Monday, 2 March 2020

Break Time Fans, Rejoice! Both Split Locations Have Officially Re-Opened

March 2, 20202 - March has begun with a bang for Break Time nautical jewelry in Split as both locations in the Dalmatian capital are now back in business for the busy season ahead.

The month couldn’t begin with better news for Break Time fans with the announcement that the flagship Zadarska 1 location and the Trogirska 8 atelier and outlet store have reopened for a new season!

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In bona fide Break Time fashion, the first customers at both shops received surprise gifts, while all customers enjoyed a 10% discount. Break Time's first lucky customer of 2020 at the Trogirska location received all of his items for free!

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But that’s not all the good news...

“The absolute novelty is that the Trogirska 8 will now be the Break Time outlet store (where you can buy the last pieces remaining from our 2015-2018 collections, as well as the new collections), and on the upper floor we will have the Break Time atelier - so you will be able to order any custom bracelet or custom engraving ON THE SPOT (in either Zadarska 1 or Trogirska 8 locations) and our designer, Leonard Copoiu, will make it for you in his new atelier (and you can even watch him do his magic).”

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The Zadarska 1 location will work in March from Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm, and from April 1, daily summer hours will be in effect, from 10 am to 10 pm.

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The Trogirska 8 location, right next door to the original Break Time shop you all know and love, is open this month from Monday to Friday,10 am to 6 pm. 

Don’t forget that Break Time also started the year by officially launching a franchise for all of their fans. 

“It took us five years to perfect our handcrafted nautical jewelry, to deliver great customer experiences, to gather enough retail-running knowledge, to make enough mistakes and learn from them.

We are now ready to share our brand to the world, so say hello to the Break Time Franchise!” said owners Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu upon announcing the big news.

So, if you’re looking for a new business opportunity that:

  • Is easy to run, even if you have little experience in retail
  • Has proven business results and brings waves of success - fast
  • Belongs to an attractive, niche market
  • Sells unique products that have taken the market by the storm

...then choose one of the available dates/times, fill in the questionnaire as accurately and in detail as you can, and get a FREE DISCOVERY CALL with the Break Time brand owners, Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu, to help you decide if this business is right for you.

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and check out the new Break Time website here.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 27 January 2020

5 Years a Foreign Entrepreneur in Croatia: The Good, Bad & Ugly

January 27, 2020 - Life as a foreign entrepreneur in Croatia as so many local people are emigrating. Mirela Rus from Break Time reflects on the good, the bad, and the ugly of her first five years of doing business in Croatia. 

About five years ago, at the Days of Small Boatbuilding at Le Meridien Lav in Podstrana, I met a very nice Romanian couple with a stand selling nautical jewellery which they made themselves. They explained that this was their new business, and they planned to make it work so well that it would support their new life in Croatia. 

I thought they were nuts and gave them a maximum of six months before they headed back to Bucharest. 

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But far from struggling, Mirela Rus and partner Ionut flourished firstly online, then in Split and eventually in five cities in Croatia with their unique brand of nautical jewellery. Mirela was our first interview in our Foreign Entrepreneur in Croatia series two years later, and now she is back, a little older (though not much), a lot wiser, and with some great and honest reflections on the positive and negative experiences of five years of being a foreign entrepreneur in Croatia. 

You are a foreign entrepreneur in Croatia for 5 years now, and you are still here! Tell us firstly what it is you do.

Well, in a nutshell, we are producing and selling (in our own shops) high-quality nautical-style artisan jewellery.

It is a family-run business, meaning that my partner, Ionut Copoiu, handcrafts the jewellery and I handle the marketing and sales part.

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Looking back over the 5 years at the good, the bad and the ugly, let's start by asking if you are pleased at where you have ended up 5 years on?

I am pretty sure no entrepreneur is ever content with where he/she is at any given moment, since we all have a tendency to push ourselves to do more. The lesson learned in my first 40 years of life was that we should value quality of life more than business success and that was the main reason for our move here. We left Bucharest to escape stress and pollution and a generally hectic lifestyle. In that respect, I think we are pleased with our lives 5 years on. I still pinch myself every morning while looking out the window and having the sea in front of me. I know I could never ever live inland again.

How has the initial business model changed to what you have today?

We came to Croatia to build houses and we are running a handmade jewellery retail business instead. As they say, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans 

We planned our move to Croatia around the business model we had going in Bucharest, which was real estate development. Me and my partner made a great team, Ionut was building houses and apartments, I was promoting and selling them. We were actually always selling everything either off-plan or during construction, our motto was quality over quantity and it was going great.

