Saša Miklášová: Family businesses are doing fine

There is still room to do business and to do things better in Slovakia, says founder of the well-known online portal with handmade products,

SAShE ArtPicnic, selling of handmade productsSAShE ArtPicnic, selling of handmade products (Source: Gabriel Kuchta)

A glossary of words as well as exercise related to this article are also published online.

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): How did your family inspire and influence you in your activities?

Saša Miklášová (SM): The birth of my son was a good occasion and space to take a break from the company, which I really needed at that point. For over a year I did not follow our website nor what was going on in the community. But then I began to miss it and gradually my creative energy began to come up with new things for SAShE again. Now that we have a family I look at the products [on our website] through a different lens. I make different decisions. I now perceive the offer of SAShE through the eyes of a parent. I am sure it helps our customers, since many of them also have families and expect us to offer a wide range of original products to satisfy various customer needs.

TSS: How do you balance your work with your family?

SM: I finished my maternity leave just a few months ago, but thanks to my mum, and sometimes the nursery, I could come to work at least once a week and try to jump back onto the moving train. Every working mum knows that it is not easy. The exhausting thing for me is that I am trying to squeeze the workload that other colleagues do in five days into one day. I admit it does get stressful, but I feel that even my part-time return helped the firm carry out various plans and that motivate me. I try to spend more time with my son on the other days. I often “steal” him for myself, skip kindergarten and we take a nice trip or we just hang out at home and play together all day. I confess there is no time left for my personal interests, but I hope I will be able to get back to some of my creative hobbies.

TSS: Is family a driving force or does it rather inhibit one’s professional goals?

SM: That very much depends on the life phase when children enter the life of a woman. I managed to get significant professional satisfaction before the birth of my son and his arrival was rather a possibility for me to relax from work. On the other hand I know many women who found and pursued their professional goals during their maternity leave, and many of them never returned to their previous profession.

TSS: What are you planning for SAShe in the near future?

SM: SAShE is a living organism, a growing community and perhaps it’s never going to be fully completed. We still pay attention to the demands of our customers, of the creators that have registered with us, as well as market trends; we try to incorporate them into the functionalities of the e-shop, as well as into our marketing. Our long-term goal is to educate creators about online marketing, so that their work gets a dignified presentation and their brands can grow. Our aim is to help them build strong, original Slovak brands worthy of love.

TSS: What is the position of small local and family businesses in Slovakia?

SM: I have keenly observed the revival of the family business in Slovakia. It’s doing just fine. We are returning to the tradition that was artificially interrupted for 40 years but the wounds it left on our small and middle-sized entrepreneurship will last for a long time. That is why I am a fan of every honest family business, like the family brands on SAShE. There are some that literally grew before our eyes, they began to thrive and the creator was subsequently able to employ family members and set up a company. And then there are all the farming and gastronomic family brands, which help us to live healthier. I keep my fingers crossed for them to stand firm against the pressure of bureaucracy and discrimination. And I encourage all those who are thinking about setting up a family company. Go for it, there is still room for business in Slovakia, there is still room to do things better.

The Spectator College is a programme designed to support the study and teaching of English in Slovakia, as well as to inspire interest in important public issues among young people. The project was created by The Slovak Spectator in cooperation with their exclusive partner – the Leaf Academy.

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