December 6, 2021 – In our new TCN series we meet Vukovar companies that are changing the cityscape. First, we present Ella Design.
Vukovar, oh Vukovar. What comes to your mind when you hear the name? Most likely the war, the parade, the memorial museums. Its citizens go in search of a better life in Ireland, Germany, Austria. Fortunately, that’s not all. It’s a living city that breathes, full of wonder and full of amazing people with passion and vision for a bright future right here. The point is, not many people realize the potential there is in a place that is now brand new. How many smaller towns (bigger too) can show off their renovated baroque facades, perfectly manicured parks and greenery, strategically developed all around the city center to allow for several kilometer walks along the river? New infrastructure, new housing and new roads? 10 minutes by car or on foot to get anywhere? An abundance of schools and kindergartens? What a dream. And yet, it is rarely a painting that is painted. There is tradition, culture, gastronomy, you name it. And with the implementation of the Vukovar Card, described here, who knows where we can go? While the challenges are many, so are the benefits.
In this edition we will discuss business, ideas, prospects.
Running a small business anywhere in the world is a challenge. Doing it in Croatia is a bit more important. Start from scratch and lead one in eastern Croatia, in Vukovar – mission impossible. Where is it? In a series of interviews, we present some excellent companies in Vukovar. We chat with the owners to see how they are doing now, the challenges they face and their plans for the future. We are also discussing the idea of the Vukovar Card with them to see what they think about it and if they would be ready to participate. Let their stories inspire you to visit and buy their products in Vukovar!
Today we present to you Ella Design, a family business of creative design. The owner, Lidija Azinović, is a bubbly personality with lots of stories to share and ideas to discuss. Her family’s path in it was not very straightforward, but eventually Lidija and her husband, who is now her employee, decided it was worth pursuing a hobby if you like her. They have built a successful business selling personalized gifts such as photo frames, hanging decorations, and key chains. All of their products are custom designed and made by Lidija and Kristijan in their home in Vukovar. Even if times are quite difficult with the price of materials having increased by 100% for some, they keep a smile on their face and a more than positive vision with ambitious plans for the future. After our conversation, I had a sudden urge to come home and create something, start a business, be colorful, imaginative. I’m much better at writing, so for now I’ll only share what Lidija said to some of my questions:
Tell us about your business – what exactly are you doing?
I am the owner of Ella Design, more precisely of the brand “Mamine Ručice” (Mum’s little hands), and I make personalized gifts for various occasions. The materials I use include wood, MDF boards, different types of plywood, acrylic sheets, etc. We cut the shapes with a CNC laser, then we polish, paint, assemble and pack by hand.
Where did you get the idea from and how did you get started?
I got the idea when I gave birth to my baby girl Ella while I was looking for something to decorate her bedroom. Two months later my husband and I created our first MDF wall decoration and gave it as a gift to our little friends at my son Leon’s birthday party. Back then we didn’t have a laser but used my stepfather’s manual CNC machine which was, you can imagine, slow and tedious. We managed to surprise our friends and family who immediately wanted to order more! And that’s how it started.
What makes your product unique?
I think our offer is quite unique in the sense that it is really broad and customizable. I really got into the idea of starting a business and used all the perks I had. We did not need to rent space as we had a few free rooms in our house. In addition, I made sure that my products are available outside of Vukovar throughout Croatia.
How did you start a business in Vukovar? What is your vision for the future?
I am really happy with how we have been able to build our business, run it and grow so far. The fact that our efforts are seen even outside Croatia makes me so happy. I look forward to all future projects and collaborations and I believe that we will soon develop our business.
Do you think the fact that you are located in eastern Croatia affected your success?
The fact that we are located in the east has not had a material impact on our business. I truly believe that the things that matter to success are willpower, desire, and hard work. With these combined, success will come to you no matter the location.
What opportunities are there in our city and our region?
The opportunities in the city, as well as in the region, are plentiful, with a good business plan and a good vision, any business owner can create an incredible story for their business. I believe it is important to connect with the city, the county, as well as the end customer. Long-term success doesn’t depend on how much money you make, but how connected you are and how important community you are.
What do you think of other small businesses in Vukovar?
I liaise with other business owners, buy their products and use their services because I want to encourage and support their work and efforts. Those who really try that I support through my social media accounts, I praise their efforts and recommend them to my followers. They do the same for me, creating an incredible circle of positivity. I see them as my partners and not as competitors.
If we were to implement the Vukovar Card, would you participate and offer our customers discounts or special packages?
The idea is excellent! I would be more than happy to participate in order to stimulate the local economy and connect with other stakeholders and express our support in this way. To make it all worth it, we would be happy to offer reduced prices of our products to Vukovar Card holders.
Finally, tell us about life in Vukovar. What do you like most, what would you say to all potential visitors?
I love everything about Vukovar! I love the fact that there is more to our city than war tourism and that it’s slowly but surely surfacing. An excellent offer of restaurants, wines, museums. Vukovar is a place that is about to reach its peak and our generation will ensure that it does so soon.
Where can we find you?
On my Facebook page “Mamine Ručice” and my Instagram – mamine_rucice.
Welcome! Hope you can find something you like.
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