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We planned our move for several years, scouting locations each summer and trying to understand how things work in our soon-to-be home country. In 2014 we created our Croatian company, we named it Break Time (we had other names higher on our list, but that was the first name accepted) and we finally decided on a land to buy and we contracted the services of a real estate agency that we thought was trustworthy, with the sole purpose of them making sure all papers are in order and help us obtain the building permits in the next 10-12 months, so that we would be able to start building the next year – since we planned to permanently move to Croatia in autumn 2015. 

However, they did not disclose to us that a new law was basically halting constructions in many places around Croatia, until the UPU (Urbanistički plan uređenja) was finished – and the village where we bought the land was affected, too. We found this out in June 2015, from a local architect we contacted to help us get the building permits (since the agency we initially worked and that we also planned to hire for permits and site supervision, stopped replying to our messages). We were in disbelief and did not know what to do, since we were basically 3 months away from our move-date (by then, our Bucharest apartment was sold, our business there was almost finished, and we had no new plans for continuing it). We decided to move here anyway, and hope things would clear up soon enough.

Luckily for us, we are easily bored doing nothing, so – a month after we moved to Split – we decided to use Ionut’s hobby of making bracelets out of nautical items (which was helping him destress while running the construction business in Romania) and try to turn that into a – what we thought will be – a side-business to help us kill time and make some money while we wait for the land to be cleared for construction.

Little did we know that this will become our main business…actually the only business, since 5 years on, we still do not have the building permit (which we finally were allowed to apply for – and we did – in spring 2019).

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Let's start with the positives about your experience of being an entrepreneur here. Assuming there are any...

Of course, there are positives, otherwise we would not still be here. First of all, corruption is not that widespread as everyone comments it is. We come from a country where we actually had to deal with corruption absolutely each step of our way. We never had to bribe anyone in the 5 years we started our Croatian company. I put that in the plus category.

What has surprised you, in both positive and negative ways?

I will mention one that is both a positive and a negative. We appreciate Dalmatia for its laidback style, the slower pace of life that actually gives you time to enjoy it.

At the same time, that also means we had to get used to people saying they will do something or be there in X amount of time, and most of the time that never happens. One day “Dalmatian style” can mean one week (or more). I admit I am still not used to this, although I am trying to take that into account and plan accordingly each time.

You have had stores in, I think 5 cities in Croatia. Are some cities easier to do business than others?

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Hands down, our favourite city to do business is in Split. And our least favourite was Dubrovnik.

Despite its record tourism, you decided to close your Dubrovnik shop as business was worse and worse in the peak season. Tell us about that.

Dubrovnik was the second town we opened a Break Time shop. And the first year was great, business-wise. Then it started to go downhill, as the quality of tourists in Dubrovnik started to go downhill, too. Every business around us was losing customers. It was still a viable business, but it was not worth it for us anymore, we got tired by the everchanging local rules, lack of predictability and lack of support for local businesses. To give you just two examples: the year we opened the shop it took us two months and countless trips and phone calls to Grad just to make sure we got the specifications right for the outdoor shop signs, because it was a new design that Grad wanted. Then we had to make those signs and they were not cheap. Then next year Grad again changed the design – and we sent our shop manager to find out if we were also affected and needed to change them again. She was assured it is not the case, and only new businesses were required to have the new signs. Sure enough, in the last week of June we were told we cannot use the old signs starting 1st of July.

There was nobody available to make us new signs in less than a week. It actually took over a month. Our sales dropped in July and August (which were supposed to be our best months) because we had no outdoor signs, so people had a harder time finding us. It was exhausting and nerve-wracking.

The second example relates also to outdoor signs. Grad has, at the beginning of every street in Old Town, a textile poster signaling the names of each business on that street.

We contacted Grad in February 2016 and asked to have our name on that poster, instead of the name of a business that was in our space a few years back. They told us they refresh the names every other year and that – unlucky for us – was not the year to do it. We asked if we could change the letters ourselves (they were just sticker letters, it would have taken a couple of hundred kuna and a few minutes to do it). We were not allowed. The next year, in spring, we went back to Grad and asked again. Guess what…that was still not the year to do it. Long story short, they finally decided to update the signs in 2019. We had to pay for being there, which meant that businesses that did not pay, were not written on the poster. To me – that is weird (having also the experience of Split, where our names were added on the signs at both ends of our street in one month after we requested it, at no charge to us!). However, we paid the tax (on top of all the other taxes we were paying monthly to Grad Dubrovnik, which were also higher than in any other town we opened shops). That was March 2019. Signs were changed mid-August 2019, basically almost at the end of that summer season. Absolutely ridiculous. The day we closed the Dubrovnik shop I actually felt relieved.

