Mate Dušević: The Support and Work of the Family Is the Key to Every Success!
More than 35 years of experience, numerous awards and thousands of satisfied customers from all over the world. Dušević family farm is a true representative of dedicated and hard-working olive oil producers of Zadar Region, but also the whole Dalmatia.
This is why Agritourism Zadar platform brings you an interview with Mate Dušević, a representative and the head of Mate Dušević family farm, which is their official name. This is only the first interview out of many that await us - since Zadar region farmers have a lot to say!
Can you tell us a bit more about your work today, especially agritourism work? What products do you put on the market, what do you offer tourists during tastings and what are your plans for expanding the range of products, if any?
Our agritourism business consists fo a tasting room for olive oils, wines and liqueurs, and we put on the market 5 monovarietal oils (from mild to spicy) and 3 wines (red, white, rose), together with 5 liqueurs.
We offer tourists an olive oil tasting school with a video presentation, where they get to know the good qualities of EVO oil, and we combine the same oils with local domestic products (ham, cheese, fish, vegetables...).
When it comes to our plans and goals, those are to increase production capacity, we are not going to expand the range of products but to increase production capacity.
What are the reactions of tourists when they come to try your products? What do you think they like the most?
The first thing that tourists notice at our place is the well-organized tasting room area with over 300 medals and cups, which they are immediately delighted with. Also, the cellar where the products are stored, which is always at 15 degrees, and as they say, just like in a pharmacy, meaning the hygiene comes first.
Another thing that delights them is the quality of the product itself, because as most customers tell us, they feel the true taste of the product. For them, our products have (unlike those distributed in stores) both a smell and a taste that is natural.
Thirdly, and I would even put it first, people want to meet the manufacturer of these products. They want to hear his story and see how much he cares about the quality of these products. They want to see that passion for these products is at the top level. Without the presence of the manufacturer himself the whole story has no meaning and no soul.
What is the role of the family in the whole story? Can a story like yours succeed without the support and work of the whole family?
The support and work of the family is the key to every success, including ours. The father laid a solid foundation and continues to actively participate in the improvement of OPG, my wife is also active in marketing, sales and running the tasting room, while our children Donat (8 years old) and Krševan (3 years old) actively participate in the harvesting and packaging of products and give us an additional incentive for success. Without the support of the family, none of this would have made sense.
What are the Top 3 lessons you have learned in your previous work with tourists at agritourism, through the concept of tasting and food preparation?
The most important thing is to be natural and relaxed, and you should give maximum attention to each guest, let him taste all the products and explain to him how you got to the final product.
It is also very important that we as producers (entire family) present it because these people want to see and talk to the people who produced it. Every guest is equally important - the one who buys one bottle as much as the one who buys 30 bottles of the product. We have had experiences where people bought one product and were delighted and sent many more friends and acquaintances who made us significant traffic, so every guest is very important and everyone should be given maximum service and presentation.
With food, as with products, the most important thing is that it is a domestic product with top quality. The scale must not be lowered, only raised, everything must be DOMESTIC and TOP QUALITY.
Sales and booking - you use a fairly broad and integrated approach - from flyers and promo materials, road signs, to a website and cooperation with digital platforms. Tell us a little more about that approach and do you intend to introduce some new forms of communication to the market in the future, for example video production and the like?
We are active on social networks and have distributed a lot of flyers to apartments, hotels and tourist boards in our area, which brought us an increase in business. Also, in addition to the existing two road signs, we plan to install four more large road signs/boards (Vir, Posedarje, Pag, Zadar) because we have seen that a large number of guests come to us after noticing the road sign. On the marketing side, we plan to make a big step forward next year (increase our presence on social networks), because we saw that we still have a lot of room for improvement.
Thank you, Mate for sharing insights with us, and good luck with further work!