Vanja Troha: “If You Work Hard, Profit Will Come Soon”
An entrepreneur Vanja Troha notes that her customers are the source of ideas for new products.
For more than 10 years, the family of Vanja Troha has been living in harmony with nature and using its gifts. They produce personal care products made from natural ingredients. “We started with soap production for our own use. We were interested in whether it would produce the desired effect,” Vanja Troha says. Vanja Troha and her family were satisfied with their own products and even started presenting them to their relatives and friends. “Then you become overtaken by a desire to plunge into this work and make something new,” Vanja says. She and her brother Bojan studied agronomy. The knowledge they obtained contributed to the emergence of new ideas on the use of natural materials in everyday life. To implement their ideas, they had to improve their skills and study professional literature on the production of natural products.
The reviews from customers were positive, and the demand for their products began to grow. Five years ago, Vanja Troha opened her own company for the production of natural personal care products under the name of Naturalina. Her brother, who has a higher qualification, assists her. On weekends, on account of their family vacation, they were able to open a small workshop for manufacturing and selling new products.
In December last year, she was selling products with the help of her business partner. “When two sales outlets are located at different locations and have the same working hours, additional manpower is required to organize sales,” Vanja Troha says.
The Range of Products Ensures Cost-effective Year-round Sales
After 5 years of independent business activity, she may fully provide for herself. “It is necessary to timely feel the moment, find a suitable market and win the trust of customers. The things will do once people begin to trust you,” Vanja Troha says. To organise a production, you need quite a bit: clean dishes, needles, syringes, and natural ingredients. The most expensive is the fee for product registration. “It is important to choose the product range so as to meet the demand of customers both in winter and summer,” Vanja Troha emphasizes. Today, the Company produces natural soaps, lip salves, body and face creams, deodorants, baby creams, a natural repellent against mosquitoes and ticks.
“Over the years, you see what else you need to meet the customers’ needs,” she says. It is because of the high demand among customers that she started producing hand cream and spray for mosquitoes and bedbugs. Now, these products are the most popular ones.
In December, the demand and the sales volume are the highest, and the volume of work is, respectively, five times higher than usual. “At this time, people buy a lot of cosmetics for gifts, and only regular customers buy products primarily for themselves. Fortunately, the number of regular customers is constantly growing,” the entrepreneur notes contentedly. Many products, such as gift sets, are sold to other companies. At the beginning of the year, sales are reduced in volume, and then you need to change the type of activity. For example, to hold master classes and lectures about the specific features of manufacturing certain products and thus sell related products.
Competition Is Welcome
In recent years, due to increased demand, the number of entrepreneurs who manufacture natural cosmetics in home conditions has also grown. “Competition is really tough, but if you know that you work hard and in good faith, if you can vouch for your products, then there is nothing to be afraid of. In this case, you may even welcome the competition,” Vanja says. Her sales channels are mostly trade fairs and Facebook as well as small shops in towns and villages of the northern Littoral region (Primorska in Slovenian).
It is very important to devote much time to your customers. It is necessary to explain them the purpose, for which the product is used, what it is made of. She believes that only in such a way it is possible to gain the trust of customers. In the future, Vanja plans to purchase a family farm and expand the product range.