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And now a look at the bad and the ugly. Coming from Romania, you are more used to bureaucracy and corruption than most. How has the Croatian business experience been for you in terms of negatives?

The main thing that I have to mention as the biggest negative are taxes. Too many and too high. VAT at 25% is a killer for small businesses. I keep wishing the Croatian Government would wisen up and lower it, in order to give oxygen to the many businesses struggling to survive here and help create a strong middle class, which should be the backbone of the economy.

The second big problem is finding good employees. Or actually finding ANY employees. With the exception of Split, where we are always finding good people and fast, all the other towns we opened shops (Dubrovnik, Porec, Rovinj, Zagreb) that was our biggest nightmare.

In Dubrovnik, for instance, we almost could not open the shop in the first year because we literally could not find anyone. True story: I hired a girl from Osijek without meeting her or even getting her CV…a friend of hers came to us and told us she has a friend in Osijek that is looking for a job in Dubrovnik…I told her I will hire her friend if she is in Dubrovnik the next day. She came! And she actually stayed with us, as shop manager (moving each summer from Osijek to Dubrovnik) until we closed the shop last year.

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You once told me that some Romanian friends from an industrial town visited you in Split and could not believe the number of opportunities there were for business.

And it is true. All we see around us in Split is opportunity. What I think is needed first and foremost is a shift in mentality. I know things are actually hard for many, but complaining is a national sport that does not help anybody. Especially young people, who start their adult lives already thinking they cannot do anything here and they better leave abroad. The reality is that life is not easy anywhere. A can-do mentality though might make all the difference.

As a Romanian, your appreciation of the bureaucracy and corruption in Croatia is perhaps a little different. How would you compare them in the two countries?

As I mentioned earlier, on the lower day-to-day operational level, Croatia is by far better than Romania. Which is not necessarily always a good thing, paradoxically. Take for instance our building permits. Both in Romania, as well as in Croatia, we always want to stay within the law, we never want to build more than what law says, or more floors or more sqm than what we get approved etc. Both in Romania and Croatia bureaucracy is a bitch.

The law says, in most cases, that public institutions should issue documents within 30 days of the request being made. Sometimes all the clerk needed to do is put a stamp on your paper – but he still would tell you to return in 30 days. However, if you gave him some money…say 20 euros…he would stamp that right there and now. Again – not asking for any illegal documents, just ordinary documents.

In Croatia, we found that for a building permit in a village, we had to deal with three different levels of municipality/county clerks and offices. Each asking dozens of papers to be brought from the other municipality (some which could have easily be obtained online in a minute, but then they would not have the stamp on it, right?). When you bring those, they ask for more. Then they tell you to wait 30 days. Unless you are unlucky and the only clerk dealing with the problem at hand gets sick and goes to medical leave for a month. So…to be honest, we would have happily paid 20 euros to someone to have them do their job. But there was no-one to pay. They simply could not care less that you are losing time and money, and there is nothing you can do but run from one office to the other and wait…and do it all over again.

We have a huge appreciation for our local architect, Ozana Šustić, who is the one dealing with all these issues, not just for us, but for dozens of other clients, I am not sure how she is still in one piece. We have another business that occupies our time and helps us pay the bills so we can continue to live here…but for other people, getting a permit for their house to get renovated in time for the season, so they can rent it to tourists, is the difference between having what to feed their kids with or struggling to get by.

That being said, other than with the real estate-related bureaucracy, we actually had only positive experiences in dealing with authorities in Split. We still do not speak Croatian, except for basic phrases, and we still continue to go to whatever institutions we might need to on our own, without a translator. And every time without fail we encounter clerks that speak English back to us and solve our problems within minutes. I must say this continues to amaze us and I must say we really appreciate this happening to us.

And a new direction for Break Time. You have recently teamed up with Andrija Colak, the king of franchising in Croatia. Tell us about that and your new franchise direction

We are, indeed, very excited about the new direction we decided to follow. After opening six shops in total, we realized we cannot keep it up and develop the business based on this model. It was very hard to run shops basically at each end of Croatia, from Istria to Dubrovnik and to Zagreb, and do a good job at it. However, we could still see the potential for expansion, and we kept getting requests for distribution from all over the world.

We decided to keep just the two shops in Split, where we live, because they were also our best shops and it was easier to run. And to use all the experience we gathered in these five years and to focus our energy on opening our brand for franchising.

