Marta Grnarova

Mechanical engineer who is  running a process equipment production company Zavar, Managing director of Zavar Design, president of Macedonian association of metal industry.

Building the carrier as part of family owned company for special welding and customised process equipment for food, chemical and pharma industry, develops the sub brand Zavar Design for design objects from metal with a focus on designed radiators.

Last eight years is general manager of the company and since 2012 takes part in organisation of Skopje Design week as a programme director.

In which way does the Skopje Design Week support the Macedonian designers in the development of their brands?
Supporting Macedonian brands and developing Macedonian design scene is among the main focuses of Skopje Design Week. First, we offer an exhibition place where everyone is motivated to exhibit and promote their new products and new brands. Then, we offer a palette of workshops and educational programmes for all aspects of the design sphere, from creative to business and marketing. What is most important is that we work as a platform connecting businesses, industry and investors with designers. In that way, we encourage them to begin to materialize their ideas and to enter the design business realm. After four years of working on this we are proud to see that some of the festival volunteers and students who took part in the programme in the previous years are exhibitors this year, with their fresh new brands. So good luck to all of them!

Which is the most common mistake you can notice in Macedonian design companies?
In a market & industry that are so small in general, especially regarding design brands, it is difficult to generalize. But still, there are some things that can be pinpointed. I will analyse them in two different groups.

The first group are the leaders: fresh design brands that are implementing state-of-the-art knowledge in design, technology and marketing. I see a big potential in these brands and they are already exporting and working on promotion abroad. What we lack here is historical knowledge in building brands, especially internationally; also, these companies are usually small, so their marketing budget is very limited, as is access to international press coverage.

On the other hand, there is the second group of companies with a tradition of production and sales in the small region around Macedonia, with relatively old technology and without real understanding of design.

Our goal, through the concept and activities of Skopje Design Week, is to help both groups in solving this problems, by offering an opportunity to meet with experts, experienced professionals from design sector, foreign designers and press.

In which way does SDW collaborate with the others Balkan countries?
SDW is right from the start one of the main initiators of creating a Balkan design scene by continuously creating joint projects. So far, we’ve had many activities that are made together with other festivals from the region and with relevant design institutions and companies – exhibitions, lectures, conferences, design projects. One of them is upgrading Young Balkan Designers from a national to a regional design contest. This edition of Skopje Design Week will also feature the official conference establishing the Balkan Design Network.

You are also an entrepreneur managing your family business with Zavar and you are focusing on design, which skill you think it is necessary to be successful in the design business?
Design business is not the easiest one, especially when you try to establish a recognized design brand. There are many points for the success: good, or nowadays perfect product, technology for cost-effective production, good sales and logistic concept, story that will communicate with the public and big visibility. All skills that cover these points are needed to be successful today.

How would you explain to a kid of 10 years old what design is?
Design is making beautiful things that people will fall in love with   immediately  and will know what to do with them.

(This was not easy one, I had to write the definition first and then translate into my daughter’s language).