 5th birthday, St. Petersburg-native Katerina performed a ‘solo-concert’ for her grandfather at home. She said she loved to sing from childhood, but only fell in love with opera when she was 14 after hearing a performance in her hometown. Thereafter, she would occasionally attend the opera by herself. Her interest didn't initially find appreciation. As she was a good student, her teaches encouraged her to study law. Her mom wanted to her to study languages. ‘’People said, don’t you want to do something serious?’’ Katerina said she insisted on attending a special opera school. Last month she again gave a solo-performance…this time at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall. She is currently in the Russia-wide ‘Voice’ competition.
ST. PETERSBURG: Elizaveta, 16, was walking around the center of St. Petersburg in this t-shirt. She said she would never wear such a shirt if the same words were written in Russian. Elizaveta, who bought the shirt for 350 rubles ($5.50), said her mom didn't understand the words.
MOSCOW: Denis is due to become a father for the first time in January. His family will then be seven: him, his wife and newborn and four huskies, including two puppies. Raised in Yakutia, Denis acquired the Huskies a few years ago only after he settled down in the St. Petersburg suburbs. Ironically, the gave rise to a business... While working at a printing company, Denis made a t-shirt with the image of his huskies. As often happens, friends asked for one, Denis printed 50 more and they went quickly. ''It made me realize that people are interested in this and I decided to continue in this direction. Denis quit his job and created his own clothing brand under the name Taiga. The toughest thing at the moment is the strenthening dollar, said Denis. It is pushing up
ST. PETERSBURG: Grigory jumped onto his old-school bike and said he was headed to his sport goods store. I asked him he got into the business. He said he began to run on jumping stilts about 7 years ago. He liked it and decided to buy a pair for himself and his two sons. After two years, the hobby turned into a business…Grigory bought an internet store selling jumping stilts. This spring, he and his eldest son Ivan opened the store on Nevsky Prospect, selling stilts, rollerblades, foot scooters, pogo sticks among other things. The story doesn’t end there. In 2010, Grigory got into pneumatic pogo sticks with his youngest son Dmitry. After two years of practicing, his son really progressed. In 2013, Dmitry won a championship and in 2014 he became an official rider for the Xpogo team. You can read about his Dmitry at www.xpogo.com - his photo and bio are there. Grigory said Dmitry holds a Guinness record. One of his trademark jumps is called the ‘Vodka flip.'
ST. PETERSBURG: When an unknown girl ‘liked’ one of Evgeny’s photos on his VK page, he wrote her to inquire. They soon went on a date, but there was no spark. However, a few days later, not wanting to go to the movies by himself, Evgeny invited her out again. Something clicked. As their one year anniversary approached in March, Evgeny looked for a ring, but couldn’t find the one he wanted. So, one their anniversary day, he proposed, using a ‘ring’ made of foil from a bubble gum wrap. She accepted (and sent her mom a photo of the ‘ring’). Having just taken a big step in his life with the opening of the franchise barbershop Top Gun in St. Petersburg at the end of May with his university buddy, Evgeny - who just turned 30 in June - has just taken another big step, having married his girlfriend last week.
ST. PETERSBURG: Vladimir recalled skateboarding in St. Petersburg as a teenager in the late 1990s. Some kids would add a layer of leather to their sneakers to prevent them from getting worn so quickly. Foreign made sneakers were expensive and hard to come by back then, he recalled. If someone got a pair of the latest sneakers, everyone would know about it. That gave birth to Vladimir's original interest in sneakers. Fifteen years later - and having read Soviet manuals and youtube videos - the 31 year-old is hand making sneakers and shoes in a small shop under the brand name Afour Custom www.afourcustom.ru His advice to young people wanting to start their own business: "be prepared to be your own cleaner, shipper, designer and economist."
ST. PETERSBURG: People are no longer afraid to start their own business," says Anya, a 28yo mother & founder of Z!Boot. She has been producing hand-made shoes in a 20sqm workshop in an old factory in St. Pete for the past 3 years. Like many start ups, she began making shoes at home. To learn to produce from scratch, she took a sewing course at night while getting her shoe design degree during the day. Now she has 4 workers, including her mom, and they produce weekly 50-100 pairs of shoes. While most of the shoes are sold to Muscovites, a few go abroad. Anya, who says she is a creative person, doesn’t dream of her own mass production. She wants to continue producing hand-made shoes and has given herself the goal of doubling output over the next year.