Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Dejan Letić
Jovana Lea Simić, co-owner of the JDM Ltd. and creator of the food brand Little Blue Pot, is a great lover of gastronomy, even though she is only 26 years old, and we can conclude that she is a real example of a successful and responsible entrepreneur in Serbia. Together with her fiancé Darko Mandić she managed to launch her brand in the U.S. market. Darko is 24 years old, and is also a co-owner of JDM Ltd. and creator of association BEUM, as well as the project Belgrade Model of the European Union. This successful couple wants to motivate all young people, and show that with the right ideas and hard work they can achieve all their dreams.
At the UEPS award ceremony, held at the Belgrade Youth Centre in late December, Little Blue Pot, together with the agency Coba & Associates, won a silver award for packaging and industrial design.
Media Marketing: Little Blue Pot has still not celebrated its first birthday. How and when did it all start?
Jovana and Darko: We both found jobs at large firms before graduation. Jovana Lea was a coordinator of HR services, and Darko was a director of the largest domestic honey export company. As we already had the knowledge in the field of business and a strong passion for the areas of food and gastronomy, we decided to start our own company. Little Blue Pot was the first brand we developed and represents a line of luxury food products with a high degree of added value. We designed it in order to introduce it to high-end markets and apply the knowledge and skills that we had acquired beforehand. We started from the idea of Jovana Lea for a non-standard recipe, over finding a partner for filling service, to the selection of the best design agency.
Media Marketing: Where did the name Little Blue Pot come from?
Jovana Lea and Darko: Little Blue Pot is an anecdote in our family, where for measure in many recipes we use a little blue enamel pot, of a non-defined volume, of the like that our grandmothers used instead of scales. The inspiration for the recipes was taken from Jovana’s grandmother whose cooking was very avant-garde for her time (truffles, mouldy cheese, a combination of meat with fruit and cakes with unusual spices).
Media Marketing: Your business isn’t even a full year old yet but you have already crossed the Atlantic Ocean. How did you manage to reach the U.S. market so quickly?
Jovana Lea and Darko: It took a little more than half a year to go from the idea to the first sale, which we consider extremely rapid implementation, and the icing on the cake was the express support of partners from the United States who decided to import the products and offer them to the market, where they have been since 30 December.
Media Marketing: Along with an excellent product and service, communication and advertising are very important in the world of entrepreneurship. Are you active in gastronomy and food fairs and has there been some awards for the product quality?
Jovana Lea and Darko: We both visited the world’s largest food fairs, but since our line of sweets and jams was completed in October 2015, there was no opportunity for presentations of the Little Blue Pot. In 2016, we plan to participate in trade fairs in the United States and Great Britain.
Media Marketing: You took home the silver UEPS award for design and packaging at the Youth House. What does this award mean to you?
Jovana Lea and Darko: We were very happy that the work of the agency that we chose was recognized, especially since we had actively participated in the whole process and worked with a young and extremely talented designer.
Media Marketing: As young entrepreneurs, what are the challenges you face in the harsh market both here and on the U.S. East Coast?
Jovana Lea and Darko: If you have a premium product in premium packaging, properly positioned in the global market, you can easily stand out in comparison to other premium products. Of course, in order to ensure constant quality you need comprehensive monitoring of all the components that make it.
Media Marketing: You have left in your wake a number of events and excellent results, and you are only 26 and 24 years old. Aside from the Little Blue Pot, which of your other successful projects would you like to mention?
Jovana Lea and Darko: We would single out the largest project of our association, which was held for the fifth time last year. It’s the international youth conference – BEUM, which is the largest simulation of the EU institutions in the world, and a unique opportunity for young people to learn about the way in which EU bodies work, by actively taking the role of EU officials. Young people are full of positive and negative preconceptions about the EU, and BEUM is a unique opportunity for them to see the benefits and challenges of this complex system.
Media Marketing: BEUM is education, while Little Blue Pot is production. How did you find the connection and how do you maintain the balance between these two projects?
Jovana Lea and Darko: Since we have a minimum of five active projects at any given moment, we use several applications for managing time and tasks that help us in keeping a written record of everything we do: activities, external communications, deadlines, etc. We have networked calendars and we try not to duplicate in any way.
Media Marketing: Does that mean that one of you two could be a future Minister of Economy of the Republic of Serbia?
Jovana Lea and Darko: At this time – and in the foreseeable future – we will strive to develop our company and association, in order to be actively able to change things for the better, giving an example to young people that it’s possible to successfully do business and live in Serbia.