[Women’s Month 2022] Interview with Tabitha Burrill of Tabitha’s Glass Emporium

Staff at Tabitha's Glass Emporium in Drivenik, Croatia
Tabitha (left center) and her team at Tabitha’s Glass Emporium

Tabitha Burrill is the owner of Tabitha’s Glass Emporium, a d.o.o. in Drivenik near Rijeka. Her company is the largest producer of vitrigraph murrine glass in the world. Using special techniques, her team creates layered glass creations as well as inclusions that artists use in their own pieces.

Tabitha would say that glass-making was “in her blood”, but she did learn this skill pretty much from scratch by seeking out the knowledge of experts. While the early stages were bumpy, Tabitha’s Glass Emporium has grown from a single team member to 14 – all of them women – making this company a major employer in the Drivenik area. She inspires her team to be stakeholders in the future of the company and what it produces.

In addition to their daily business, Tabitha offers free workshops to children and is working with the local school district to introduce the science of glass as part of their existing education.

As part of our Women’s Month campaign, 94 female-owned businesses in Croatia were nominated for recognition by YOU – our audience. Our independent panel of Croatian professionals selected 5 extraordinary businesses to be interviewed and featured on expatincroatia.com. Tabitha’s Glass Emporium was one of the 5 selected – deservedly so.

I spoke with Tabitha on February 25, 2022, during which we talked about…

Read the full interview below…

Interview with Tabitha Burrill of Tabitha’s Glass Emporium

Tabitha Burrill of Tabitha's Glass Emporium

Tabitha Burrill of Tabitha’s Glass Emporium in Drivenik

Sara: Of the 5 people selected to be interviewed as part of Women’s Month, you are the only foreigner. So, I must ask a question that you probably get a lot – where are you from and how did you get to Croatia?

Tabitha: I’m an ACA chartered accountant by trade. I lived in London all my life and then met and had children with a guy who’s Portuguese. So, there’s still no connection between Croatia, but he had been coming to Croatia for many, many years.

He bought a shell of a house [in Croatia]. We went regularly to see how the building work was going. We were there at Easter, maybe 2016. I’m looking at the view and I said, “Why don’t we come and live here?” He kind of looked at me and went: “Yeah, why don’t we?”.

Sara: Did you work with glass in your home country? How did you get into it?

Tabitha: I had always been an artist at heart. I was planning to do some accountancy to keep a regular income [in Croatia]. Then I’m going to be an artist on the side and really discover something I want to do. I started looking around for something to do and somehow discovered fused glass and it was like coming home. For me it was just like, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing”.

My grandfather used to run a glass making factory. During the war, [he] made elements they needed for the war. They made beautiful stuff as well as practical stuff. It was in my blood. So I started doing any course in fused glass I could find before I moved to Croatia.

The summer before we moved to Croatia, my mum tripped and fell on her head and died. I think as part of my grief , I was like “We are going to Croatia and we’re going to make this work”.

Sara: What did your business look like when you started?

Tabitha: I originally set up the business in Crikvenica with the idea of selling to tourists. I hadn’t factored in, unfortunately, that tourists in Crikvenica don’t have a lot of disposable income, so most of them come and they sit on the beach. They might buy some monthly food to consume, but a lot of them even bring food with them to Croatia. [They] bring everything and don’t spend any money at all. So, it was a complete disaster.

I closed the shop in Crikvenica, making a substantial loss and moved the business to Bribir to make glass inclusions. I had done a course with Nathan Sandberg a glass artist from America who teaches all over the world how to make vitrigraph murrine, which is what I started to make and sell.

Glass pieces at Tabitha's Glass Emporium

Sara: Tabitha’s Glass Emporium is the biggest producer of vitrigraph murrine in the world. What is vitrigraph murrine? What is it used for and why is it special?

Tabitha: Murrine historically was made in Venice on Murano island. You make it in a hot shop by taking a lump of glass and rolling it in another colored glass and then rolling that in another colored glass and then putting it in a mold. You get these layers and they look like flowers and they’re beautiful.

