A family firm that’s looking to the future




For each of the thousands of new companies set up with the support of the Self-Employment Programme there is always more than just one person who benefits—whether these additional beneficiaries are future employees, customers or members of the wider community. In many cases, too, the story behind the new venture involves more than just the brave individual who applies to the Programme, often including supportive friends and members of that person’s family.

Danka Miceva’s beauty and hairdressing salon in Strumica is a case in point, demonstrating a shared family ambition and dedication to achieving success. 45-year old Danka and her husband Goran have combined their skills and experience, as well as the help and enthusiasm of their two children, with support from the SelfEmployment Programme to make Studio Fashion the place to go for beauty treatment in Strumica. Danka had already gained professional training as a cosmetician in Bulgaria and over a decade’s experience before applying for the Programme, while her husband had worked for 20 years as a hairdresser.

We were both working informally and, despite the insecurity, we were hesitant for a long time about setting up a an official company,” says Danka. “It was really only when we learnt about the details of the Programme that we both agreed it was worth taking the risk and that I should apply. The basic business training I received has really helped us get over the initial challenges of a formal business and time has shown we made the right decision.“


Studio Fashion has built a strong reputation and a growing clientele in Strumica and already employs five staff. The couple support each other in all aspects of the business and their children help out in the salon on a daily basis. Indeed, the 100 m2 studio is actually located in the same building as the house where they live – a truly family business. “We’re really happy to see our children involved in our story,” says Danka. “They’ve shown a lot of interest from the start and given us some great ideas and suggestions. We’re hoping they will want to take over the studio some time in the future and so we’re all working to build sound foundations for evolving a long-term business.

It’s important to look ahead!” The long-term strategy they have devised for Studio Fashion has two main elements. The first and ongoing focus is on marketing and promotion to keep building up their customer base, including experimenting with new services and offers. The second element is to establish their salon as a training centre with certified programmes in cosmetics and hairdressing. Their plan is to expand the premises by another 50m2 to make space for young and ambitious stylists to learn the business. „So far at our studio we have already trained many young people from all over the country,” says Goran. “Some of them are still with us, and others opened their own businesses. We are proud to be part of their professional development. We want to give the young people a chance to learn, and for them to do that in a professional environment.

We have been helped significantly by the Strumica Artisans Chamber, so we hope that soon we‘ll be able to open the first centre of this kind in this part of the country.“ Once the training centre has been established, the Micevi family business will be set to involve even more beneficiaries. For UNDP’s Head of Social Inclusion Unit, Ms. Vesna Bisheva-Dzuteska, these knock-on benefits of new companies are part of the power of the Programme. “Between 2007 and 2015 some 1,353 artisan businesses have been registered,” she explains, “and although that number is impressive in itself, it’s even more impressive when you consider how many other people are involved in each success. It’s especially gratifying to see a family business expand, because that gives a lot of hope for the future and the generations to come.”

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