Zilina, Slovakia wasn’t actually a nice place. It was a perfect place in theory; you have to go through a small border town between Czech Republic and Poland, walked across the border and take a train to Zilina, Slovakia. I got to go three countries at the same time, and it sounded like a totally random thing no foreigner would do. That’s what I do. Sounds perfect, right?
In conclusion, I can’t say too many good things about the three days in Zilina, but I had the best experience through the fresh kolache. There was a shop called ‘Anjelski koláč’ known for the best kolache in town. It was located in a small alleyway, but it was not hard to find at all. Just follow the sweet-savory small, and there they were, Angel Kolache makers. There were six different flavours in the window, but you know one of these moments that you just can’t decide what you want because everything looks so good, it was like that. One thing for sure was that this would be better than any other kolache I’ve ever seen in any of the market. I could just tell.
From the few minutes of interaction, I’ve learn the lesson, or I’ve experience the valuable outcome from the lesson I knew already.
The video of kolache maker. He’s doing everything by his hands! And he looks so happy.
Do what you love
When I stood there and thought, what do I want, what would be better, can I buy three or four, or is it too much, a kolache maker pocked his head through the curtain next to the register and explained some of the toppings. His hands were covered in flour, he’s wearing one of those cute baker’s hat, and looked extremely happy. He invited me over to his kitchen. I could feel the happy energy there: dough on the baking pan, all the toppings in a cute little kitchen filled with buttery and fruity smell. He was keep making kolache and explaining the ingredients. We communicated a little with my limited Slovakian and his much better English. He loves making delicious kolache. So he makes the best kolache in town. To this day, I’ve never had anything better than his. Do what you love, then amazing thing will happen.
The kolache was 1 euro a piece and some are more. There was a sampler plate on the casher table, and she just put one more out and sliced just for us. Obviously we had a hard time deciding, and she was keep offering a big piece of kolache. Finally we bought three of them (it was still hot!) and had one around the corner of the shop. I remember the shocking feeling, how ‘bread’ can be this good! I went back to take a picture of the store from outside and went back in. I told the owners, kolache maker couple, that I’m a writer and the video I took that him making kolache and pictures of the shop earlier are going to be online through my blog. I knew I have to share the experience with the world. I think they understood. She gladly posed for me few more times, and gave us two more kolache that we didn’t ask for.
In every field I’ve experienced, I found the business people who were stingy. It comes out different forms, but the result was always the same. They think being cheap brings more money to them, but that is really not the truth. If you love what you do, and have a pride in your business, why not being generous? Share some kolache, share your tips, and share your new coming sandwiches. Be generous to your customers, your co-workers and to yourself.
Be proud but humble
Obviously they knew that they were making something good in that kitchen. They sold the kolache every minute. It was a small shop without a noticeable store front, but they were always rich with the customers. I also was in shock from how good the kolache was. I gave them the biggest smile and the biggest thumbs up. However, their response was very humble. Although I didn’t speak their language, I could read the expression.
From the experience, it’s really hard to be humble. Especially in travel blogger world, the world based on the internet presents, it’s really hard because we need to be very visible in any occasion. The world is watching. From living the life that didn’t have that much ‘success’, I know it’s hard to be humble with the things you’re good at. But that always attracts people: the humbleness.
4 thoughts on “Business Lessons Learned from the Kolache Maker”
LOVE this (and I LOVE kolaches). What an amazing pair of people you met.
It`s nice to see you can learn something even from places that you don`t particularly love.
I like your message about remaining humble. I like your message about delicious pastries even more!