We had to capture her story! First, we fell in love with her concept store when we heard about it, then we couldn’t get off its Instagram account, then we fell sorry we can’t travel home and visit. The only thing we could do is to bring Boška Bahtijarević’s story to our web pages and daydream of having a coffee in Martićeva and shopping at Tvoje afterwards.
In one of your interviews, you mentioned you actually wanted to widen your career and explore other options. Can you tell us a bit about your work background?
As I had children while studying, I actually started working relatively late. Immediately after graduation, I opened an architecture studio Arhitektri with my best friend from university Rujana Bergam Marković and her then-boyfriend Aleksandar Marković. It was like jumping into the fire because I didn’t know anything but it was also fast learning and we were having really good clients and good and successful projects.
We did a lot of interior design, participated in creating ‘Leggiero’ brand, which grew to 18 caffe bars across the country, then ‘Batak’. Also, we were nominated for Best housing in Croatia from Croatian architectural organisation for Two houses in Istria, designed a lot of family houses after that and one of my last projects with them was Reconstruction and interior design of Lopud monastery, a project that took 5 years to finish.
Everyone loves a good career revamp; how long did you contemplate the idea of a concept store and at which point you were determined that that’s the way to go?
I thought about it for almost two years. It wasn’t concept store at first but some kind of platform for interior design and decorating which I wanted to explore more because I felt that that was missing from the market. Then I decided to leave Arhitektri and I took a break from everything for almost 6 months. And when I was totally empty, everything started clicking back to place. Then I enrolled in florist course, started collecting brands and searched for the right place. That was the hardest part, finding a great spot because I wanted it to be around Martićeva street.
The name of the store is Tvoje (English: ‘Yours’), what inspired it?
I wanted Croatian name, something simple and then I taught, everything there is mine until you pick something and then it is yours.
How do you source your products?
First brands I got from Maison & Objet in Paris, then some I found on Instagram or through friends.
When it comes to flowers, the store is a true escape zone. Where do you source them?
I buy flowers from some local farmers or in Zagreb flower market, some on flower stock market directly from the Netherlands.
How does your day look like? How much time you spend on the creative work and interactions with your customers and how much time it takes to manage, organise and do the admin work around the store?
I wake up around 5, on those days that I go to the market. I then come to the shop, clean the flowers, vases, arrange everything. Then I have some regular weekly clients that I work with, usually at the beginning of the week, and I usually am done with that by 10 am when I open my shop. Some days are busier then others, when I am not with customers, I rearrange things around the store, post things on Instagram, make some arrangements that inspire me, do admin work. I am there all day until 8 pm, every day except Sundays. It is a lot of work and it is physically tiring. But I am happy.
Your concept store is one of the places in Zagreb visitors have to see, and we from abroad admire. Who are your customers?
Thank you. My customers are neighbours, people that work nearby, girls that saw me on social media, a lot of different people. I have older ladies that come every week for one single flower, a man that buy flowers for their wives or girlfriends, people searching for cool presents, something to make their day better, people that just drop by and talk…old, young, I don’t really have a special type.
They say that there is a difference between a calling, a job and a career. What does Tvoje mean to you?
Tvoje is exactly who I am, without any compromise. And I was waiting my whole life for this to happen and I didn’t know that. I showed myself that I was capable and that life is to be lived.
How do you spend your free time, what’s important to you in life, and what are the essential ‘life-learnings’ you think are valuable to share?
Most of my free time I spend either with my children or with my friends. At the moment I don’t have any time for anything else and sharing moments with them is more important to me right now than any other activity. For me the most important thing in life is love. My energy comes from my heart and as I am getting older I just want to share more of that. Make people around me happier. Because we all need some love.
Visit the store: Martićeva 14f, Zagreb