Succession in Slovenia: the story of Majnika Herbal Garden
Katja Temnik has a background in Political science and as professional basketball player. Nevertheless, she decided to pursue biodynamic farming career, taking over her family business. Having grown up in nature, taking over the family business was not a burden for her, but on the contrary, it was a pleasure and a unique challenge.
To date, most of Katja’s work relates farming, marketing, sales, delivery of goods, and day-to-day business paperwork. She is also working on expanding the scope of her business. Her aim is to moderately grow of the business and to obtain reputable international certificates in organic farming. Her challenge is to expand the business within the capacity of a product of sufficient quality. The land and the people who work alongside it have an important role to play.
Image credit: Andraž Purg
Some of the challenges during and after the transfer included the lack of financial and marketing knowledge, as well as accounting. However, Katja’s success in transferring the company was also facilitated by an accounting company who supported the process as well as various training programmes and workshops on entrepreneurship that she took.
Additionally, Katja’s mother, Majda, is still involved in the company, as she is a treasure trove of knowledge about herbs and has the most experience with them. Katja looks after the whole business and describes herself as a modern farmer who has to be very entrepreneurial and independent. Her biggest challenge is how to maintain the original idea that her mum had about cultivating and producing herbs and herb products and adapt to the market with new marketing and promotion methods.
Working with the soil and plants is on the opposite side from working in the virtual world and representatives of the senior generation like her mum know how big this gap is: “field work makes you feel, touch and smell plants, soil and animals, even people, whereas seeing photographs on the smart phone or computer is just an illusion.”
Nevertheless, today, the latter is almost a must if you want to promote your company and work. And it turned out that what was the biggest challenge was also one of the most important success factors i. e. develop promotion through social media and technology tools but at the same time put at least as much as or even more effort in maintaining the “real” field work, the real contact with the soil, live plants and animals and live contacts with people.
“But I’ve learned the most from my mother.” the interviewee adds.