Although they seem to be the opposites of each other, sisters Małgorzata Kotlonek-Horoch and Agnieszka Kotlonek-Wójcik created an ideal duo and initiated a brand that has appealed to the tastes of women around the world.
It started with a folk pattern of the Łowicz rooster, which Małgorzata and Agnieszka Kotlonek’s dad cut out from paper years ago and hung in the hallway in their Radom apartment. Before the pattern of colourful birds found their way into felt bags and started a brilliant career of the sisters and the Goshico brand, Małgorzata and Agnieszka had completely different plans for life. “Agnieszka managed the sales department at an IT company, I worked as a make-up artist at the Roma Theatre. However, I felt that my creative potentials were not used to the full there. I had a lot of ideas,” recalls Małgorzata. “At first it was jewellery. The first twelve pairs of earrings, which my sister made of silver wire and an unnecessary necklace, were sold out in one day. Others, equally original, were no less popular,” adds Agnieszka, who encouraged by her sister’s success, also decided to find an artistic hobby. ”When I was little, my grandmother, a professional dressmaker, taught me how to sew using a machine. So Małgosia designed unique jewellery, and I started to create original bags. The first pieces were made on the old Archer machine, which my grandfather gave us,” explains Agnieszka.
“Initially we did everything together. We shared an apartment in Warsaw, both regularly visited a wholesale store to select materials. Małgosia advised me what colours to choose for my bags, which materials, ribbons to take, I gave her my opinions on bracelets,” says the one sister.
“In 2008 we came up with the idea to put an element of Polish folk on one of the bags – colourful roosters presented in a mirror image”, they explain. None of them expected that it would be the roosters that bring instant recognition to their company and start the ethno fashion among Polish designers. And that they will soon be invited to cooperate with Polish ministries, institutes, museums and airports, which consider their felt bags decorated with traditional folk as the stylish essence of Polish design.
“To make work go smoothly, we have learned intuitively how to create an ideal duo. Every day we are the opposites of each other, but at work we complement each other perfectly. I am expressive, Agnieszka is more balanced,” explains Małgorzata. “Aga graduated from economics, she has experience in corporation, I, on the other hand, as a visual artist and freelancer, hate paperwork and bureaucracy. So from the very beginning of our activity, the division was clear – I was involved in the artistic side of the company: long-term vision, brand promotion and design of patterns, and Agnieszka consistently put our ideas into practice, took over the cash register and supervised production”, says Małgorzata. “Today, instead of sewing with an old Archer we have a professional machine park, and the company has grown so that cutting, sewing and sales are done by other people.”
“We have always agreed on one thing – each of our clients deserves a top-notch product, so the quality and original design is our business card,” explains Małgorzata. “Today, apart from Polish folk, we have many other new models. The last hit is the amulet bag. Extremely elegant and feminine. When you buy it, it’s tied with a gold thread. Once you remove the thread, you have to think about your dream and have the bag close to you all the time. I am 100% sure it works,” Agnes smiles.
“In the past, our personal life used to be mixed with work. After many hours in the company we were glued to the phone still discussing professional issues. Today we’re trying to separate these two spheres. There are no business talks at family meetings. The weekend is sacred, it is time for loved ones and for our own interests, which gives us some rest from work. I travel around the world, observe people, the way they dress”, says Małgorzata, “and Agnieszka relaxes in her garden and walks in the forest.”