October 20, 2019 – TCN caught up with the brains behind everyone’s favorite handcrafted nautical jewelry brand to discuss the wild summer behind us, what we can expect this winter, and the biggest news yet – franchising next year. A closer look into all things Break Time with Mirela Rus.
We’re finally into the heart of autumn, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still reflect on the season behind us. How did the summer of 2019 treat Break Time?
We had a fantastic summer in terms of business. We launched a couple of new collections: #reCYCLED with rope from recycled plastic bottles, made especially for us by a rope factory in the Netherlands, and YACHT CLUB, which uses an amazing minimalist anchor design, created for Break Time by Attila Kim and Bogdan Ciocodeica, a brilliant team of architects/designers.
We are happy to report that our customers received both collections with great enthusiasm, so we will be building on that for 2020.
That being said, with five Croatian shops running and an international online shop, there was not much time left for relaxation, but that is what winter is for!
Which shops performed the best and what were the bestselling products?
The two Split shops were the stars of the season and we tend to believe a part of this success stems from the fact that we live here and, therefore, we can focus more on these two shops than the ones from Dubrovnik, Istria, and Zagreb.
As for the best-selling products, as mentioned above, the new YACHT CLUB collection was an absolute hit and managed to surpass every other collection in sales. A close second is our already very popular DUBROVNIK collection of nautical bracelets with a decorative compass, designed especially for men.
What changes can we expect from Break Time in the offseason?
We are keeping two of our shops open until the New Year: the Ilica 14 store in Zagreb and the Zadarska 1 store in Split.
Any special Advent offers?
We are actually preparing some really cool stuff for Advent! First of all, through December, we will offer FREE ENGRAVING (in-store and online), so that our customers can get one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces as gifts for their loved ones (and for themselves). We will also have at least one day in Zagreb and one day in Split when we will bring the engraving machine to the shops and do custom engravings on the spot. We will make sure to announce the dates well in advance!
However, the Advent news does not stop there. We plan to launch the mini and the big versions of the Yacht Club collection – and they look so cool, we almost couldn’t wait!.
But the most exciting Advent news is that we will also launch a VERY limited edition of a special variant of the big Yacht Club anchor bracelets, which I think our fans will absolutely love. And they will make for very cool Christmas presents, too. I promise it will be something very innovative and cool. I wish I could tell you about it now, but I am doing my best to keep the surprise for one more month.
But there is still even bigger news. You’ve announced a Break Time franchise – tell us more!
We are so, so excited about this and we are working on it 24/7 currently, with the help of an amazing franchise consultant – Andrija Colak, the owner of the Surf’n’Fries franchise, with over 60 units opened all around the globe so far. And we owe thanks to TCN’s Paul Bradbury for introducing Andrija to us.
It has been four years since we opened our first shop and all this time, we had countless requests for the distribution of our handmade nautical bracelets, coming not just from Croatia, but literally from all over the world, from Dubai to Florida.
In these four years, we wanted to focus on delivering amazing products to our customers in our shops, first of all. And that, plus continually evolving and developing new collections, did not leave much room for external cooperation.
But we feel that we have grown and learned enough now to be able to open the Break Time brand to the world. Experience and trial and error led us to choose the franchise as the optimal way to develop the brand internationally.
We hope to officially launch the franchise system at the beginning of 2020, targeting coastal locations with high tourism flows, all over the world. We made a soft announcement to get some feedback on the possible interest, and we are overwhelmed by the response we received already. We had interest shown from the UK, US, and Asia. Of course, there is still a long road ahead until we will be announcing the opening of the first Break Time franchise, but we are enjoying this new experience and will do our absolute best to make it a great one.
You can learn more about the Break Time franchise here.
What else can we expect in 2020?
The new franchise path meant that we also needed to reorganize ourselves in terms of both production and our stores.
We realized that we would not be able to focus and give enough attention to our future franchisees if we keep all our five stores. So, in 2020, we are keeping the Zagreb store (Ilica 14) and the two Split stores (Zadarska 1 and Trogirska 8).
The Trogirska 8 store will move to a new location – but it will be at the same address, just next door. We are doing that because the next-door space is l, and it also has an upstairs large room that my partner, Leonard Copoiu, will use as a workshop during the summer. That will allow us to make custom bracelets and custom engravings on the spot, in less than one hour for our Split customers.
We also need to make changes related to production. Up until now, Leonard himself made absolutely all of our jewelry pieces. In the next months, we will focus on developing a production unit, and Leonard will do the training and personally supervise all production to make sure that the quality (which is what we are most proud of) stays the same.
But those are things regarding our internal functioning. What our fans would most likely be more interested in finding out is if new collections will be launched in 2020 – and the answer is YES!
As we have done each year since we opened, we are constantly working on new products or improving our existing products. But I won’t say much more at this point; we need to keep some surprises for next year, too.
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