Help me Save the Minerva gift shop!
Let me introduce you the two of the hardest working people I know – Mateja and Marijana. Their story begins in 2016 when they opened their first gift shop in the small town of Baska Voda, at the sun-bathed coast of Croatia. Completely on their own they managed to make their dream come true - they launched their own gift shop offering unique Croatian made gifts and souvenirs. Think of soap bars, scented oils, liquors, salts and spices, clothing items and art. All attractively presented in eco-friendly packaging.
First year was a success and so were the years ahead. The customers kept returning to their shop every summer. Not only because of the products they were selling but also because of the vibe and the energy that they would feel in and around the shop! Mateja and Marijana approach their customers personally, ask about their vacation, listen to the customer’s story and wishes, without obnoxiously pushing them to buy. Minerva gift shop soon became a destination, a place to be. Sounds of relaxing lounge music in the background and the comforting smell of lavender would attract you to come in and look around, have a chat with the girls and maybe try some of the most delicious Croatian made “rakija” (liquor). It was simply an organic process.
In the meanwhile, they claimed a couple of more locations to market their products and therefore they hired a few students to fulfil the relevant positions. They created possibilities for the young potentials to grow.And it worked. All until the things got rough and they ended up with just one shop left. Which btw, they completely renovated and furnished with their own hands.
Even though the shop was a success, it was only open during the summer season so they still had to pick up other jobs to generate enough income. And I’m talking about jobs in mostly men industry, setting tiles, coating houses facades with fresh paint from top to bottom, really getting their hands dirty. And always with big smiles on their faces!
However, the costs of renting a store on the prominent location were high and the rent had to be paid even during the winter periods - when the store was closed. Last year, due to the pandemics, they were only up and running for a few months and they earned just a fraction of what they would have earned the previous years – definitely not enough to pay the rent for yet another year. They did try to convince the property owner to give them more time and to wait until they can open the store again, but unfortunately, he’s not willing to do that. And if they lose this store, that means the end of it. To start all over again, somewhere else, would financially be impossible.
Currently they are both working at a woodworking factory near Zagreb which covers their basic costs of living. The situation in Croatia got even worse after a few big earthquakes that left many people homeless. Mateja and Marijana were one of those heroes that reached out to help however they can. They drove around the affected areas to distribute the goods and supplies they collected within their community as donation for the victims of the earthquake.
Now the time has come when they could also use some help. This is where we step in. With our donations we could help these ladies cover up the costs of the rent and secure them a chance to continue their lovely business this year! The minimum amount necessary is 4000 euro and every little bits help. Thank you!