In many ways female entrepreneur and founder of Creative2, Marija Avdic, reminds of the little mermaid from the famous Danish fairy tale: a beautiful and passionate woman, determined to follow her heart. The little mermaid went ashore, and Marija went overseas, from Denmark to Singapore, where she started a business of selling handcrafted Italian lamps. But just like any other fairytale, the path towards the goal is not easy. “But not impossible either,” says Marija Avdic. Get inspiration from her story, see the light!
Mission impossible. These two words are her mantra, and according to her they are no fairy tale, they’re fact. Love was the reason she moved to Singapore, where her husband was already established in a job. “My friends in Denmark asked: ‘What? You’ll move to the other side of the world – without a job? What are you going to do?’ My friends were worried, but I wasn’t. I would pursue a job, and I would not be choosy,” says Marija.
Finding a job would not be the most difficult thing, instead it would be tough to leave her family. From her Serbian roots, one of her strongest values is being close to her family. She was excited for a new life chapter with marriage and a life overseas, though. She was happy with her new life in Singapore, where she had her husband and an office job, and she was in touch daily with her family in Denmark through Skype and telephone.
Then, in 2012 her world fell apart when her sister passed away. The distance to Denmark, to everything, was suddenly way too far.
“No words are sufficient enough to describe how much it hurts to lose someone you love so deeply as your sister,” says Marija. She was very affected by her loss, in fact so much that she quit her new job in Singapore and returned to Denmark to be with her family. Her life was on standby, and she only survived the days from the love of her husband, family, and friends. She invested most of her time reading motivational books, but she needed an extra kick to get herself back in the game.
As the old phrase goes, there is always light at the end of the tunnel even in our darkest hours, and in Marija’s case, it literary was lights. Lights from a little Italian craft shop, to be exactly.
Creative2 – me and you
“I felt like I stepped into a real fairy tale, everything was so beautiful: the lamps created an almost magical atmosphere.”
Marija recalls when she walked into a little artisan lamp boutique on a holiday with her husband in Italy. Each lamp was handmade, and they were not made solely for illumination, the ceramic masterpieces were outstanding art pieces perfect for a glowing home decoration. While most visitors take home a little souvenir, Marija wanted to invest in all of the lamps.
“I felt an immediate urge to be a part of this.”
After her sister’s death, she desired flexibility in her life. That way she can be close to her loved ones no matter where in the world she is. She believed being her own boss was the answer. In 2015, one year after her visit in Italy, she had gained enough courage to contact the lamp designer and tell her about her new bright idea: “I want to sell these lamps.”
The owner was fascinated about the passionate personality of Marija, and she was given the right as the only person in Singapore to be a retailer of these luxury lamps.
“I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to run a business, and I had no experience in lamps either.”
But she did have two words in her head: mission impossible.
“Jump, just jump into it! You know how to swim already, so why not take the chance? You cannot fail, you can only learn more.”
She named her business Creative2 – me and you. Her lamps are shining bright in many Singaporean homes already, and the interest in the handcrafted ceramic lamps keep on increasing. It takes two months to have one made and delivered, and the waiting list is packed. To display the lamps, Marija uses her own home as showroom, which is delicately decorated with the help from her husband. Here customers get to fully and truly experience of the lamps, together with decor inspiration and advice.
“I want them to feel like how I felt when I saw these lamps myself for the very first time.”
A bright mission
With no knowledge of entrepreneurship, Marija is constantly improving herself through learning by doing, and has also taken courses in leadership, brand and business management. Today, she also sells pearls, yacht rentals, catering services, and event management.
So what’s next? “I want to inspire women to succeed. I didn’t have years of experience running a business when I started out as an entrepreneur, but I knew I was in charge of making an effort, to take the first step. When you really want something, you go for it – you have to. I hope I can inspire women to take action and follow their dreams, knowing they are responsible for their own happiness.”
From experience Marija knows about dark phases of life. From escaping war in Yugoslavia to Denmark, living in asylum and losing a loved one. But she has never accepted being a victim.
“Since I was little, I knew I was in charge of myself. It was my responsibility to make myself succeed in life, and nobody else could be blamed if it didn’t happen.”
Marija will continue to light up Singaporean homes, but she is determined to light up hopes, too.
“If I can do it, so can others. We have to stop postpone our dreams, but realize them when we have them. We only live once, so we have to make the most out of it. The mission is possible.”