Old School Ilica

Popluni Biošić

Ilica 96

Duvet Hand Restoration, Cleaning and Refurbishing

Alenka Antolić-Soban – owner
+385 (0)1 3778352

Working hours: 08:00 – 12:00, 17:00 − 20.00

"Everything made out of feathers is also machine-stitched and treated. Wool products are entirely hand-made, e.g. the mattress protectors. I do it the traditional way, by stretching the material over a frame, which takes skill and technique."

Oaza: What is the history of this business? When did it start operating?
Alenka Antolić-Soban: My mother moved into the shop in 1978 and before that it was owned by Jews who managed to survive the war. The shop was established in 1936 and was owned by a Jewish woman.

Oaza: What exactly do you produce and what services do you provide?
AAS: I make quilts, pillows and mattress protectors. Mostly I change covers, check the feathers and, if needed, add new ones. Besides that, I sew so I also do modifications on quilts and pillows, i.e. I adapt them to the customers' needs.

Oaza: How would you characterize your most loyal customers?
AAS: My regular customers are Jewish women and older ladies with special needs related to their quilts. I am here solely for them.

Oaza: Do you also get new customers? Is there demand today for the products you offer?
AAS: Yes, customers find me though the Internet, I assume through the Chamber of Trades and Crafts, or the shop itself whose street showcase serves as the primary billboard.

Oaza: Materials that you use are top quality. What do you use as batting and where do you get the material?
AAS: I use special quality goose feathers called snowflake. It comes from a type of Slavonian geese that are bred in parts of Hungary, Slavonia and the Srijem region. The snowflake is located under the wings and neck of the goose, it is extremely supple, soft and a good insulator, which is very important for a quilt. Those are the highest quality feathers and are also exported to foreign markets! I use only natural materials. Today, those are mostly feathers and wool, and less often cotton. The cotton canvas is used for the outer, protective layer. Unfortunately, I no longer get that fabric from Slovenia where the main manufacturer for Yugoslavia used to be located, but have to import it from Italy for three times the price.

O: How are the final products priced?
AAS: Quilt prices range from 1300-1400 HRK. 50% of the price is the feathers (batting), 25% are other materials needed for production and 25% is the work, i.e. handwork and finishing, which amount to around 350 HRK.

O: What are the positives and negatives of working in Ilica?
AAS: The utilities are too high compared to the work I manage to do, but on the other hand, I have no need to invest in advertising since my showcase is at street level.

Oaza: What about the dynamics between fellow craftsmen in Ilica?
AAS: The neighborhood used to be tight-knit and the craftsmen used to collaborate, even knew each other privately. Today, all of that is gone.

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