However, vitrigraph murrine is different. You load a vessel, either terracotta or stainless steel pot with a hole in the bottom, with glass. The pot goes in a small kiln with a hole in the bottom, which is situated above head height and is heated to about 830 degrees Celsius. When the glass becomes molten, it flows and is “pulled” out in canes of glass through the hole in the bottom of the pot and kiln. Depending on how you load the glass determines what happens when you get it out. When the cane is sliced, the cross sections show you the design.

I was the first person to make floral designs in a vitrigraph kiln, such as poppies, sunflowers and forget-me-nots. I sold to other artists who then put them in their works. They would put my little pieces of glass in their flower meadow design and over the years, my range has expanded to include fish and all sorts of amazing things.

Sara: What does your business look like now? How has it grown?

Tabitha: I started mostly selling in England. After a year, I said, “I think I need to do a YouTube channel.” The first time I did it, it was the most uncomfortable experience in my life. “Hi, welcome to another Tabitha’s Glass Emporium YouTube video. Today I’m going to show you how to make…”. Now I do it quickly in one take and I’m pretty good. As you can see, I’m talking off the cuff articulately, sensibly, and people like me. I think they like me because I’m not particularly skinny and beautiful. I’m slightly weird with my hair. I’m passionate and funny. I’m trying stuff out so that I show mistakes as well as things that worked really well. Now I have over 10,000 subscribers who watch.

Sara: Ha! I know what you mean. My audience kept asking me to do Croatian language lessons on Instagram, and I was completely freaked out about it. It took a year to talk myself into it, then another few months after that before I got remotely comfortable doing it. I am also a bit weird, make mistakes, stammer, but am also incredibly passionate about the material. All people care about these days is authenticity, not perfection. You are giving them that.

Sara: Who is on your team these days?

Tabitha: When we moved to Bribir, I had Mila working for me, who still works for me, and Sandra. Then my friend Coral came and worked with us. Then we hired Tonka (Antonija), Jasmine, Lucija,  Renato and Billy. Now, we have 14 employees including myself. Renato was the only man I’ve hired. We’re, at the moment, all women.

Sara: Was that on purpose or did it just kind of happen like that by coincidence?

Tabitha: It [just] happened like that. I love it. There are problems in Croatian law, which mean that hiring women isn’t appetizing. If your child is off sick, you can get you get sick leave as well, which sounds great.

In principle, it’s a good idea that parents get time off sick if their kids are sick. However, as an employer, “Oh, you’ve got three kids who are 2, 5 and 7. Are you ever going to be at work?” Either one child or another child and another child, or you will be sick, and I have to pay every time you’re sick. That means that women are really unappetizing to employ.

I’m a single mum, I’m still get on very well with my kids’s dad. But, when my kids are sick, it’s really hard for me to make him do his share. “You have people working for you and I’m on my own…” I don’t have them employed for the joy. I have them because I need them and I need to be there too. I always make sure that they see that I’m there. [It’s important] he does his bit as well because I’m asking them to do the same.

We had a photographer in the other day who went “You need to hire a man to work here”, and I was like “Why? Why do I need to hire a man to work here?” And then I forgot to change a plug before I went on holiday. I said on the phone [to the team], “Does anyone here know how to change a plug?” Not one of them did. So, I thought, I must teach my daughters how to change a plug because it was infuriating. I had to ask their dad to go into my studio and change a plug, I said jokingly “I’m ashamed of you all”. Every woman should know how to change a plug and do the basics.

Sara: Ha! I just bought my own apartment. There’s lots of things that now I have to figure out. I will now make it my mission to figure out how to change a plug.

Tabitha: It’s quite easy, you can google it. The joys of Google – it tell us all things. I’m an ardent feminist in the sense that women be on an equal footing. I don’t think woman are better or worse – we’re all the same.