Thank you, Paul, for actually introducing us to Andrija – you are the godfather of the Break Time franchise, in a way 

We have been working with Andrija since – I think – September last year, to prepare our brand for franchising. I had no idea the amount of work to be done and all the details and manuals we had to prepare, I am so grateful to Andrija for his guidance and recommendations, we truly would not have been able to do it without him. But we feel confident now that we are ready and we have a good, comprehensive, solid franchise in a niche of its own, so we are looking forward to what the future will bring. I must say though, we are targeting less (and we are less inclined to approve franchisees in) Croatia, and more international coastal destinations in countries like France, USA, UK, northern countries etc.

What advice do you have for a foreign entrepreneur looking to start a business in Croatia?

I actually always have several:

  1. Join local expat groups and ask for feedback, advice, recommendations. For us, that was the greatest fountain of information in a country we knew nobody and did not speak the language.
  2. When choosing the business you want to open, make sure you do not step on anyone’s (local) toes …it might cost you, since most places in Croatia everyone knows everyone, so you do not want to make enemies.
  3. Get the best commercial lawyer and accountant that you can find.
  4. Take every katastrofa story you hear related to the business area you want to activate in, especially from locals, with a grain of salt. And if someone says “that cannot be done”, do not take their word for it, check for yourself.

And lastly, knowing what you know now, would you do it all again? Why/why not?

Well, I have two answers for this question.

If I am thinking about the business we came here to do in the first place (real estate development and maybe tourist rental): 90% I would not do it all over again. Knowing what I know now and seeing how things get stalled, I would tell my 5-years-back-self to stay out of it.

If I am thinking about the business we ended up doing (handmade nautical jewellery), I would totally do it all over again, almost exactly as we did. Because everything we did, all the trial-and-error or trial-and-success things we did brought us where we are now and is giving us the knowledge and opportunity to be able to guide other entrepreneurs to be successful with opening their own Break Time Franchise store.

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You can connect with Mirela through the official Break Time website

Are you a foreign entrepreneur in Croatia who would like to be featured in our series? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Foreign entrepreneur in Croatia. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Hello, 2020: Break Time Kicks Off New Year with Jewelry Franchise

January 21, 2020 -  Beginning 2020 in a big way - introducing the Break Time franchise!

A new year calls for new beginnings, and one famous nautical jewelry brand in Croatia is wasting no time with their New Year’s resolution.

After celebrating the fourth anniversary of their first shop, with a collection of shops from Dubrovnik to Istria (Porec and Rovinj), and Zagreb since then, Break Time is turning a new leaf. 

“During these four years, we have also constantly received requests for distribution not just from Croatian shops, but also from literally everywhere in the world, from Dubai to Costa Rica. Since all Break Time products were handmade by my partner - our brand artisan, Leonard Copoiu, we very rarely agreed to have a presence in third-party stores.

During this time, we have constantly improved on our products, innovated and added new collections, while - at the same time - learning more and more about managing a growing retail business, what works and what doesn't, how to improve and how to meet and exceed customers' expectations. 

We have realized that there is a trending and niche market for original handmade products, such as our quality nautical jewelry and also for monobrand brick-and-mortar stores offering great shopping experiences, just the two of us (me and my partner, Leonard) opening more stores is not going to be sustainable,” Break Time wrote at the beginning of the month. 

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Thus, this week, Break Time nautical jewelry announced that it is ready to share their brand with the world and officially launched a franchise for all fans of sea-inspired artisan jewelry! 

“It took us five years to perfect our handcrafted nautical jewelry, to deliver great customer experiences, to gather enough retail-running knowledge, to make enough mistakes and learn from them.

We are now ready to share our brand to the world, so say hello to the Break Time Franchise!” said owners Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu upon announcing the big news.

So, if you’re looking for a new business opportunity that:

  • Is easy to run, even if you have little experience in retail
  • Has proven business results and brings waves of success - fast
  • Belongs to an attractive, niche market
  • Sells unique products that have taken the market by the storm

...then choose one of the available dates/times, fill in the questionnaire as accurately and in detail as you can, and get a FREE DISCOVERY CALL with the Break Time brand owners, Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu, to help you decide if this business is right for you.

With the big franchise news, Break Time has also announced that it will be scaling back on their shops and only maintaining the two Split stores (Trogirska 8 and Zadarska 1), where Mirela and Leonard are based. 

“This change will allow us to keep our focus on producing exquisite quality handmade nautical jewelry (of course, Leonard will continue to make part of the products himself and he will also have a team around him to help with the production, while he will still be the one supervising each and every one of the Break Time items being made) and grow our brand through like-minded entrepreneurs such as ourselves, who are looking to invest in a proven business idea and open their own franchise Break Time stores in tourist-oriented coastal towns across the world,” the owners added.

We’d say that 2020 is off to a running start for Break Time! 

