Despite Bosnia’s business-unfriendly environment, more and more young people manage to launch their own businesses and provide employment for others. Marija Peric from the southwestern town of Tomislavgrad is one of them.
Eight years ago, the young woman turned her hobby into her business and now her designer bags can be bought in six European countries.
Thanks to her brand, ‘Lovely bags,’ Peric employs 30 people.
Like so many success stories, hers also starts in the garage of her house. Peric was 25 and had just graduated. But the PR manager left her office job and turned to fashion.
“It all started end of 2011 when I began making a handbag as a hobby for myself. However, my family and friends liked the bag, and everyone wanted to have one, so it started spontaneously,” Peric began her story.
Since there were no tailors in Tomislavgrad who could make the handbags, Peric said she would travel to other towns, such as the central town of Bugojno, to find them.
Later, she organised training for tailors in her hometown.
‘Lovely bags’ quickly became one of the most recognisable fashion brands in the region and what began as online sale turned into a brand that is being exported to Sweden, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.
“We receive inquiries daily. Currently, we are negotiating with Tel Aviv. The internet is a miracle,” she said.
According to Matija Drmic, one of the tailors, there is a lot of work in the company - “from the morning until whenever we go home.”
“I put on the buckles, these are our buckles and nobody else has them. This job means a lot to me, and it is great working together with these women,” another employee, Andjela Music, added.
Marija said that a lot of effort and energy was needed for her company to find a place in the regional fashion market.
“We try to get better and better, work on our mistakes and think of something new for every new collection. We have just now begun designing buckles and materials which only we produce, only we have them in the world, and that sets us apart,” Marija explained.
Marija designs all of the handbags herself, and more than 100 of them are prepared for distribution daily. In a month, the company sells more than 3,500 handbags.