Slatnar: ”Development takes time, people don’t always understand that.”

Biodom 27 is a Slovenian company, based in Kozina. Starting with the development of pellet boilers in 1999, their own series production and sales began in 2004. They started on a Slovenian market but soon they grew bigger, expanding abroad. Up until now, they’ve exported over 90% of their production. Not letting themselves fall asleep, the main virtue is their innovative structural design of products, which prevents the loss of energy and at the same time creates optimal conditions for the transfer of heat from flue gases to water. Another cool thing about this company – biomass, valuing human resources and using green energy.

We talked to the well-known man of many talents, Peter Slatnar and his collaboration with Alpina and Biodom.

You just came back from Switzerland. How was it?

Interesting. We had a FIS meeting in Zürich. Discussing plans, like every year. Went there by car with my guy who makes carbon. Firstly we drove to Friedrichshafen, we visited AERO – their aviation show. I used to fly, so we wanted to see it. Then we crossed the lake and ended in Zürich. I also brought back tons of Lindt chocolate, you know, those little eggs and golden rabbits.

Ahh, these are the best.

Yeah, they had a whole pyramid of those, their stores are full of their chocolate. You can leave your salary there (laughs).

Who wouldn’t (laugh). So the meeting was successful.

It was. Next up is a conference at the end of May in Cavstat – Dubrovnik. This is also going to be an important one, for many reasons. One of them is Biodom.

The last time we did an interview we discussed your carbon shoes – what’s happening there?

They are there (points in the corner). We tried them but I’m still not content. Perhaps we spoke too soon back then and everybody was expecting too much. Carbon is also expensive and should be used wisely. Development takes time, people don’t always understand that.

I remember you said there won’t be any carbon shoes unless you’re 100% satisfied with the product.

Exactly. You can’t rush into things, especially things that are used almost on a daily basis, things one depends on. If it’s not good I won’t give it a green light.
Right now I’m really busy and I’m working on many projects, one of them is a collaboration with Alpina (Slovenian shoe company).

We’re talking about new shoes, different shoes?

Yes. Tomorrow I have a meeting to see the progress. We’re making them for kids first. I have some prototypes here but just basic ones, nothing to show, really. Wait, let me check the photos.

How are they different?

First of all, more accessible. They’re made of leather. It’s cheaper than carbon, faster and easier to make. It’s also more adjustable, flexible. The shoes need to be good but cheap and available at any time.

But leather and water/snow – that’s not the best combination?

It’s actually synthetic leather. It’s resistant to almost everything, so no need to worry. First, we want to try it on kids and during testing, we’ll see the possible flaws and where’s room for improvement. Eventually, we hope to make them worthy of the World Cup.

Literally improving your best.

Yes (laughs).

 

Alright, what about the Biodom project?

This is a whole new project. Like shoes, we’re ”testing” it on kids. You see, people don’t know about Biodom because they don’t advertise it. There are no billboards, no tv commercials, at least not here. They produce pellet boilers but people don’t know.

Exactly, we only found out about them when seeing photos of your skis with their name on them on Facebook.

Yes. Now they’re doing it with the help of ski jumping. Having their name on our skis already opened a way on the Polish market. Next up is Ukraine, Slovakia, Switzerland, Romania already has a production there. Let’s not forget the North, Norway, Finland – everybody is interested and everything goes through ski jumping. They find suppliers and service guys, who in the end, sell their products. With every boiler sold Biodom gets a certain percentage they use for advertising their brand and instead of billboards they use our skis – Polish kids already got about 40 pairs of skis from us.

So your skis are covered in Biodom?

The upper part is covered in Biodom, the rest is Slatnar. So Biodom – Slatnar.

It’s a win-win.

That’s right. Now this year we aim for FIS – we’d like FIS to approve the brand so they could also sponsor a couple of athletes in the World Cup. We will get the final answer in Dubrovnik.
Of course, the sponsorship also depends on the success of the business. You know how it is, ”Kolikor denarja, toliko muzike.” – ”You get what you pay for” (laughs).

The athletes are usually just glad to be sponsored.

And if they sometimes get a reward – what’s there not to like.
He (Marko Šimic, the owner of Biodom) is also thinking of expanding his business. It’s a strong business, it’s all over Europe, Scandinavia, they’re thinking about Canada.

How did they approach you, why you?

We’ve known each other for quite some time. Marko used to be a ski jumper, he was jumping with Zvone Pograjc and others. Perhaps we’ll do some more business together.

Well, it surely was wise to start the collaboration with Polish ski jumpers. We all know how Poland is crazy about ski jumping.

We had a deal with their Ski Association. We told them what we had and that’s what they got. We’ve been working with Adam Malysz, he’s some sort of an ambassador, and the president of the Polish Ski Association, everybody was actually willing to help. It all started in Zakopane. Marko went there to see some show, there was also a competition for kids so it all got official, like a ceremony, where they gave away the skis with their brand name.

Does it show? Is the business growing?

Yes, actually. They’ve sold more than expected. That advertisement went viral there, they put it in Polish newspapers, commercials.
It was so interesting, the kids were staring at the skis and nobody could read the brand name properly at first. Do you read it from right or left… (we both laughed). Kids didn’t know what was that anyway. Until they looked down and started repeating ”Slatnar, Slatnar!” and went crazy (laughs).
Another fun fact – there’s also a couple of companies that used to sell Polish boilers. They basically let go of those boilers and are now selling the Biodom ones.

Now that must’ve been huge.

It is. These boilers aren’t just simple boilers. They have special sensors which determine the altitude, air humidity and humidity in pellets so you have no work with the heating system – it adjusts by itself.
I’ve actually had one in our basement for 15 years now, one of the first models. Just a coincidence. And Marko told me they can replace it, I can show the new model to people when visiting. But I told him no need, it still works and the box is the same, just older (laughs).

That’s also an advertisement itself – people can see the quality.

Exactly. It’s such a small box but covers a huge area (two houses, firm etc.). Never lets me down.

So all we do now is wait for the green light from FIS?

That’s right. We just have to wait, then we’ll know for sure. I’ll keep you posted.

We’d like to thank Peter for taking time for the interview and hopefully, we’ll get even more good news soon.

 Dolores Lazić

 

 

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