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and check out the new Break Time website here.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 15 November 2019

Break Time Presents Three New Collections in Time for Holiday Season

November 15, 2019 - 'Tis the season at Break Time! 

While we still have a good month and a half before Christmas hits, it’s never too early to get ahead on your holiday shopping. Thus, with their faithful customers in mind, Break Time has added three new collections to their selection of nautical jewelry just in time for you to accessorize the whole family at Christmas. 

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Namely, all three collections feature the original Yacht Club anchor, explicitly designed for Break Time by the brilliant design team of Attila Kim and Bogdan Ciocodeica.

The limited-edition version of the Yacht Club by Break Time® 4cm anchor bracelet is an absolute innovation in the world of nautical jewelry.

What makes it so unique is that you’ll find a screw at the top of the anchor so that the rope and the top can be separated from the body of the anchor. This means that Break Time fans can now buy just one anchor and add as many different ropes as they desire (with over 25 available). By alternating the ropes, you can enjoy an entirely new bracelet for every outfit or special occasion!

Customers can also choose between the big Yacht Club bracelet (at 4 cm) as the perfect gift for your man, or the mini Yacht Club (2 cm), which is adored by women and children as a delicate and ideal gift this Christmas.

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All Yacht Club by Break Time® original bracelets are handmade in Split using stainless steel anchors that are fully waterproof and fit any wrist (yes, they are 100% customizable). The anchor can be personalized with the engraving of your choice, and during Advent, engraving will be completely free - online and in stores!

The new Break Time collections are available online here, and from December 1st, customers in Croatia will be able to find them in the Break Time stores at Ilica 14 in Zagreb and Zadarska 1 in Split.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Break Time Talks Summer Success, New Offers, and Franchising in 2020

October 20, 2019 - TCN caught up with the brains behind everyone’s favorite handcrafted nautical jewelry brand to discuss the wild summer behind us, what we can expect this winter, and the biggest news yet - franchising next year. A closer look into all things Break Time with Mirela Rus.

We’re finally into the heart of autumn, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still reflect on the season behind us. How did the summer of 2019 treat Break Time? 

We had a fantastic summer in terms of business. We launched a couple of new collections: #reCYCLED with rope from recycled plastic bottles, made especially for us by a rope factory in the Netherlands, and YACHT CLUB, which uses an amazing minimalist anchor design, created for Break Time by Attila Kim and Bogdan Ciocodeica, a brilliant team of architects/designers. 

We are happy to report that our customers received both collections with great enthusiasm, so we will be building on that for 2020.

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That being said, with five Croatian shops running and an international online shop, there was not much time left for relaxation, but that is what winter is for!

Which shops performed the best and what were the bestselling products?

The two Split shops were the stars of the season and we tend to believe a part of this success stems from the fact that we live here and, therefore, we can focus more on these two shops than the ones from Dubrovnik, Istria, and Zagreb.

As for the best-selling products, as mentioned above, the new YACHT CLUB collection was an absolute hit and managed to surpass every other collection in sales. A close second is our already very popular DUBROVNIK collection of nautical bracelets with a decorative compass, designed especially for men.

What changes can we expect from Break Time in the offseason?

We are keeping two of our shops open until the New Year: the Ilica 14 store in Zagreb and the Zadarska 1 store in Split. 

Any special Advent offers?

We are actually preparing some really cool stuff for Advent! First of all, through December, we will offer FREE ENGRAVING (in-store and online), so that our customers can get one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces as gifts for their loved ones (and for themselves). We will also have at least one day in Zagreb and one day in Split when we will bring the engraving machine to the shops and do custom engravings on the spot. We will make sure to announce the dates well in advance!

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However, the Advent news does not stop there. We plan to launch the mini and the big versions of the Yacht Club collection - and they look so cool, we almost couldn’t wait!.

But the most exciting Advent news is that we will also launch a VERY limited edition of a special variant of the big Yacht Club anchor bracelets, which I think our fans will absolutely love. And they will make for very cool Christmas presents, too. I promise it will be something very innovative and cool. I wish I could tell you about it now, but I am doing my best to keep the surprise for one more month.

But there is still even bigger news. You’ve announced a Break Time franchise - tell us more!

We are so, so excited about this and we are working on it 24/7 currently, with the help of an amazing franchise consultant – Andrija Colak, the owner of the Surf’n’Fries franchise, with over 60 units opened all around the globe so far. And we owe thanks to TCN’s Paul Bradbury for introducing Andrija to us.

It has been four years since we opened our first shop and all this time, we had countless requests for the distribution of our handmade nautical bracelets, coming not just from Croatia, but literally from all over the world, from Dubai to Florida.

