By Fatima Gorezi
Irsida Tafaj is the founder of "Chicarti", an initiative to bring to the client a brand different from the others, which in the center of attention aims to display the uniqueness of 'handmade' works.
Her passion for trading handmade works that speak of Albanian culture and tradition, were leaders in her journey of success, details of which she shares with "Star Business" in this interview.
How did the idea to open such a store come to you? What motivated you?
Given that since my childhood I grew up in a family business environment, closely associated with the trade of feminine aesthetic jewelry and accessories it is no coincidence that I am here today. To complete this profile, I completed my studies in the field of business and marketing within Albania. In 2014 I decided to open a brand called CHICARTI, which means "elegant art". Started as a concept of simple jewelry and then increasing in quality I decided to re-create a jewelry profile, natural stones and filigree handicrafts, a tradition of Albania the latter, but culturally developed in other countries as well. : in Greece, Czech Republic, Peru etc. Since we also had a change of the local area of our shop, we came inside the Tirana Castle; we thought that both the target group and the demand would be greater for handmade craft jewelry and so I focused on the 'handmade' jewelry part. My passion for work and for the special and unique products I was seeing "forced" me to start working as an artisan in combinations of natural stones.
What are the most typical products in your store and at the same time the favorites of the customers?
The most typical products on which we have focused our business are handmade in silver in details of natural crystals which each have their own names and properties. We have intertwined these crystals in filigree accessories which are made by Albanian artisans. While shell carvings are the work of Italian handicrafts. We also have cultivated pearls collected from the freshwaters of lakes, those round grain and those baroque. The most exclusive are the souvenirs made by hand by a 20-year-old Kosovar artisan who has started this kind of work and passion since he was 10 years old and realizes works in filigree material.
What do Albanians buy the most?
Local tourists buy in part, but the largest place is occupied by Albanian emigrants who seek to preserve the culture somewhat culturally.
Among the best-selling products we can mention filigree works in jewelry: earrings, pendants, bracelets, rings.
Foreigners prefer everything that is made in filigree as I said above from dishes composed of thin filigree threads, to souvenirs, to women’s decorative jewelry and everything else related to the ‘handmade’ works of filigree.
Being in contact every day with foreigners makes you feel culturally good about the fact how much interest they show in traditional handicrafts. It makes you appreciate and feel proud of our national tradition. We try to explain the filigree process to them step by step to give importance and to appreciate this process that has difficulties and requires a lot of patience from our artisans.