‘Made in Europe’ road trip – check out the stops:
–> Visiting the headquarters in Bavaria
–> Our biggest footwear factory, Croatia
–> A day in the life of the HANWAG factory in Hungary
–> Traditional footwear craftsmanship in Swabia
–> A footwear dynasty in Bosnia
HANWAG only manufactures in Europe. But what does that mean in detail? And who are the people whose craftsmanship and expertise underpin the quality of our footwear? In this series, we’re taking you on a trip to HANWAG’s production facilities in four European countries. Part 5 involves our production facilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Five years ago, Radovan Pazurević could have retired. “But I didn’t want to,” explains the 72 year old with an impish smile. Instead, he arrived at the footwear factory every working day at 7 a.m. Or more accurately, at Sanino, which he founded in the 1990s. Since 1999, its headquarters have been located in the traditional shoemakers’ town of Derventa, in the far north of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And Sanino has also been producing European made hiking boots for HANWAG since 2021.
“We sew uppers for models like the HANWAG Banks Low or the HANWAG Tatra Light,” explains Radovan. “And we also attach some of these uppers to the sole at the same time. Others are sent on for so-called bottoming (sole assembly) nto further production facilities.” HANWAG accounts for only a small percentage of Sanino’s total production. “We make around 1.7 million uppers and 200,000 shoes end-to-end for various brands annually,” comments Radovan.
“Our region has been known for its shoemaking for a hundred years,” explains Radovan. He completed an apprenticeship with one of the biggest shoe factories and worked his way up the ranks to become its director. The fall of the Iron Curtain signalled the end of the Soviet Union as a consumer market and lots of companies in the West moved production to Asia. When civil war broke out in former Yugoslavia, Radovan and his family moved to China where he worked as a shoe technician.
In the late 1990s, they moved back to Europe where Radovan founded his own company, in Hungary initially, and called it after his two children Sanja and Nino. Seven years later, he moved the business back to its previous location, Derventa, with a population of 25,000. “Today, we have a workforce of 840 and are one of the region’s biggest employers. Lots of people also do their vocational training at our company.” Sanino makes HANWAG footwear at its headquarters in Derventa, but also at sites and partner factories in Banja Luka and Prnjavor.
Radovan’s daughter is a footwear engineer and has followed in her father’s footsteps. Son Nino became a printing engineer. “The family meets up regularly and we often go hiking in the forests,” says 72-year-old Radovan. He and his friends often enjoy climbing Motajica, which, at 625 metres, is the highest mountain in the region.
But today’s just another working day. Like any other morning, Radovan had a cup of coffee with the members of staff he’s closest to and checked his emails. Afterwards, he likes to stroll around the production facility as often as possible and talk to employees. “Then we sometimes discuss personal matters, like people’s families or health complaints,” says Radovan. “I like to take time to engage with people in this way. Because 50 years in the job have taught me that nothing replaces personal contact with employees.”
A life devoted to shoe making. And it sounds as if Radovan Pazurević is not about to step back from his life’s work any time soon.
The ‘Made in Europe’ Road Trip: Back to the start in Bavaria