Doing business and studying at the same time, that is the daily bread of many of MVSO´s students. There is no doubt that this combination is very time-consuming. In the following lines, read all about how Marek Burkert, a student in the second year of his studies, manages to successfully bring these two activities together.
Please tell us, Marek, something about your business.
Of course, we could hardly carry out this interview without explaining that first. I devote myself to the sale of home-made products, everything from various spice mixtures to meat spreads and even cosmetics.
So, you are right in tune with contemporary trends at a time when people are trying to move away from mass-produced items and come home to a more traditional approach and small-scale production. Was this the specific impulse which led you to engage in this kind of business?
The beginnings of my business activity were a bit more complex than that. Some time back, I was living in England, where I noticed that, even in the supermarkets, products are labelled with detailed information regarding their producers as well as their ingredients. That caught my interest, because I had not noticed that sort of thing in Czech shops. After my return from England, I started to spend more time at local farmers´ markets and to ponder over how I could make use of what I had experienced in England within the framework of starting my own business here. It was at that time that the thought came to my mind of setting up a business which would respond to the growing demand for these sorts of products.
Caption: The name of the firm, Podomacku, means something like Homestyle. On the photo is a recipe for toast with fruit and chocolate-hazelnut spread.
How do you target and contact your potential customers?
In the beginning we set out on a relatively conservative path by opening a brick-and-mortar store. After two years of functioning in that manner, we established our e-shop and now we are trying to do more business online. Personally, I view this as the right route to take, because we now have a much better overview of the needs of our customers and can address them more effectively.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you did all that? How do you work with your customers at the present time?
It is essential to have a live presence on social networks. We are most intensively active on Facebook and Instagram just now, but we are also considering adding ourselves to Pinterest. In addition, we also take advantage of the YouTube channel, where we endeavour to present recipes and how-to instructions to inspire our customers by showing them practical uses for the products we are offering. Both school and my professional experience have taught me that it is work with content which is really an important element in doing business.
And what awaits you in the future? Do you have any visions as to your future studies and career?
As for business, it is my plan to prepare an e-book with recipes which would be available for downloading free of charge in our e-shop. We would also like to start working on new products. I am especially interested in 3D printing, so maybe that is where we want to go, but for now I would like to be a bit secretive, so I won´t share any more info on that topic just yet.
As for my school activities, I am slowly but surely starting to write my Bachelor´s thesis and I would gladly acquire further marketing experience while I am still a student. Mrs. Sasínková, PhD, my thesis supervisor, has arranged for me to have an internship at a marketing agency, where I trust that I will gain new experience and inspiration which will help me to achieve further success in both my studies and my business in the future.