In these four years, we wanted to focus on delivering amazing products to our customers in our shops, first of all. And that, plus continually evolving and developing new collections, did not leave much room for external cooperation. 

But we feel that we have grown and learned enough now to be able to open the Break Time brand to the world. Experience and trial and error led us to choose the franchise as the optimal way to develop the brand internationally.

We hope to officially launch the franchise system at the beginning of 2020, targeting coastal locations with high tourism flows, all over the world. We made a soft announcement to get some feedback on the possible interest, and we are overwhelmed by the response we received already. We had interest shown from the UK, US, and Asia. Of course, there is still a long road ahead until we will be announcing the opening of the first Break Time franchise, but we are enjoying this new experience and will do our absolute best to make it a great one.

You can learn more about the Break Time franchise here

What else can we expect in 2020? 

The new franchise path meant that we also needed to reorganize ourselves in terms of both production and our stores. 

We realized that we would not be able to focus and give enough attention to our future franchisees if we keep all our five stores. So, in 2020, we are keeping the Zagreb store (Ilica 14) and the two Split stores (Zadarska 1 and Trogirska 8).

The Trogirska 8 store will move to a new location – but it will be at the same address, just next door. We are doing that because the next-door space is l, and it also has an upstairs large room that my partner, Leonard Copoiu, will use as a workshop during the summer. That will allow us to make custom bracelets and custom engravings on the spot, in less than one hour for our Split customers.

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We also need to make changes related to production. Up until now, Leonard himself made absolutely all of our jewelry pieces. In the next months, we will focus on developing a production unit, and Leonard will do the training and personally supervise all production to make sure that the quality (which is what we are most proud of) stays the same.

But those are things regarding our internal functioning. What our fans would most likely be more interested in finding out is if new collections will be launched in 2020 - and the answer is YES! 

As we have done each year since we opened, we are constantly working on new products or improving our existing products. But I won’t say much more at this point; we need to keep some surprises for next year, too. 

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 2 September 2019

Break Time Says Goodbye to Summer, Hello to September with Discounts!

September 2, 2019 - Saying goodbye to summer doesn’t have to be sad,  that is, if you let Break Time jewelry cheer you up with September discounts. 

Here we are, at the end of yet another summer season. The grueling temperatures have cooled, the busy streets have thinned, and we welcome a new month that will bring us into a new season. While many of us will miss the season behind us, the summer blues don’t have to thump us this time around. 

Break Time nautical jewelry is giving you a chance to shop smart this autumn with a world of new discounts you can delight in. 

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From September 1, 2019, shoppers can enjoy

10% discount off any 2 Break Time nautical bracelets (use code 10OFF at check-out)

15% discount off any 3 (with code 15OFF at checkout)

20% discount off 4 or more (use code 20OFF)

Break Time announced that the offer applies not only for the online orders, but is also available in-store. 

The discount codes will appear automatically at check-out, if conditions are met (10OFF for 2 bracelets, 15% for 3 bracelets or 20OFF for 4 bracelets).

In case you add, for instance, 4 bracelets to the shopping cart and press check-out, you will automatically see the 20OFF discount code applied. However, if you change your mind and modify your shopping cart, for instance, by removing one of the four bracelets initially selected - then the code will no longer be applied and you will have to introduce the appropriate discount code (15OFF for 3 bracelets) manually.

FYI, the offer does not apply to the Zadar key-rings collection or the replacement pins. 

If you're in Croatia and don't need to shop online, you can find Break Time’s five Croatian locations below: 

Ilica 14, ZAGREB

Zadarska 1, SPLIT

Trogirska 8, SPLIT

Antuninska 5, DUBROVNIK

Via Arsenale 10, ROVINJ

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 2 August 2019

Break Time Introduces New and Exclusive Collection: Hello, Yacht Club!

August 2, 2019 - Just one week after Croatia’s favorite jewelry team introduced a brand new collection that vows to do its part in reducing plastic waste (you can read more about the #reCYCLED by Break Time nautical jewelry collection here), the bosses at Break Time haven't quite taken a break themselves, and are busy keeping their beloved fans on their toes with the release of yet another collection.

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A perfect addition to your summer wardrobe, meet the new and exclusive Yacht Club collection by Break Time nautical jewelry! 

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“We are proudly introducing our first external collaboration, with two multi-awarded architects/designers: Attila Kim and Bogdan Ciocodeica,” announced the BT team to their fains.

Namely, the Yacht Club collection features an original stainless steel anchor, which is available in four colors (silver, rose gold, yellow gold, and black).