Women have only been in the work force for a relatively short amount of time, Women traditionally [are] making appointments, getting the groceries, doing housework. They tend to be really good multi-taskers, which means they’re really good workers.

Working with a group of women has a joyfulness to it. We laugh. We talk about inappropriate things you wouldn’t talk about if there was a man there. It’s nice to have an environment where you can talk and laugh and be silly. I think men do as well in an all-men environment. They get to talk about things in a way men cannot necessarily do when women are around. There’s that whole “Women can be bitchy” [thing]. We don’t have that. We really support each other, which is so nice.

Sara: We have an all-female team right now which is not going to last for much longer, but we do love it. I think all of us were a little nervous at the beginning because there is a stereotype that women are usually at each other’s throats, but it has only made us a stronger team.

tabitha glass emporium staff 1

Sara: What is the biggest thing you had to sacrifice in your personal life for your business?

Tabitha: I work seven days a week, but I also still give my kids a lot of time. If I was in England, as a chartered accountant, I would be working until 6 o’clock every night. [Here] I finish work at three or four o’clock. I work weekends but I always try to keep it short, and we get to hang out much more than we would generally. Because my business is doing good, my personal life is better. I’m really lucky there is a good balance. I love my job.

Running a business is hard. There are times when you are like “Wow, if anything else goes wrong…” Everyone who’s done it knows when someone hands you their notice, your heart sinks. They’re not leaving because of anything bad, they’re leaving because they have a better paid job somewhere else and you’ve got to be pleased for them, but finding someone else to replace them, it’s hard.

I want to expand and make it better and, being a foreigner, being a woman – I’ve found I have come up against it, finding local support.

Sara: When you have those hard times and it’s just like “Aaah, can something else possibly go wrong?!” How do you talk yourself out of it? How do you get through it and continue to push forward?

Tabitha: It can take a shift to eventually kick myself in the butt and say “C’mon, enough”. I have a really good sense of humor. So I do laugh at most things. I normally, eventually, find something to laugh about. I think it’s also about getting older. I was a drama queen. I look at my daughter and she is such a drama queen and I’m like “Yes, she so gets it from me”. I used to say, “Oh, no, it’s all horrible, it’s a disaster” and now I’m more measured. I take a breath and realize “Ok, we can do things about this”.

Most of my local friends are people who work with me. They’re my best friends. I don’t have many friends that don’t work for me, (laughs) which makes it hard. Because they work for me, I sometimes find it hard to interact with them socially, because I feel like “Oh, you’ve seen me the whole week, you probably want a break from me.”

Sara: Since your colleagues are your friends, do you ever encounter an issue when you are like “Oh man, I’m really sorry but sometimes I have to be a boss and have to be firm”. Do you feel like that is a challenge?

Tabitha: Yeah. It’s really hard for them, it’s really hard for me, and then it’s really hard because I know that they’re going to be backed off of me and I need to give them space. It can be lonely. I definitely feel it would be easier if there’s a separation, but there’s not. [But] also, because we’re friends, we have such a laugh. We laugh so much at work.

Sara: That’s good. If you go to work and you like the people you work with – that’s what makes a job that you enjoy. When you don’t like the people you work with, working is a nightmare. I had a job in California when I would be in tears driving there every day – my colleagues were horrible. I am glad that now I get to choose my colleagues, rather than them being chosen for me.

I’d like to switch gears a bit. You offer free workshops for children and hope to start working within the local school system in Drivenik. What do you teach the kids specifically? I’m curious because working with glass is kind of dangerous, right?

Tabitha: I’m finding it hard to find the support from the local government. It’s not been easy. But safety wise, my daughters are 6 and 9. [They] do something with the glass all the time. We perfuse items, which means the edges are soft rather than sharp so they can’t cut themselves.

I’d like to do workshops within the kindergarten. They could put together a kind of a flower meadow with perfused items. I would love to work with older kids too. I had a dream of seeing whether we could find a way of adding it as a syllabus element like science and art of glass. Glass is quite interesting scientifically as an element – how it melts and how it needs to be annealed.

