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Miroslava and Kaloyan explain the similarities between space exploration and sock knitting

Kaloyan Donchev is one of our sock knitters working in the Production department at Kingly. Interestingly enough his wife – Miroslava, who has experience in garment design, and his mother – Ginka, also work at the company. They compare themselves to an Italian family and they work together – side by side. Kaloyan a.k.a. Cooliyan and Miroslava love to spend quality time with friends and family, and they love to travel around Bulgaria. Let’s get to know them better.

How did you decide to become a part of Kingly’s team? 

Kaloyan Donchev (KD): I learned about Kingly and their manufacturing facility because they were renting a space in a building owned by my previous employer. Practically we were all working in the same building. I really liked what Kingly do. My mother – Ginka – used to work in the building as well. It was she who came to work for Kingly first. Then, the previous Operations Manager needed a tech-savvy sock knitter. I wanted to try something new. I really liked working with the machines.

Miroslava Doncheva (KD): Last year, Kaloyan told me that there was a job opening. I was supposed to help them part-time in the Production department. Everyone on the team liked me a lot. At the end of last year, they asked me to come work permanently at the company. I decided to help Kaloyan. My mother-in-law was already working here as well. We are like an Italian family. We came together to work side by side.

I have a degree in Fashion design. I can make the designs, I can make the cuts and sew the textile pieces into a full garment. However, for the past 5 years, I was selling carpets and curtains. It was almost as if I was doing the interior design of my own home. I took my job very seriously. Nevertheless, the working hours and the salary I used to get from my previous employer didn’t quite suit me any longer. That is why I came here. And because of the opportunity to learn something new.

Was there anything specific that drew you toward Europe’s leading sock manufacturer?

KD: I was interested in the machines. I was quite stressed out in the beginning but decided to give it a try. I learned to work with them in about 6 months. I hadn’t seen Busi Giovanni sock knitting machines anywhere else in Bulgaria.

What are the pressures of the job? What do you find most challenging on daily basis?

MD: Coming to work for Kingly was quite challenging. This is a completely new field of work. The sock-knitting machines looked like space exploration devices. I felt extremely weird. In the beginning, I was supposed just to gather the knitted socks and to check if everything is OK with them. After the first week I was encouraged to start learning how to operate the machines. I lot of “Error” signs were on. I was on the verge of giving up. Actually, there were 3 times that I didn’t think I would manage. But I said to myself: I can do this. I will learn whatever I have to learn. And after these 6 months, I think I am of great help to Muhammad and Kaloyan. I have a lot more to learn, of course.

Kaloyan, Miroslava and Ilian at Kingly’s zero-waste facility.

What do you think about the Kingly Version 2.0 and the changes in the management team?

MD: I don’t know Rob very well because I don’t get to talk to him very often. When I decided to walk out of the company, he came to me and said that he would raise my salary. He wanted me to be happy. And he really did it. I continued doing what I find interesting. I think Rob is cool.

How do you find the atmosphere of the company? Does it feel better than before?

MD: Most definitely. Like I said previously, I was on the edge of quitting 3 times. There was a management crisis. I didn’t feel good. I am a very emotional person. I don’t think anybody likes to work in an environment where there is constant slamming of doors and shouting. Now, the entire Sales and Order Processing teams are changed. The irritating people are gone. The environment is way calmer. There is no pressure, there is no anxiety that was lingering in the air before.

KD: It is a bit calmer. But we need better recognition for our work. I was recently promised that I would get another pay raise*. I hope that would happen because I am one of those people who make it possible for the company to move forward. If we are in a rush to ship an order, I stay after work and help with whatever I can. I come on Saturdays and Sundays if I have to. If you look at it, if we all do well, everyone will get a piece of the pie. The change is slow but it is happening.

What do you find most interesting and fulfilling when it comes to executing your tasks?

MD: The fact that the final product is created. Even if I am in a bad mood when the socks come out, I feel great again. That is the most interesting part of my work. And that you learn new things on the machines. I get a great feeling when I can fix something when the red light is on. I like the fact that I can grow in this company. From someone who was only gathering the socks that are already knitted and doing quality control, I became someone who learned how to fix machine bugs.

Could you identify any good practices that you think should stay in the company? Is there something we could change in terms of communication, and process organization?

MD: I see that we have a lot more work. This means that the Marketing, Sales and Process order teams are doing a good job. These are not the tiny orders we used to get. And there is a wide range of orders. I would advise Rob to get some more people for the Production department. There is a lot of work when it comes to ironing and packaging. I am happy that we have a lot of work. That means that the company is growing. It is great that the office area expands. There is a definite change, for sure.

What are Miroslava and Kaloyan like outside of Kingly? What do you like to do in your spare time?

 MD: If we are not working on a Saturday or Sunday, we like to get together with our friends, and have a bite to eat and something to drink. We like to spend quality time and have a laugh. I really like to travel – I choose a destination. I really enjoyed that we were able to go to the seaside twice this year. It felt really recharging that we were able to go to the Shipka monument on the 3rd of March – Bulgaria’s National holiday. We are always taking to opportunity to travel when we have the time.

KD: When I have the time, I like to relax by watching movies. Like my wife said, we like to travel a lot. There is nothing better to spend the weekend with your family.

* By the time we could publish this material, Kaloyan got the pay raise he was promised.

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