My name is Marko Bauman and I have always been web enthusiast and explored the possibilities it offers. I was born before the internet appeared and thus got to know it in the end of primary school and at the beginning of high school. I can still remember the beeping sound of a modem connecting to the internet. I hoped that Irc will not be too busy to enter the chat room I wanted to join.
As early as in 2000 I created my first “Facebook” profile page using Frontpage. A couple of years later I created an website in which I offered a service of wedding filming. I bought a digital camera of average quality, learnt film editing, and thus was ready for my student job.
At that time there wasn’t many web pages offering wedding filming, therefore my web page soon became the first result in browsers (Yahoo, Google). For a couple of years, all the available dates for wedding filming were taken. A smile comes to my face when I remember that at almost every wedding there was a wedding guest whose camera was quite better than mine.
I have been working for the company Intera, d. o. o. since 2007. Intera is a company which develops business web applications. I work as a product marketing manager and I partly work also in sales department. We are a great team and I enjoy my work.
Katja and I have been together for half of our lives, and we have been married for the last 7 years. We have three daughters; Hana is 8 years old, Neža is 6 years old and Liza is a year and a half. We both like to discover new places and enjoy our time by the sea as well as in the snow. Last couple of years we have been trying also motorhoming and found passion in it. Travelling and active free time is our passion and we want also our daughters to adopt it.
Where did the idea for blog come from?
Let’s go off is basically travel and trip blog in slovenian language, which I started in May 2016. At some point I felt I had to start to create something additional on the web. I was aware of the fact that my time is limited, therefore I looked for something that I could do occasionally, to express my creativity and at the same time create a product which would be valuable also in 20 years.
The idea came quite naturally as blogging was very popular in 2016. I chose a niche in travel blogging because our family likes to travel, go on trips, and in general we like to spend our time outdoors. I therefore launched a web blog naoff.si and created the content. On my blog, you will find many photos from different places we visited.
The main purpose of the blog is providing ideas for daily trips and trips lasting several days, different travels and wandering with motorhome, as well as creating our family memories. In my first post on the blog I wrote: ‘I want to save the moments we spend together in order to be able to remember them on 31st December 2033.
How to upgrade a blog with an online store?
Last year (in 2018) I was looking for a way to step forward with my project. At first, I was testing affiliate marketing a couple of months but I soon realized, it is hard to make any money with it in Slovenian language.
Then I started to warm up for an online store. In the last couple of years, I have been interested in the platform Shopify and different dropshipping models. However, I did not get any further from research and a demo project I created.
The idea of upgrading our blog to an online store soon overwhelmed me, thus everything went on quite fast. My wife Katja soon became enthusiastic about the extra business and actively participated in our family project from the beginning.
At first place, we wanted to create boutique online store which would upgrade the blog, and its content would be connected with travelling, motorhoming or content related to ‘let’s go off’. We decided that our target audience would include camping and hiking lovers, and all those who like to spend time in nature.
Our great wish was to add to our products personal touch or creative content by finishing the products up partly or maybe even by producing them ourselves in future. At the same time, we wanted to create relaxed products, which would help people to relax in their fast paced life, go off, have a break and take a breath.
Already at the beginning, we decided to sell only products which we will use also ourselves. We set the condition to sell only eco-friendly, healthy for both people and nature. Importing plastic and other products from China was crossed from our list at the beginning.
The process of finding an idea for products was at least two to three months long. We wrote down different ideas and search on the internet a lot. The list of ideas was never-ending, however, there wasn’t a single idea that would draw our attention in order to continue the story.
How did we find the right products to sell?
One Sunday morning, while I was cooking coffee in a metal enamel Turkish coffee pot and Katja was drinking tea from a metal enamel mug, we started to think about the idea of selling nostalgic enamel mugs and coffee pots with printed unique motivational design, intended for all those who like camping, hiking and spending time in nature.
We conducted mini market research and found out that there are many personalized ceramic mugs and glass mugs selling on the internet, but unique enamel mugs were much less present.
After a short analysis, we slept on the idea, and it still seemed a good one, which was promising. From our experience, metal enamel mugs are a great choice while travelling or on holidays, they are very useful in camps and motorhomes.
Thus we had basic products, suitable to our niche and target audience.
Starting our online store
We rolled up our sleeves and set to work. It was hard work. There were also many obstacles we had to overcome in the last months. At first we had problems with finding suitable supplier, several series of mugs from the first supplier from abroad were destroyed, we had to return big parcels to the second supplier (because of unsuitability), we had difficulties in finding a suitable printer’s to make labels in screen printing technique etc. We lost at least 2,000 €.
Technology process of printing on enamel is quite complicated and it was hard to find suitable suppliers who could have assured the adequate quality.
We didn’t give up. We strongly believed in our story and wished to produce quality final product, which we will be happy and proud to show to everyone.
We managed to make an agreement with two suppliers, we also found the suitable printer’s, which makes screen printing. For the realization of our visual ideas on the products is responsible Kristina Smodila, who does superior job.
In our online store we offer metal enamel products of Slovenian producer EMO NOVUM, d. o. o. from Celje and metal enamel products METALAC POSUĐE from Serbia.
Let me introduce enamel as the suitable material for kitchenware. All experts agree that enamelware is the healthiest choice in our kitchen. The products in our online store are made of steel tinplate coated with high-quality enamel. Enamel is surface coating, which is very important because it neutralises negative effects of contact between food and kitchenware. Technically, the enamel is glassy metal oxide. Professionals claim that the enamel coating proved the healthiest option in all tests. It is supposed to be healthier than teflon, inox or aluminium kitchenware. In all cooking conditions the enamel kitchenware is neutral and has to effect on food.
Additionally, in our online store we offer also high-quality ceramic mugs with different unique designs. We offer also mugs with personalized text.
Our mission and vision
At first we wish our online store Time4off.com to be a long-term project and above all the project of our whole family. We often joke that the project is our fourth baby as we attentively care for it and wish it would make progress every year. We would like also our daughters to take part in numerous tasks of managing online store.
Regarding any questions you may have, we stand available at firstname.lastname@example.org. We answer every email.