The answer to the question of how one Croatian producer can stand out from all the others, in the world, lies in the original idea. One such, original idea, had the main protagonist of this story, Stefano Ladavac, CEO Infinity Luxury from Rijeka, which deals with the manufacture of outdoor showers.
But that, as you might guess, are not ordinary outdoor showers that you can see on beaches and beaches all over Croatia. No, this is about designer showers, which attract attention with their appearance. It is an idea that has opened up a whole new market in the world, although there is no shortage of outdoor shower manufacturers in the world.
Ladavac recalled his first steps in making a new product: “The first real prototype shower was made in the garage in early 2017. It started very interesting, by persuading my dad for 2 months to help me make the first stone shower in the world. The idea arose with the need to create something different, something that had not existed before. As I worked in a hotel in Rovinj and Opatija, the showers caught my eye. I started drawing various designs, until the one we produce today came up, the inverted L design. It took time for Dad to figure out my idea. Yet, in the end, he gave part of his knowledge, without which the shower would not exist today. My dear nono (grandfather) also played a big role, whose experience was applied to the quality of the product in every little detail. ”
Opening a new market was very demanding, especially since he entered the whole story without any experience, contacts and skills of running a company. Over time, he gained, as he says, wonderful contacts, and with the help of the team, they successfully run a company that is now achieving constant growth.
“Currently, we are still the only manufacturers of ceramic showers, HPL and natural stone in the whole world. In order to ensure what we have been creating for years and that someone would not copy our work so easily, we decided to protect the design internationally. Competition comes from manufacturers in Italy and the Netherlands. They have had their showers on the market much longer than we do, and although they do not produce anything similar to us in design, they can admit that they are serious competition for our projects outside Croatia. However, we want to stand out with a special product story through which customers can express their personality and emotions. ”
In Croatia, customers were mostly owners of holiday homes. The company has successfully completed three private hotel projects and one public beach project in Porec.
"One of the better customers is definitely the owners of holiday homes. The Croatian construction market has progressed tremendously. This activity was not hindered by covid either, especially in Istria. New houses and hotels are constantly being built. The most sought after plots are in the interior of Istria, where houses of 100 to 150 square meters with a beautiful garden and swimming pool are being built. Minimalist design or classic Istrian style of stone houses prevails. We are looking for modern furniture, ceramics predominate in the bathrooms, and of course a slightly different shower by the pool. ”
Last year, they focused their efforts on developing the brand, both in Croatia and beyond, and on developing a new product. Ladavac is satisfied with the company's operations in the last six months, as very interesting foreign markets are opening up.
"In 2021, we have changed a lot. Our goal is to operate exclusively B2B (business to business) and 80% outside Croatia. Within Croatia, in all regions we have contracted partnerships with companies that install swimming pools or wellness equipment. They take over the sale and installation of our showers in their area of operation. ”
Infinity Luxury products are intended primarily for hotels, holiday homes, camps, aquaparks and resorts. They want to reach such a customer profile through distributors and architects to whom they try to convey their passion and emotion towards what they do. And passion and emotions are exactly what drives a company like this that currently has seven employees.
“Three employees are in production, one in R&D, two in marketing and sales, and I who am a bit in everything. What is most important to me when hiring is the personality of the employee and his ambitions. I love to surround myself with positive people who see all situations as an opportunity for growth and development! I have to praise the whole team, which I trust a lot and the team within which we all support each other. I really enjoy working with them. ” - emphasizes Ladavac.
Last year was extremely challenging for the entire tourism sector, including Infinity Luxury, whose business partners and customers come from this sector.
"When the virus arrived in Croatia, I must admit that I wondered what would happen to our business. As we are closely connected with tourism, I was sure that the situation would lead to layoffs and a reduction in the volume of work. The exact opposite happened, we did not lose faith in our product which resulted in increased sales and additional employment! At one point there were as many as nine of us in the firm. I think 2021 will be a very successful year. We have a positive opinion in the company, which can actually be very easily shown by the projects that are announced for this year. I believe that tourism will recover and I warmly hope that the caterers will be able to survive this period until the beginning of the season. " - Ladavac is optimistic, announcing the work on a European project whose goal is to invest in harmonizing the company's products with standards for standardization in the production of innovative "smart showers", ie in the production of stone products and electrical components.
"I will never forget that day. It was the end of August 2019 and in the morning I was talking to my best friend about how I intend to give up and that I have had enough of everything. I work all the time, give 100% of myself, run, call, write emails, and never let anything happen that will start my business. He tried to convince me not to give up and continue on my way because surely something will come someday. I tell him "At least something pushes me a little, at least a little…" and we say goodbye, end the conversation. I get out of the car and go up the stairs to the apartment, unlock the apartment and the phone rings. She calls me the consultant who wrote the project for us, all happy, excited, and I have a day when I didn't care about anything. She asks me how I am, I, as always, no matter how I feel, I tell her that I am great, because I think that as long as we are healthy, we have a place to sleep, something to eat and drink and we are more than good. And then came the news that was an indication that in life, when someone asks for something, they do their best for it, that's what comes. She told me, Stefano, you just received one million and two hundred thousand kunas in support from the European Union. I run out of words, I tell her not to tease me, and let her tell me really honestly, and she repeats the same thing. I thank her and say I will get back to her. There is euphoria, I call all my dear people, girlfriend, family, friends, jump around the apartment, open a beer and make a toast to myself. I deserved it. ”
The goal of this project is product commercialization, correction of initial deficiencies, testing of new solutions and internationalization of business. The project resulted in the purchase of a new machine, employment, product refinement and the opening of new markets.
Photographs: Infinity Luxury