Zlatka Mehic from Jezerski near Bosanska Krupa has turned her hobby into a successful business. She is engaged in laser engraving, and what sets her apart is that she processes the wood herself. While being a mother of three children, she challenges prejudices and stereotypes. Instead of the planned departure of the whole family abroad, her husband returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and together, they continue to expand their business.
She never dreamed that she would work on several wood processing machines. She is a hotel and tourism technician by profession. Years of unemployment and motherhood, combined with her love for drawing on wood, directed her towards the creation of decorative items.
“I thought it was impossible to achieve anything in BiH. My husband was already working abroad, in Slovenia, so there was no possibility for me to understand that I could stay here. At that time, we dreamed that we would “pick up” one day and leave,” says Zlatka Mehic.
They didn’t leave, and thanks to the support of local authorities and USAID, Zlatka started her own business.
“We bought a few machines ourselves. The laser I use was bought with our own funds. We simply saved up for that day. Currently, we plan for my husband to officially return to BiH; that part of the process is ongoing. He has been here for a month already. We plan to continue working and building our small company together here,” adds Zlatka.
She procures the wood herself, cuts it into desired shapes, processes it, and then creates various objects. She completed training as a CNC operator and engages in laser engraving and UV printing.
“The basic difference is that we have perfected this segment over time so that we can make our own products personally, as you saw with wood. Another thing is the combination of materials. Combining plywood, wood, and Plexiglas, which is not very common here, led to painting wood, coloring it, combining materials with UV printing,” she explains.
She does it all, from pendants to tables, magnets to equipment for catering establishments. After working in almost all BiH cities, she is slowly starting to export. She is committed to developing cooperation with local companies because she considers support for domestic production crucial for BiH’s development, Slobodna Evropa reports.