"Taking its inspiration from the classical anchor form, the Yacht Club Collection is a minimalist reinterpretation. Simple lines, clean surfaces for a more contemporary feel, yet embracing the history behind the symbol and - at the same time - upgrading the functional needs of the object, thus forging a timeless piece that invites you to be part of The Club,” added Attila Kim & Bogdan Ciocodeica, the Yacht Club Collection designers.

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The new Yacht Club anchor bracelets can also feature an engraving of up to 15 characters on the curved part of the bracelet, and up to 10 characters on the anchor body - because who would miss the chance to show off their signature and truly one-of-a-kind arm candy?

Even better, Break Time knows how to put your helping hands to use, and if you engrave a marine animal on your new bracelet, the price of engraving will be donated to the Blue World Institute, as part of BT’s #SAVEMARINELIFE campaign.

You can get your hands on the new Yacht Club collection online, or check it out in person at the Break Time shop at Zadarska 1 in Split or Illica 14 in Zagreb. 

You can find Break Time’s five Croatian locations below: 

Ilica 14, ZAGREB

Zadarska 1, SPLIT

Trogirska 8, SPLIT

Antuninska 5, DUBROVNIK

Via Arsenale 10, ROVINJ

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 26 July 2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Break Time Jewelry Says No to Plastic with New Collection

July 26, 2019 - From plastic bottles to nautical bracelets, meet the new Break Time #reCYCLED collection. 

Croatia is catching onto the plastic-free movement, which can be seen in just some examples of introducing reusable cups at the two sold-out Foo Fighters’ concerts at the Pula Arena to initiating actions at the Motovun Film Festival. Though it’s not hard to see why, considering the world is currently producing 300 million tons of plastic each year. 

Today, we have even more good news as we bring you yet another example of one Croatian company saying no to plastic - Break Time nautical jewelry. 

Namely, Croatia’s favorite jewelry team has introduced a brand new collection that vows to do its part in reducing plastic waste - meet the #reCYCLED by Break Time nautical jewelry collection. 

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“We are committed to doing our small part in reducing plastic waste, so we have partnered up with one of the oldest rope factories in Europe - Langman (operating since 1638 in the Netherlands), and we are proud to use - for our new #reCYCLED by Break Time® collection - their absolutely innovative yachting ropes, produced for us in beautiful colors (navy blue, red, bright orange, bright green) and - most importantly - made 100% of recycled plastic,” said Break Time when they announced the new collection on Thursday, and further revealed that 40 PET bottled are used to make 1 kilogram of yachting rope. 

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You can have a look at the entire collection here

Fortunately, you can help save the planet, too.  The new #reCYCLED by Break Time collection is available now online at www.nautical-bracelets.com and over the coming days in Break Time’s five Croatian locations: 

Ilica 14, ZAGREB

Zadarska 1, SPLIT

Trogirska 8, SPLIT

Antuninska 5, DUBROVNIK

Via Arsenale 10, ROVINJ

To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Romanian Entrepreneur Shows Business Cafe International How to Succeed in Croatia

The second Business Cafe International took place on June 10, 2019 at Cafe Lateral in Zagreb, featuring successful entrepreneurs from Jan de Jong Born from Holland, Mara Vitols Hrgetić from Latvia and Mirela Rus from Romania. It was an inspiring evening.

Among several positive initiatives to promote networking and the entrepreneurial spirit in Croatia, the recent expansion of Business Cafe to its international version has given the opportunity for Croatia's entrepreneurs to hear the experiences and success stories of foreigners who have moved to Croatia and succeeded, despite the challenging business climate. The first one was a great success a few weeks ago, with some very solid contacts made, and the second edition was no different, with three great speakers. 

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Jan de Jong Born is from the Netherlands. He moved to Croatia in September 2006 at the age of 22, and within 10 months built a call centre with 30 full-time employees. Over the past 13 years, he co-founded several companies. At the end of 2015, he made a successful exit from the call centre he had founded. Today, he is the owner of M+ Agency (a full-service digital marketing agency) and Webpower Adria (an email marketing service provider).

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Mara Vitols Hrgetić, a Latvian born in Venezuela, moved to Zagreb with her husband, a Croatian Venezuelan. She co-founded and today runs Forum event centre. She also organizes G2 meetings – conferences connecting the Croatian diaspora with local entrepreneurs.

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I am probably a little biased because we are friends, but the star of the evening was the first speaker, Mirela Rus from Romania, a very popular expat in Split who radiates positivity and determination to succeed. I had never heard Mirela speak publicly before, but it did not take long for the room to learn the secrets of her success in Croatia - the determination to succeed and unwillingness to take no for an answer. 

