How did it all start, what inspired you and what was the original idea?
My high school friend and I decided to start a business together ten years after that, given the circumstances we found ourselves in. We were both passionate about natural cosmetics, and so the idea of producing natural cosmetics was born. We developed the 757 Story for a whole year after the first idea.
Initially, we had many ideas for the brand name, packaging, and positioning. For example, one idea was to name the brand “Lavandin” and focus on Dalmatian tradition, as “lavandin” is a type of lavender we use in production. We even thought about shaping each soap like an island, so we looked for contour maps to create molds for each island. The last idea was for our products to represent Croatian islands, specifically to be 602, which led to the ultimate idea – why represent only the islands, why not all of Croatia’s natural beauties? We contacted various institutions to familiarize ourselves with the categorizations (islands, rivers, mountains, lakes, national parks, and nature parks), and that’s how 757 was born. We realized that the idea and the story had to be simple, clear, and align with what we wanted to represent. Since our focus is on nature, natural ingredients, and sustainability, we realized that 757 perfectly embodies all of that.
Therefore, the 757 brand aims to develop 757 natural products representing the 757 quantifiable natural beauties of Croatia: 602 islands and islets (The Blues), 78 mountains (The Greys), 34 rivers (The Whites), 24 natural lakes (The Blacks), and 19 national parks and nature parks (The Greens). Each product category represents a category of natural beauties within which natural cosmetic products are developed – fragments of Croatia, and each product “tells a story” about one of them.
What was needed from idea to realization?
From the initial idea to realization, there were many steps. The entire first year of operation was about establishing the business, from legal regulations and setting up the production facility to testing different product formulations and creating stories about the initial fragments and their packaging. In addition, from the very beginning, we have been working with numerous collaborators, and as we grow, we need to engage new people. We must say that we are thrilled to have such an amazing team.
After laying the foundations of the business, it was necessary to develop product formulations along with stories for each product because the idea was for each product to be named and described with a story about the different natural beauties it represents, referring to the ingredients. For example, the soap “The Bruce Tea” (Brusnik Island) got its name through a play on words – “Bruce” (Croatian – “brus,” meaning ” “gravel” or “stones” in English, referring to the island’s famous shape) and “Tea” due to the essential oil it’s made from (tea tree). Similarly, the soap “Bruce” is black because Brusnik Island is unique for its black rocks and the endemic species of black lizard, so one of its ingredients is activated charcoal. For example, the “The King Alminty” soap got its name through a play on words – “Alminty” instead of “Almighty” because it refers to the legend that says Kraljevac Island got its name from King Bela IV, who once hid there, and the dominant scent of that product is mint. The body scrub with orange and lemon essential oils is called “Valley Down South” because it represents the Neretva River area, known for its citrus groves. There are also “The Sleeping Giant,” a night serum representing the Klek Mountain, which looks like a sleeping giant, and “The Great Essence,” our first face cream with bakuchiol, representing the Velebit Mountain, known for its exceptional biodiversity.
In the further stages of business development, we decided to expand the 757 concept to “Fragments of Fragments.” Although our mission is to present and develop 757 fragments of Croatia through natural products, we know that there are actually countless fragments: us, you, products, different skin types, our customers’ opinions, our customers’ suggestions, ingredients, communities, partners, animals, the planet. The concept of “Fragments of Fragments” represents a story about the beauty and power of nature, about the uniqueness of all fragments in the world, about the future and helping. Therefore, although they are all different and unique, they are all connected – whether it’s our products, their stories, their names, their appearance, whether it’s our team members, other small producers, or each customer’s skin. Although unique, all fragments are part of one world. So, we decided to start connecting fragments in various ways – supporting other producers through the #supportlocal concept, making donations to numerous charitable organizations, and engaging in activities that lead to a more sustainable way of doing business. This is how another number was born – one that helps the environment and animals.
Action 545 (Pet4Pet) represents the concept of the possibility of returning plastic and glass packaging. Every customer who returns plastic packaging contributes to raising funds to help animals, as for each return of plastic packaging, PET Euros are set aside for donations to animal welfare organizations and shelters, while also receiving a discount on their next order. The goal of the action is also to reduce the overall amount of waste packaging and raise awareness about the importance of the circular economy and the ReUse concept. Therefore, we encourage our customers to return glass packaging as well to receive a discount on their next order. We continue to come up with new ideas and fragments.
What products do you offer today, and where and how do you market them?