I need to communicate my ideas with the local schools and see if I can get the interest. It’d be really nice to give back to the community.

Vitigraph murrine made in Croatia

Sara: Absolutely. If you’re willing to share – is there anything you can tell us about the push back that you’re getting from the local government?

Tabitha: It’s a very ambiguous situation. I talk to them about wanting to do things and they just don’t really seem at all interested. So, it’s apathy. We’d love to try and expand. I don’t know whether you deal with any kind of politics in your job at all, but I smile and nod a lot of the time. But then I get frustrated. They have this amazing business within their district. It’s completely unique in the whole world. There isn’t another business like it. The mayor hasn’t even come to see it. We talk about wanting to do this stuff for schools and we get shrugs – complete disinterest and it’s heart breaking.

Sara: How much of that do you think is just lack of interest, you being a woman, and you being a foreigner woman.

Tabitha: I think all of it has to do with it. I’m outspoken. I’m fiery. If I get annoyed, I will lose my temper. I’ve verbalized that frustration. I just find it extraordinary. We’re such an amazing, unique business that is giving jobs to local women. I would have thought they would be like “What can we do to help you?” I had a meeting last week. I just got shrugs. It makes me want to weep.

Sara: That must be demoralizing. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s definitely consistent with what I hear from other people who are trying to do projects with different cities around Croatia. It’s not unusual. There are cities that are trying to actually do more community projects, but unfortunately it seems like your story is all too common.

Tabitha: I’m quietly seeing within the political system where I can gain some interest about the business, get someone thinking “Well, this is a really interesting…” For me, all publicity is good publicity – to get out my story and the story of my business. Hopefully I can keep the business moving forward and expanding and growing. I could sit back on my laurels now and say, “oh we’re making good money”. We’ve got orders coming in, but I don’t believe that’s the way to do business. Let’s move forward.

We are doing well enough now that I can give something back to the community. And I’d like to, if I can find someone in the community who wants to take the offer.

Sara: We’re really glad that we get the opportunity to share your story, and I hope that at a minimum it will draw more attention to your business. And if there’s anything that we can ever do to help, we always want to help local businesses. So, we are here for you 1000%.

Tabitha: Well, thank you so much, that’s so nice to hear.

Sara: It’s true. I see a lot of myself in all the things that you’re saying. It’s refreshing to meet another female entrepreneur in Croatia who looks at things similarly to the way that that I do. It’s fascinating for me. You’ve talked about a lot of the challenges that you’ve had as a female entrepreneur in Croatia. Are there any advantages to be being a female entrepreneur in Croatia that you’ve experienced?

Tabitha: I see things differently than, perhaps a man does. How I deal with my employees. I’ve got really good, loyal employees, who are committed to me and I believe in employee welfare.  They’re invested in my company as well. Their time, their energy, their commitment is all an investment, and that investment is to be cherished and looked after. They may not be shareholders, but they’re stakeholders. I think it’s really important to take the responsibility of being their employer and making sure their jobs are secure. I take it incredibly seriously.

I think [I have] a different take on it because I’m a mum.  I’m kind of the mother of the business and I look out for all of them in a slightly motherly way, which is probably different than a man maybe would. [But] I think that probably causes problems as well, because it’s, again, the kind of friendship/employer balance.

Sara: Yes, absolutely. I do see the benefit to having a mamma bear who really cares about their employees on a deeper level more than “you come in, you do your work, you leave, that’s it”.

Tabitha: Croatia, joining the euro. All of the challenges that’s going to bring up. I think that you know it’s going to be really interesting. It is a really interesting time for Croatia – how we’re all going to manage that as entrepreneurs and business people. It’s going to be busy and it’s going to be tough. I need to see what advantages there are to take.

tabitha glass emporium 1

Sara: Absolutely. Let me ask you this, is there a big fear that you have as an entrepreneur, like one thing that just kind of hangs over you at all?

