Textile companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina faced numerous challenges during the pandemic. Orders and sales significantly dropped, and supply chains were disrupted, making the purchase of raw materials very difficult from early February 2020. The industry estimates that every third job lost in the country during the pandemic occurred in the textile sector. One of the companies facing these challenges was a clothing company with a long history: Sana Linea from Kostajnica, in the north of BiH. Established in 1947, the company currently employs 74 workers and is an entirely women-led business. They have 13 retail stores across Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as two in Serbia.
Marijana Bučevac is the CEO of Sana Linea. She explains that the company was doing well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when they were planning expansion of their product line and the number of employees. However, the pandemic brought a halt to this development and jeopardised even the existing operational performance of the company. “We were working on the development of a new collection. As everyone knows, the pandemic created major problems in the procurement of materials and delivery . In our case, one of the problems was also the financing of certain special machines in a higher price range, and we needed them for the necessary modernisation of our production line,” says Marijana.
Just at that time, they saw an announcement by the EU-funded EU4BusinessRecovery project and they applied. The support from the project came at the right time, and the European Union supported them with the purchase of special machines for the production, and with the procurement of raw materials. The project also contributed to a healthier environment for employees, with a partial reconstruction of the factory. Marijana describes one of the other important investments being the development of a mobile application for iOS and Android platforms that allowed them to improve online sales and reach a larger number of customers.
Today, the company is working on strengthening its brand even more and expanding its sales to countries outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. By constantly monitoring changes in the market, the company is operating successfully for now.
Marijana explains that the investment in machinery and marketing contributed to increases in their sales. “Through this support, we managed to modernise our production by purchasing special machinery, and hired 10 new workers. We also developed our web shop and webpage so we can reach out to new customers. We have started exporting to the EU,” she Marijana.
About the project
The EU-funded “COVID-19 Investment Response – EU4 Business Recovery” project is implemented by the International Labour Organisation, in partnership with the German development agency GIZ and the United Nations Development Programme. The aim of the project is to support the recovery of the BiH economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific objective is to provide emergency support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to ensure their business continuity, retain more than 1,000 jobs, and create at least 100 new jobs, especially supporting women entrepreneurs, young people and other vulnerable groups.
Photo credits: Sana Linea
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