Lea Salihagić, an alumni of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, is the owner of the ZONA boutique health center, where she has gathered professionals from various fields who come for education about a healthy lifestyle. We visited Lea to find out about everything that ZONA offers and what lead her into becoming an entrepreneur following her completion of the MBA Marketing program.
You successfully run a health center – recreational and fitness center. What prompted you to start this venture? What motivated you to open the center?
13 years ago in my family, there was a case of cancer so more or less we all moved to a healthier way of eating, and I slowly began thinking more intensely about a job where I could bring it all together in one place. We noticed that there was no center like this in Zagreb, so we decided to open a peaceful oasis in which we could gather all experts in one place and thus make it easier for people who want to turn towards a healthier lifestyle.
What programs are offered at the center?
The center offers various forms of exercise: yoga, pilates, functional training, as well as massages, physiotherapy, shiatsu treatments,and nutrition and psychological counseling.
Your programs are diverse. Is there any age limit or anyone who has the desire to start your body can become your member, regardless of age?
There is no age limit, everyone can join any one of the programs we offer depending on their wishes and needs. We work in small groups so trainers can adapt to each client in particular.
What has the response been like? How many members do you have in the center?
Since we are only half a year old, we are far from disappointed. We have around 50 members who are members of different groups and we also offer services that do not require membership fees, so people can come here one time and not join.
How can I join your center at all?
Simply come to ZONE. The first session is free and you can join us afterwards. Also, for those who are interested, we can be contacted via social networks – Facebook and Instagram, or by phone or mail. We are happy to answer any questions. If someone has health conditions, our experts will advise them, and make individual programs or packages that we offer easier.
Was there any difficulty creating the center itself?
Opening up any private business is always a demanding job. We invested ourselves into this, but also received European funds, 2 loans from HAMAG (small loans), and HBOR (women entrepreneurs), which is proof that our vision and idea is recognized and supported.
To what extent do you promote the center to the public? Do you have your own website, and are you active on social networks?
Apart from our opening which all major sites and newspapers in Croatia reported about, we also have our own social media pages on networks such as Facebook (ZONA boutique health center), and Instagram (ZONA_boutique_health_centar) where we publish photos, articles, and interesting things about what we do. We have a website (www.zonalife.hr), and a blog is being created. We also promote through radio stations, billboards, and other convenient advertising methods. These days, we are heading towards creating a powerful digital campaign.
What professionals are part of your team?
The team consists of nutritionists, kinesiologists, physiotherapists, shiatsu practitioners, masseurs, yoga instructors, psychologists, bioenergy specialists, economists, and even a Master of Educational Rehabilitation Sciences. We also cooperate with other professionals from different backgrounds who come to us to hold educational lessons related to different areas of a healthy lifestyle.
Do you give some workshops for these lessons? What are they about? How can a person attend one, and do they need to sign up or can they just show up?
So far, we have had lessons and workshops on topics such as ˝The Inner World of Gifted Children”, “Partnerships”, “Probiotics”, “Immunity”, “Creating a Visionboard” (held by Tatjana Divjak, the first life coach in Croatia). In order to attend, please send us an email, which can be found on our website. Some require a fee to attend, however we have other lessons, workshops, and activities which are free of charge.
What are your plans and strategies for the future? Are you planning to expand to other locations in Zagreb, or maybe even further away?
In the future, we are sure to see other locations in Zagreb as well as in other Croatian cities, and we also see the possibility of expanding our work in neighboring countries. However, we are currently aiming to see how, and in what direction we will develop. In Croatia, there are a growing number of clients with increasing interests in the areas we deal with. It is important to find a way to these clients, and I was greatly helped by the MBA Marketing program which I completed at ZSEM.