Mara Topalovic is the owner of the Maruska Studio, which has been making hand-crafted silken headscarves and ties since 2008. She infused her passion for art into luxury, hand-made products, which are unique and recognizable. In her interview for eKapija, she talks about her professional development, which began in Preljina near Cacak, but also about how she sees business operations in the future.
eKapija: How and when did you decide to enter the world of drawing on silk? What did you do before that and was this your hobby?
– It all started with my desire to enroll at the Academy of Applied Arts, the Costume Design department. After numerous tries, I still failed to enroll, because they believed that I wasn’t talented. I decided that our life’s path is determined by us, and not by a handful of people who claim the opposite.
For the first time, I encountered silk and was delighted with the softness and the gentle touch of a natural material, so I started making silk jewelry. Over time, the silken creations changed and I put my talent into unique headscarves and other hand-made products, which are recognized by celebrities such as Biljana Ristic, Lepa Lukic, Majda Simunec.
I infused my love of art and natural materials into unique products that are recognized by numerous business people and companies, which motivated me to develop this hobby into a family business.
eKapija: When you look back on your beginnings and compare them with the current moment, what have the biggest obstacles been, and what do you consider your biggest successes?
– In our work, we constantly meet obstacles. At the beginning, it was the fact that you are not familiar with numerous things and details of business, because the focus is on the product and the production process itself. Furthermore, the challenge, then as now, is to multiply our products and artistic endeavors that I have been designing and creating for years.
Definitely, the biggest success are the satisfied clients from numerous Serbian and world companies, famous people who got our products, as well as the fact that I have managed to maintain and develop a family business for over 20 years despite all the challenges.
eKapija: Which characteristics does someone who want to enter the world of entrepreneurship need to have? Do you believe that there’s a difference between men and women?
– Guided by my own experience, I believe that it is necessary for someone to have love and passion for their work and creating products and that this will be recognized by the customer. However, due to the quick changing of trends and ways of doing business, today it is enough to have a strong market and a strong will to succeed, and the rest is a matter of time.
eKapija: What do headscarves and ties symbolize for you? What message do those who wear them send, especially when they’re unique?
– As our slogan says – unique like you. We believe that our unique products symbolize and enable us to express our uniqueness that each one of us possesses and to express it in a creative and special way, offering a product that is just as singular and unique as you.
eKapija: How do you see the development of the Studio, but also your own personal and professional development, in the future?
– Our family business and new diversification of products will certainly demand certain changes in the way we do business and, with that, bring new challenges, which we will solve professionally and as a team, as we have done all these years.
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