Can one succeed in doing business on Croatian territory? Yes, one certainly can.
Asteria, a Croatian family company started by Dubravka and Veronika Vuković in the village of Banova Jaruga near Sisak in the continental part of the country, marked its first anniversary of being in business at the end of February 2019.
As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of April, 2019, this mother and daughter team successfully run their business which involves producing sleepwear, and the combination of Dubravka’s long-standing experience in the textile industry and Veronika’s knowledge gained about entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Economics in Osijek proved to be a winning combination.
“The two of us have always managed to create something together, and last year we had the chance to share that with the world. Our desire is to offer women quality sleepwear, ours is a different look than what is currently on our market, and that’s why we decided to go with sleepwear. We want women to feel comfortable but at the same time feel elegant and confident in our clothes,” explained Veronika Vuković.
Some of the Asteria branded underwear products include classic pyjamas, nightgowns, nightgowns, combos, dresses, kimonos and bathrobes, and fashion accessories such as sleeping masks and cosmetics bags.
“After the initial calculations, we started with the creative part and started working on the first models, there were a lot of attempts, a bunch of models from different fabrics, we played around with it all and tried out what would be the best, and we also asked our acquaintances to see what they liked the best, and soon after, we decided to take advantage of the self-employment incentives and open up an obrt (a type of company). At first, we needed some time because we knew only some of the very basics and not much more, and the biggest challenge were the Croatian state institutions and the vague information we received. We now understand the way they work and it’s easier for us to talk to them,” stated Vuković, reminiscing on Asteria’s very beginnings.
The fabrics are mostly purchased from Italy and Germany and from some Croatian companies, and they’re both [both domestic and foreign companies] responsible for the designs.
”Our products have been on the market for nine months now, and the web shop has been open for seven months. Special attention is paid to the design of the clothes and the selection of the fabric used in production, and each piece is manually sewn. I can say that we’re getting better and better at it. When we started, no one knew about us and yet everything went easily.
Today, customers are already familiar with us and know where to look for our products, and on our web shop every month we have more orders than we had during the previous month. Customers often come back with some positive feedback, and we’re particularly happy when they send us a picture of how they wear their clothes and how the clothes look on them,” said Veronika Vuković, who prepares and delivers the items within four working days. In addition to Asteria’s web shop and social networks, their products can also be viewed and purchased at their workshop in Banova Jaruga. Vuković noted that they aren’t planning to open a classical type of store, at least for now.
“The type of clothes we make are made by almost nobody in the whole of Croatia. Although there are several Croatian companies that do sell sleepwear, it isn’t similar to ours and is primarily different when it comes to the type of fabric being used.
Although these companies and foreign companies selling sleepwear are our competition, we’re constantly working on being different to them and to make ourselves known for the variety and the quality of our products. As our greatest achievement, I would point out that customers have begun to recognise our products and recommend us to their acquaintances,” said Vuković, noting that their current greatest efforts are investing in their proper positioning on the market as high quality garment manufacturers, as well as the expansion of their assortments and the entering into new markets.
“We’re still not going to give too much away, but what I will say is that we’re preparing stylish dresses, blouses and skirts in daytime, business and evening combinations, everything that a woman needs, and we want to focus more on sales in the EU and in the rest of the world in the future. They’re much larger markets than our Croatian market here, and we believe our products have great potential,” Vuković concluded.