Having fallen in love with a little Dalmatian slice of Paradise in Vinisce over a number of years, she decided that she wanted to swap life in Romania for a little Adriatic tranquility. Together with her husband Ionut, they engaged a real estate agent to find them the perfect piece of land. Eventually, she found the land herself, but then agreed to pay the agency the full commission if the agency would check the papers and guarantee all was in order. And so the problems began. Having taken the commission, it then appeared that it was not going to be possible to build on the land after all, at least for the forseeable future. 

Determined to stay by the coast, she and Ionut started an online business selling nautical bracelets that Ionut designed and made himself, with Mirela doing all the marketing and online sales, something she had never done before. 

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She thought about opening a small store in Split, and having seen a few places in and around Diocletian's Palace, they decided to take one and open right at the end of the season, in November. Selling just bracelets. People thought they were crazy, but the shop soon became a huge hit, all the more so after an article in Slobodna Dalmacija seemingly had the whole city popping in with their fresh fish after visiting the famous Split fish market. One store became two, became five, and Break Time Croatia now has outlets in Split (two), Dubrovnik, Rovinj and, most recently, Zagreb. You can learn more about this wonderful startup on the official Break Time Croatia website

And there were plenty of entrepreneurs waiting to learn more when the formal presentations had finished. Mirela in her prime.

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A good idea, absolute determination, and the refusal to take no for an answer. Simple ingredients which also work in Croatia, it seems. 

And it seems that there is finally some progress on the building plot which has been stuck for so many years, and so finally they may be able to build their Dalmatian dream, from where they can continue their successful Croatian business. 

To learn more about Business Cafe and future events featuring both Croatian and international speakers, visit the official website

Want to learn more about foreign entrepreneurs who are enjoying success in Croatia?

Friday, 31 May 2019

Hello, Istria! Break Time Rovinj Reopens June 1

You know that we’re creeping up to the start of summer when Break Time makes their mark. And on Saturday, June 1, the highly anticipated reopening of Croatia’s favorite nautical jewelry shop will officially mark the summer season in Rovinj.

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After a long winter slumber, Break Time’s Rovinj shop is back and better than ever - and after a little rest and relaxation, they are more than ready to tackle another busy season with their faithful customers. From Saturday, June 1, Break Time is back in business with working hours from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. 

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But in proper Break Time fashion, you know that’s not the only big news they have in store (literally). 

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Namely, in addition to Break Time’s fab selection of their best-selling nautical bracelets from the current collections (including the stainless steel anchors, boat and shackles), shoppers at the Rovinj location will be able to browse and buy a varied selection of their initial (2015/2016) collection of alloy anchor bracelets! Hello, Break Time’s first outlet shop! 

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Furthermore, you know Break Time couldn’t announce the start to the summer without a touch of something new. After introducing the all black Split by Break Time anchor bracelet in large (4cm) and medium (3cm) sizes, fans can now rock the mini (2cm) version, too! 

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They’ve even added a vibrant collection of new paracord colors as part of their Split collection, because who doesn’t love a pop of color? You can find Break Time's new arrivals here

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With so many exciting new things brewing at Break Time, shoppers in Rovinj are truly offered the best bracelets Croatia can offer. 

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If you’re visiting Istria this summer, be sure to add Break Time to your Rovinj itinerary. You can find Break Time at Via Arsenale 10 (on the corner with Zdenac 12) - and if those Rovinj alleyways are a bit too much, give Break Time Rovinj a call at +385-75-22-145, and they will guide you to nautical jewelry heaven. 

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Not in Rovinj and still want a piece of Break Time? Lucky for you, these nautical bracelets can be found in four other locations, including Zagreb, Split (Zadarska 1 and Trogirska 8 ) and Dubrovnik

Break Time jewelry boasts over 300 models and color combinations, and they even offer custom engraving. Best yet, if you choose to engrave a marine animal (dolphin, sea turtle, shark, devil ray or whale) on your Break Time bracelet, the engraving price will be donated to the Blue World Institute, as part of Break Time's #SaveMarineLife campaign!

Break Time’s varied collections, from big anchor bracelets to rope necklaces and key rings, fit the mold of every human - regardless of gender, fashion sense (or lack of one), and status. And if you can’t make it into one of Break Time’s Croatian locations, don’t fret - their online shop is just one click away.

Break Time is a Croatian brand established in 2015 by Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu, two Romanian entrepreneurs that have chosen the sunny coastal city of Split as their home. Inspired by the Adriatic Sea, all the Break Time jewelry pieces are handmade by Leonard, and the use of high-quality materials, attention to detail and constant development of new collections are the ingredients that have made the brand so successful in less than four years.

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To make sure you never miss a Break Time beat, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

To read more about Split, follow TCN's dedicated page

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