Boxing clever: The owner of Edinburgh business Shoestack wants to "give something back"
A businessman who came to Edinburgh as a two-year-old after escaping the Bosnian War wants to “give something back” with his successful shoe storage firm.
Bernardo Redzic only started Shoestack in December 2020, yet he has already turned his mind away from profit margins and moved his thoughts towards the environmental impact of his business.
And he has pledged to plant one tree for every order they receive, and have joined the carbon-offsetting subscription site Ecologi. They only launched this initiative last week, yet have already helped plant 70 trees.
Bernardo, who trained as a graphic designer, said: "For a lot of companies it’s all about money, but I’d rather be giving back right from the start.
"I know that I’m selling plastic products, but my boxes are recyclable and I’m looking at other ways to be sustainable”.
The idea for Shoestack came out of Bernardo’s own love for shoes - he has a collection of around 20 pairs.
However, he struggled to find good quality storage boxes for his shoes, and after shopping around for a few months with no luck, he decided to fill this gap in the market himself.
He started by finding a supplier and then ordered 1000 boxes – which he ordered to his mum’s house, where he still lives.
When the mass of boxes arrived, Bernardo received an angry call from his mum telling him to get home and start unpacking the lorry.
However, his risk worked out - once he put his boxes online, his stock quickly sold out within weeks.
The business has continued to thrive and he has purchased 7000 more boxes, which are selling quickly.
Bernardo hopes that with the Christmas season approaching, this month will be his best yet for sales.
He is now renting a storage container to keep his stock in – much to his mum’s relief.
While she was initially shocked at the arrival of the boxes, Bernardo says she is now “really happy”.
He said: “She’s much happier now that I’ve got a storage unit and there’s space in the house again.
“My mum doesn’t mind sitting there and packaging them with me. She helps out a lot when it comes out to that sort of stuff”.
Bernardo and his mother were displaced by the war in Bosnia and lived in a refugee camp in Croatia for two years before they managed to relocate to Edinburgh as the brutal civil conflict in the Balkans raged, tearing communities apart and turning neighbours against each other.
He does not remember his early years, but he knows his mother must have struggled.
Bernardo said: “She was 19 when she had me, and my dad didn’t make it over to Scotland. She’s really strong”.
As well as continuing the success of Shoestack, Bernardo, who recently completed the Manchester Marathon, hopes to keep running with his mum, a hobby that they picked up during lockdown.
You can find out more about Shoestack at www.shoestack.co.uk