We started our story with “The Blues,” a category representing the islands and islets. In this line of skin cleansing products, there are currently six types of natural soaps based on extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter: “The Sea Heart” (Galešnjak – orange, lemon, and citronella), “No Man’s Land” (Velika Palagruža – lavender and cinnamon), “The Island Man” (Bodulaš – lavender), “The Big Rock” (Veliki Sikavac – eucalyptus, rosemary, and palmarosa), “The King Alminty” (Kraljevac – mint, cinnamon, and cloves with blue poppy seeds), and “The Bruce Tea” (Brusnik – tea tree and activated charcoal).
Next, we continued with “The Whites,” a category representing the rivers of Croatia, containing natural body care products. There are currently two types of body scrubs and two body oils: “The Minor Canyon” (Cetina – rosewood-scented body scrub), “Valley Down South” (Neretva – body scrub scented with orange and lemon), “The Butterfly Effect” (Kupa – lavender-scented body oil for dry skin), and “Rose Gold” (Drava – rosewood-scented body oil for normal skin).
The last category of products we opened is “The Greys,” representing the mountains of Croatia, where there are currently two face serums: “The Golden Mountain” (Mosor – a serum based on organic immortelle oil and olive squalane for dry, normal, and mature skin) and “The Sleeping Giant” (Klek – a night serum based on a blend of cold-pressed oils rich in antioxidants and essential oils of geranium and rosewood for oily and combination skin), as well as “The Great Essence,” our first face cream with bakuchiol, representing a mountain with exceptional biodiversity – Velebit.
We market our products through our online shop and various stores across Croatia (and some abroad). These are mostly concept stores, hotel souvenir shops, or boutique shops throughout Croatia. In addition, we focus on product customization, and therefore, corporate gifts for clients and employees, fragments as thank-you gifts for villa, apartment, and hotel guests, and wedding favors are significant channels for us.
Are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved?
Yes, very much so. Although we know that the goal of developing 757 natural products is very ambitious, we believe that we are on the right path and are satisfied with everything we have achieved so far. The speed of achieving the goal is not our priority; quality and enjoying the entire process are what matter to us. We might reach the goal, our children might, or even our grandchildren. Therefore, we focus on various accompanying activities that we consider most important at the moment for our business and, ultimately, for achieving the ultimate goal – to make the world a little better in this journey, as we like to say, “fragment by fragment.”
What are you most proud of?
Among other things, we would say we are most proud of our story about 757 natural products representing 757 natural beauties. This story generates interest among customers, giving them a dimension of getting to know various beautiful natural places in Croatia.
After trying the products, customers often become loyal due to the quality of the products, their formulations, and the natural ingredients (from extra virgin olive oil sourced only from Dalmatia, cold-pressed oils excellent for the skin like avocado oil, hazelnut oil, or almond oil, to bakuchiol – a gentle natural alternative to retinol). We have received a lot of positive feedback so far. It’s a great feeling when you hear this after putting in the effort.
One of our ideas during development was to try to create demand in foreign markets so that foreign customers buy our product in the Croatian market as both a souvenir and a cosmetic product, and if they like it and it suits their skin, they have the option to order through our online store. Since we have achieved that, we are extremely proud of it.
We would also like to highlight our 545 (Pet4Pet) action that we started last year. We sincerely thank everyone who recognized it and participated in it, and we hope that more and more customers will recognize our efforts and help us achieve these goals. We believe that this action can succeed and grow only with the support and cooperation of our customers, and we hope it will strengthen in the future.
Is there anything else you would like to add… wishes, plans…
Our future plans involve launching a new product, which we can’t reveal yet because it’s still in the formulation stage, and expanding our business into new industries.
Furthermore, one of our plans is to place a greater focus on product customization because we have received many inquiries in that context. We offer various types of gift packages and allow customers to create their own gift packages according to their needs and desires. These packages can include our ready-made products and can be customized, from adding a company logo to the packaging or adjusting the entire visual identity of the gift. In addition to gift packages, there are also thank-you gifts for villa and apartment guests, as they are ideal souvenir gifts that tell stories about the natural beauty of Croatia. In this case, we also offer partial or complete customization of the products, from logos on personalized tags or packaging to creating a completely new visual identity for private accommodations or hotels.
And, of course, our main goal and desire in the end is to enjoy the whole process.
757 NATURAL COSMETICS
Gaminica 29, Žrnovnica, Croatia
Antonija Kvasina, CEO & Co-Founder
- +385 91 89 72 988