Author: Ajla Omerhodzic
The moment when buttoning the favorite pair of jeans becomes an issue, and the fear that none of the trendy clothes from the closet are going to fit anymore arises, tends to be one of the nerve-wracking times for future moms-to-be, regardless of their style of choice.
As the otherwise blissful time of welcoming a new family member progresses, thanks to an overflow of hormones and emotions, to some women this turning point could be stressful to the point of tearing up. Although it may seem insignificant compared to all the wonders that the outcome brings, finding high-quality pregnancy clothing appears to be a true lifesaver in such situations.
At the time when the fashion stores in Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed to provide tons of fashion choices for expectant mothers and this type of clothing items have been quite limited in variety, a local B&H brand - ‘Pcelica Maja’ - has accepted the major fashion challenge to make women feel good about their inevitable, new curves and dress their bumps in a satisfying, modern manner.
‘Pcelica Maja’ is a family-owned business that was established in 2004 in Bileca, a small town in south of Herzegovina, and it was initially focused on producing clothes for small children. Through committed work and efforts, the small business has grown into a recognizable fashion brand on the territory of this country, since it offers a great value for money. It has turned out to be an example of a successful local business that offers quality products that have become a real competition to commercially-known, imported brands of the same sort.
The pregnancy clothing line of ‘Pcelica Maja’ was launched in April 2019, and it represented the first B&H brand that offered a wider range of apparel for pregnant women. It currently consists of two fashion collections, one designed for spring and summer, and the other one tailored for colder fall and winter months.
The spring/summer collection was launched first, and it included the pregnancy clothing essentials, which are comfortable pregnancy leggings and light cotton t-shirts. A positive reaction from the customers then paved the way for expanding the clothing line onto the fall/winter collection of thick pregnancy leggings, long-sleeved shirts and pregnancy tracksuit bottoms - all made from warm materials.
While the pregnancy clothing line of ‘Pcelica Maja’ primarily focuses on serial production with the aim to achieve the most affordable prices on the market, it is open for making custom-made dresses for women in advanced stages of pregnancy.
Speaking for Pulse.ba, ‘Pcelica Maja’ owner Maja Arsenovic spoke about the experience of embarking on a journey of starting a small-sized business and of how this unique brand actually became popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “At the time when industry in our local area appeared dead, it was either complete madness or courage to engage in starting our own production. That is exactly what my parents, Drago and Snezana, did - they started producing clothes for babies and named it ‘Pcelica Maja’ (‘Maya the Bee’). It would be nice to say that they started from nothing, but unfortunately they even started from a thick minus, swamped with loans. The road to success was marked by the great struggle and perseverance of my parents, the harmony of our family and love. Each dime we earned was invested into jobs, machines and workers. We invested in knowledge because we believed that knowledge is the power in our hands, and we did not miss any opportunity for improvement”, Arsenovic explained.
She added that, although it might seem easy now, the struggle never stopped and each year was a new challenge, with the belief that the key to survival is to change and constantly adapt to what the market imposes.
In addition, Arsenovic emphasized the important role of social media in modern society in free advertising. With the brand recognizing the opportunity that these modern Internet tools provide in further development of business, nearly 90,000 people are now following the brand’s official Instagram profiles, ‘Pcelica Maja’ kids brand, and ‘Pcelica Maja’ design, as well as the Facebook profile.
“We could not be any happier with receiving such immense support. These people trust us, follow us and reward our work and we spend a lot of time communicating with them and listening to their needs”, Arsenovic noted, announcing that the next step in expanding the production was introducing a line of maternity sleepwear, suitable for pregnancy and nursing.
The idea to include a pregnancy clothing line into the brand’s offer emerged in late 2018, due to Arsenovic’s personal experience and needs during her pregnancy. “In the fall of 2018, I was pregnant, and one day, while spending time in Bileca, I was telling my parents that I had to go to Dubrovnik to buy some comfortable clothes for pregnant women. At that moment the idea to start sewing our own pregnancy clothing was born”, the brand owner described, stressing that at the given moment it occurred to her that many women in Herzegovina do not have the opportunity to go to Dubrovnik, or Sarajevo whenever they wished to wear something comfortable during pregnancy.
“That day I did not go to Dubrovnik. Instead, I went to our factory and - together with mom - started making leggings for myself. That is how it all started. After nine months of my pregnancy and the first testing, the products were released in April 2019”, Arsenovic explained.
‘Pcelica Maja’ pregnancy line is available for purchase at the 10 biggest ‘Bingo’ markets across the country, several kids’ boutiques that the brand partnered up with, and it can also be ordered through the brand’s official social media profiles, where all other additional information can be found. One of the ongoing plans is to expand the list of stores at which these products can be bought, to make it more accessible to women living in smaller areas.