After much pulling and tugging to find the time, we’ve finally started with our blog. You can expect weekly stories on everything that fuels Bazerdžan: from beneath-the-hood insights into how we make stuff happen to what inspires and drives us to be better every day, we’ll try to get that warm feeling our customers get when they step in our store a little bit closer to you.
For starters, here’s a little something about our store and, the general idea of bazerdžan, and what you can expect to read from here on.
What is bazerdžan?
Bazerdžan (a bit tricky to pronounce, we know) is an archaism of a Turkish word bezirgân, meaning a merchant, someone who sells (often on the street, in accordance with times). The Turkish language doesn’t distinguish male and female sex grammatically when it comes to single words, so bazerdžan can be anyone. Since the 15th century, bazerdžan was a common sight in and around Sarajevo’s focal point - Baščaršija. The newly-made economic center of the city blossomed, reaching its peak in the mid-16th century. With around 80 different trades, Baščaršija was divided into trade-centric zones where most of the street names reflected multiple similar trades placed next to each other. For instance, Kovači street (literally meaning blacksmiths) is where the blacksmith trade was prevalent, while Zlatarska street is where goldsmiths are centered.
Today, the city’s old core is considerably smaller due to a number of natural and human causes (a lot can happen in some 500+ years, you know). It is estimated that the current area is almost half of what it was size-wise back in the 19th century, largely due to a great fire that swallowed wooden housing. Some of the streets stand to this day and ooze with the feel of a bygone era, including traditional bazerdžans that can be seen at almost every corner. One such is our store, located in the heart of Baščaršija.
Little shop of delight
Opened in one really hot summer of 2016, our shop was born from an idea to promote Bosnia and Herzegovina’s culture and tradition, as well as to showcase local talent and beauty through creations by domestic artists, designers, and manufacturers. This way, Bazerdžan is able to provide a new way to enjoy and revel in what this beautiful country has to offer. Here, you’ll find things that are made by “contemporary artisans”, individuals and groups who have a different outlook on life and their surroundings. They combine new trends with authentic symbols and materials that have been a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history throughout the centuries.
Bazerdžan has been a long time in the making, especially considering the ever-present globalization and the growing mass of foreign-produced, yet low-quality products that are uninspirative and bland. For instance, if you’re looking to buy something authentic and unique in Sarajevo, be it a souvenir or a gift, you’ll have an unreasonably hard time finding it. It shouldn’t be so, particularly for a city that has such a rich and diverse history and background. In that regard, our store is a must-visit place, not just capital-oriented but covering all of our triangle-shaped country. We do our best to focus on healthy living with a sporty feel to it, which is why you can also find a bunch of sports-related products that mesh with traditional clothes.
Something for everyone
The concept behind Bazerdžan is fairly simple. We pick associates who already have a product of their own or are actively working on developing it with a focus on the promotion of BiH heritage. The selection process is a meticulous one, lead by a designated team. We don’t care much about how the brand grew, all we care about is the level of love and affection put into it. That way, we know they’re on the same page with us and feel about their work the same way we do about ours.
We collaborate with a wide range of people: refugee women who make wool products, WagaWood and their UNESCO-protected woodcraft, a folk ensemble that manufactures traditional garments, and so on. Each manufacturer is a story in its own, stories we’ll tell in the months to come. Yet, they all share one common trait: the persistence to create what they love and believe in. That’s the spirit Bazerdžan reflects: love, beauty, and quality.
There is no general rule to what you’ll find in our store. Well, maybe there is - everything we like, you’ll find it in Bazerdžan. This includes clothing and accessories, jewelry, home decor, and everything in between from independent designers. There is also our own Bazerdžan brand centered on creating clothing that’s exactly up to our liking. We’re always on a quest to find new products and people, traversing the country in search of the next little gem. Because these items are rather unique, almost all collections have limited quantities. As for the materials, the primary focus is on natural fabric such as cotton, silk, linen, and viscose. There’s also some fancy stuff made from metal, wood, and wool - anything that sparks that fuzzy feeling when you try it on.
What it’s all about
For us, Bazerdžan is more than just a concept store. It’s about being a helping hand to our local communities, particularly those in more rural areas where the spotlight rarely shines, if ever. It’s about providing a streamlined experience and a marketplace for these hard-working people, all the while preserving rich cultural heritage. It’s about educating the public about our history, local traditions and cultural wealth amassed through centuries of existence. It’s about mixing local craftsmanship, arts, smarts, and technology into a modern blend of unique, traditionally-inspired, and innovative products.
It’s about you and us.
For Sarajevo, with love.