Tabitha: My business is very labor intensive. I have a lot of employees to make the business work. With joining the Euro, who knows if or how much the salaries are going to need to go up. I hope that I can stay competitive and keep business viable.

I also need to make sure that with costs going up that my employees are paid a wage that they can live off. It’s that balance which is my biggest concern. That and the security of the premises I’m in.

Sara: The Euro thing is something that kind of floats back in my head and I just keep pushing it down, but I can’t continue to do that forever. What do you use more often in your work: logic and intellect, or intuition and faith?

Tabitha: They all go together. When you’re working really hard, you get tired. Logic and intellect go by the by. Then you’re flying by the seat of your pants because you don’t have the wherewithal to make logical decisions. Because I’m a chartered accountant by trade and I’m an artist, I have both sides of my brain working for me, the logical and the intuition and instinct.

I’m very lucky because I understand math and numbers, and I’m also supremely creative and come up with new ideas, products and projects for YouTube. I use a bit of all of it altogether. Sometimes I’m inspired by something and get an idea and it flows. Then sometimes I’m very kind of like – “Well, if we do this, what will happen?” It’s lovely melding of the two. I think I need both.

Sara: You mentioned that you see your team as stakeholders in the growth of your business. Do they contribute ideas about where the business can go?

Tabitha: I would always accept ideas. They’ll come up with some sort of murrine or projects for YouTube. One of my team came up with a bow tie idea the other day and I was like, yeah, we definitely have to do that. I love anyone coming up with an idea or wanting to contribute to the business in that way.

It’s definitely an open-door policy. It’s an open plan office. I sit between the guys creating stuff and packing glass. It’s free flowing. We do marende together. Everyone sits and has a chat. On the last Friday of the month, I do a big meal where I either cook or bring in food for everyone, so we get to sit and have some nice food together.

Sara: That’s nice.

Tabitha: I try to at least a couple of times a year if not more, have a day we do glass so that people who haven’t done it before can join and have a go at it. Everyone gets to make some pieces. Before Christmas we had a day of doing glass. Everyone got to make some stuff for themselves or presents for people for Christmas. One of my team wanted to make some windows for her front door and she just covered the cost of materials and I helped her along with the idea. If someone has an idea of something they want to do, I will always support that.

Sara: Is there any particular story that you would like to share with our audience, some individual thing that happened, some particular obstacle or a moment of discrimination as  female entrepreneur in Croatia you experienced that you’d like to tell us about?

Tabitha: It’s not necessarily that I’m a woman – or because I am a foreigner. When I first came to Croatia, I was told – “Croatia is not a place for entrepreneurs”? My accountant said “They don’t like entrepreneurs; they don’t do anything for them.”

We were in these small premises in Bribir right up until the end of last year and I kept going to the općina and saying “We need bigger premises. I know it’s not your responsibility. I’m a private business, but I am a business that’s doing well and I’m great for this area. Please, can you help us find a bigger space?”

We found somewhere but there was a complication because I wanted to try and buy it but they really did not want us to because the veterans were using the building twice a year but otherwise it was empty. It would have been a great building.

I kept asking “Can you help us, can we buy this, can we do this…” They said “Why should we help you – if we help you, that won’t look very good”. If I was Nissan and was bringing my factory to Liverpool, Liverpool would help Nissan to get their business there. Now, I’m not Nissan but Vinodol Valley is not Liverpool either, which makes it’s the same.

It’s the frustration of the lack of understanding. They’ve got this golden apple and there is just no interest. I don’t know, again, whether that’s just a lack of interest in entrepreneurship, or being a woman or being a foreigner.

They eventually gave us this amazing space we are now in Drvenik. It was an old school and it is fantastic. I want to expand and make it bigger to put a class room.  More space, employ more people and eventually come to some arrangement. But it’s painful.

