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CHIN UP

Chin Up Founder

Elena Troskina was getting ready to go out. Last minute, she decided to add a bow tie to her outfit. Using a pattern she found online, she quickly sewed one together. It wasn’t exactly what she expected. In fact, it turned out more of a bow than a bow tie. Much like the one Leopold the Cat (Soviet cartoon character) used to don.

Five years later, Elena still keeps that first gigantic bow tie as a memento of how Chin Up started. Initially sewing the bow ties herself, she now oversees all aspects of the brand. Marketing, social media, operations, quality control. You name it. All while creatively leading the team of tailors and artists.

Based in Kemerovo (a town in southwestern Siberia), Elena’s inspirations are numerous. A book she reads or a design she sees could lead an entire collection. Art and pets, however, are two of her main sources of inspiration and the cornerstones of the two biggest collections - ‘Masterpieces of World Art’ and ‘Animal Faces.’ Elena can spend hours looking at paintings, picking out a piece she would like to translate into a bow tie. And her three pets - dog Verona, cat Jora and raccoon (yes, you read that right) Tema - provide a constant supply of ideas.

 

THE INTERVIEW

What are the 5 things you cannot live without?

First of all, coffee. I can’t imagine my life without it. If I wake up in the morning and see that we‘ve run out of milk (I’m not a fan of black coffee), my mood can take a serious beating

iPhone. I don’t let my phone out of my hands. My husband says I’m addicted. And he is probably right. But all of my work is within the phone. If it wasn’t for my phone, I would probably spend the entire time at home in front of my computer ...

Car. Despite the fact that I live in a rather small and compact city, having a car is crucial for me ...

Yoga & Meditation. A few years back, I realized that yoga and meditation suits me perfectly .... I can lay there in a Yoga Nidra class for an hour and a half, not moving, and get an incredible energy boost.

Pets. They are, of course, not things. But they are a vital part of my life. Since childhood, I’ve been surrounded by parrots, hamsters and cats. My mom loves animals and has passed that love on to me. Now my husband and I have a cat, Jora; a dog, Verona, and a raccoon, Tema. Our raccoon was the only one that we bought. The rest we’ve adopted ...

model wearing ostrich bow tie

Your favorite quote?

‘Everything comes in time to those who can wait’ - Francois Rabelais.

Not sure how I came across it but for me it’s my life’s motto. I, of course, don’t mean that you just need to sit there and wait. As a capricorn (who are known to be the most tireless sign), my entire life is painstakingly working on achieving goals. And when something does not work out, I remember this quote and understand that I just need to wait a little longer :)

visuals from Animal Faces collection

Where would you go in a time machine?

Probably, nowhere. I blame cinematography :) All of the movies about time travel teach us that by changing one thing, your entire life could be set on a different path. Of course, all of us make mistakes but at the end of the day, they all lead us to where we are now. And I am happy with the way my life is right now.

bow tie and acrylic paint

What's your favorite city in the world?

Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled much. But I am sure that’s still ahead. And I would love to visit Goa. I think that’s my kind of place. I am, generally, a fan of more authentic places, where the pace is slower and you can enjoy life as it is.

male model wearing a giraffe bow tie

What's one cause that you would want people to rally behind?

I really want to see a law (in Russia) protecting the rights of animals. Today, they are the most defenseless beings in our country. And yet the most loyal to human beings. Its a paradox really. Nowadays, this issue is attracting more attention than before. But it’s still not enough ...

I, myself, contribute to this cause as much as I can. I help shelters with clothing, food and sometimes money. Try to re-home strays through social media. And surround my own pets with love - our dog came from a shelter and our cat was a stray.

artist drawing visuals for Animal Faces collection

What's your vice?

Nail polish. It’s like a magnet. I have so many of them, some of which I’ve never even used. Once they’ve spent some time in my vanity table, I give them away to my girlfriends. Lately, I’ve changed to gelish and buying nail polish. But even so, I find passing by a display with nail polish onerous.

a number of Chin Up bow ties spread out

All photos courtesy of Chin Up

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