MARIJA OBRVAN, MARIA
Maria Concept store first opened its doors in Dubrovnik, and can now be found in Zagreb as well. Your stores are recognized for being the most luxurious concept storeS in Croatia. How do you create and choose the assortments?
The idea behind the launch of the first Maria store in 2007 in Dubrovnik was to bring the best of high fashion brands from Paris and Milan to the Croatian market which was, at that time, a complete virgin territory when it came to luxury designer brands. I decided to follow my instincts and offer my customers a selection of all the gorgeous things I found most beautiful and interesting, both in the world of pret-a-porter collections and accessories. When we opened the Zagreb store in 2010 it was a natural extension of our fashion concept and philosophy.
You have both locals and tourists coming into your store. What makes MARIA store interesting and what you have to offer that is different from other concept stores in major cities?
We always carefully listen to the needs of our customers and their demands but with the whole fashion industry becoming so global the interests of our customers, both local and international, are very much in sync with the trends and ideas presented during international fashion weeks where we do the buying for our stores. The funniest thing about tourists visiting Dubrovnik or Zagreb for the first time is their surprise to discover our stores and all the top brands that we carry, which often surpasses the selection in some of the most famous stores in the world.
Both locations have a spectacular interior design and amazing service. How important are these factors for customers? Do these factors help the customer feel like royalty?
I believe that you have to give your customers a complete luxury experience that includes not only the best merchandise but also the way this merchandise is displayed in the store as well as the best service possible. This seems to be even more important today when so much of the luxury shopping is done on-line. And yes, the customer is always the queen in our stores.