Perhaps, I should have moved to Rijeka or somewhere big where I could have bought my own space. But for me, I really valued being a local. That was the most important thing to me – to be local because of my kids, because of the schools. In Croatia, my daughter is supposed to go home on her own to my house, aged 11, and be on her own in the afternoon. I found that extraordinary, so I wanted my studio somewhere closer to the school, so she could come to the studio in the afternoon. I needed it on her school bus route because the idea of half through my day having to go to pick up my daughter and bring her to where I was really isn’t very conducive with running a business.

Those are the kind of balances that are hard. For me, it was the emotional need to have a space that was in this geographical place, to be able to be there for my kids as well as be there for my business. That created so much emotion and so much complication.

No one I was dealing with understood that because they weren’t in my shoes and they also did not understand what it had to do with being a foreigner in a strange land. I don’t have the family support, I don’t have the grandparents to look after the kids after school, or cousins, or aunts, or anyone else. It’s just me and their dad who also works. So, it was a much more emotional issue for me than it would have been for probably many others in Croatia because they wouldn’t have had that struggle.

tabitha glass emporium staff 6

Sara: If you had the power to change the government, what is the one thing you would change about the Croatian bureaucracy that would make operating of your business better, easier, more profitable?

Tabitha: Everyone speaks of Croatian bureaucracy and how terrible it is, but I say “Have you dealt with HMRC in England? They would give Croatian bureaucracy a run for their money. I don’t necessary think it’s the bureaucracy that’s the problem, I think any country in the world – there is bureaucracy. In UK there is bureaucracy. If I wanted to expand [in the UK], I can’t really expect them to go “Yes, of course, you can expand the building, whatever you want”.

I have to be rational – it’s more the support and the recognition. If I could wave a magic wand, I just want them acknowledge “Wow, this is a great business.” We are here making money. We are not taking the money out, we are putting it in, we are paying the taxes, we are employing the people who pay their contributions every month.

It would be great [for the government] to realize that entrepreneurship is a good thing. Yes, the employees should be looked after, but there’s got to be a balance. There are some crazy rules for employing people.

I employed someone on 10th July last year and they got 20 days holiday, they got a full holiday even though they worked less than 6 months of the year. I said to the accountant, “You said if she was employed after 6 months, she wouldn’t get the 20 days” and they replied “No, you employed her in the first half of July, so if you employed her in the second part of July, 5 days later, she would have gotten 10 days holiday. Because you employed her on the 10th of July, she got the 20 days holiday.”

That make no sense. Holiday should be prorated for the length of time because either they haven’t been employed so they’d be on holiday anyway, or they’d be employed by someone else and got their holiday there.

There are some fantastic things that look after the worker. The worker should be looked after, they should be well treated, they should be well paid, and they should get a holiday, and they should get their rights, but there’s got to be a balance. It needs to make sense. I am a logical woman and that makes no logical sense to me, at all. As an entrepreneur, as a business person.

I can’t understand why a woman who has a third child has three years of maternity leave? Makes zero sense to me. Personally, if I had a third child, I’d be dying to get back to work. You take three years [off], no one can expect you to go in and be at the same sort of level as a person who has not taken the three years out.

She’s going to move forward; the company is going to move forward. For a company like mine, if I had someone who left for three years – then to slot them back in would be very hard. It’s really hard to have someone out for that length of time and then go “Yeah, your job is here, it’s waiting for you exactly the same as it was”. Your company would evolve and move on. That extraordinary length of time doesn’t really do anyone any favors and has made it very hard running businesses in my view.

I have also come into difficulties with having people off sick and not coming back to work. In the UK, if you’re off sick, they try and work out a way to get you back into work – seeing what can you do in your job. Also, it’s the government who pays not the employer.

In Croatia you’re just off sick. I have someone who’s off sick for over half a year. She said, “You’re getting the money back from HZZO, why do you care if I come to work or not.” But what she doesn’t get is I still have to cash flow her job. I get the money back, but it takes a while – and she was still accruing holiday while she was off sick. I would see her happily walking around town. It didn’t make me particularly happy.

Sara: You’ve made some comparisons between the government, the bureaucracy, and the way things work in the UK versus Croatia. Is there anything in your experience that you think Croatia does better?

Tabitha: Supporting parents whose kids are sick is great. I just don’t know how to make it so that it doesn’t penalize businesses who are employing women as predominantly they are the ones who take this time off.

Croatia is brilliant, it’s a beautiful country and I wouldn’t live here if it wasn’t. The people are welcoming and kind. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people in the world in Croatia. The scenery is amazing. You’ve got great access to so many great things. I live by the sea and in two hours I’m skiing in Slovenia. You can ski in Croatia; you can go swimming in the summer. It’s got so much to offer.

As an expat you can moan, “Oh God, here’s better than England”. The grass is always greener. I know people whose kids are autistic in England and they fight for every benefit they can get for their child. In Croatia, they give those kids support. They give the parents support. You still have to fight, and you still have to jump through certain hoops, but they’re less. They are diagnosing these kids earlier and giving them help earlier. There are some great benefits of living in a country with a smaller population.

Sara: What is next for Tabitha’s Glass? Is there a specific goal or milestone that you are working to achieve other than trying to get your programs into local schools?

Tabitha: I just want to keep the business expanding and diversifying. We would really love to get a hot shop set up. There’s an amazing company in England who sells a very small glass-blowing setup, which is relatively low cost. Recently in the news, there was a story about the guys of Murano. They run their furnaces 24/7 and it costs them hundreds of thousands of euros per year to keep them running.

This English person has done a different set up. It’s not like the style of beautiful glassware of Murano, but it’s fun and it’s interactive. It would be another string in our bow. We could pull different types of cane. I love that we’ve bought a tabletop water jet cutter. It’s been sitting in the corner for the last two months [waiting] until I can actually get some time to learn how to use it rather than having a beautiful item of expensive machinery in a corner gathering dust.

I want to see how I can promote my business better across Croatia. We make spectacular bespoke commission such as glass doors, kitchen splash backs, lights and other household installations. However, it’s hard to get people knowing we exist or what we can do.

I’m also looking to expand in the wedding markets, wedding favours or workshops for hen dos. We have so many ideas but it’s finding the time to pursue them all.

We really want to do international workshops. I get emails from people saying [they would] like to come to Croatia and do courses. We are the only place in the world that has 8 vitrigraph films so we can run courses teaching people how to do it. I’m not going to teach people how exactly how I make my stuff because that’s what I’m doing for money. We can still teach people how to do something – fun things.

It’s amazing that there are people from all over the world who would like to come and learn and to do residential courses where they come and stay for a week and learn various different types of things for me would be really exciting and also showing them a bit more Croatia. A different stream of tourism to Croatia could be really fantastic to do.

Sara: Absolutely and I would love to come in and do one of your workshops one day. That would be really fascinating to do.

Tabitha: You must do. We will do a special one for you.

Sara: YAY! Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Tabitha: No, I think I probably shared too much, I’m just so grateful to have moved to Croatia. It is a beautiful and outstanding country and I feel very blessed every day for my life, I think I’m an incredibly lucky person to have moved here and be making my business happen here.

In my first interview I ever gave anyone about my business, I called Croatians lazy, and I will never do that again. They’re not. They just understand what they want from life. They are content, and wow, being content is pretty blooming special. There’s a lot of people out there striving, “I want more, I want more”, and to be content with what you’ve got, your portion. Having a coffee with your friends, time to breath and enjoy the beauty around being the important things – what’s so bad about that?

Sara: I think that says it all right there.

Note from EIC: All of our Women’s Month 2023 winners were given a custom-made glass bookmark made by Tabitha’s Glass Emporium.

How to support Tabitha’s Glass Emporium

View the full list of Women’s Month 2022 winners here. We will publish a new female entrepreneur interview every week during March. Stay tuned…

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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