One Magazine

By now they are fully knowledgeable when it comes to the building of an image for a certain event, or making a product attractive till they accomplish the final goal, to sell it. They are convinced that this would have not been possible without the unbridled passion that has kept Vatra (the “Fireplace”) burning all these years.
The messages we get about the products in our hands all come from them. The “no cholesterol” sign in the Olim bottle sounds true when it comes from them, just like the slogans of political parties in times of campaigns or reforms. Clients are drawn to them as by magnet, confident and almost hypnotized that “Vatra” is the starting point of a flourishing business. We hope you know who we are talking about! Yes, you are right, it is them! Gerton Bejo and Rezart Shehu, the two famous “Vatra” boys. Two guys who dared to undertake an immense mission, to gather all, from all places, around the Fireplace. To generate ideas, provide information, to do what they do best, and what everybody needs, to sell the product.
It took time to come this far. In order to make “Vatra” the center of attention it was necessary to spend long hours in the office, waiting for a knock on the door. They experienced vivid emotions when the first client passed their doorstep. They have lived through beautiful and difficult moments together, and Gerti and Rezi are willing to talk about them recalling even small details.
Following the day when they fortuitously acquainted each-other, the future was not at all clear at first. While working for almost 3 years with the graphic design and layout of “Top Chanel” Rezi felt that there was something missing in his life. It was the other half that materialized in the shape of Gerti. Just coming back from his studies in London where he majored graphic design and advertising campaigns, Gerti had commenced his first works in Tirana.

He was introduced with Rezi in the Top Channel studios while he was completing one of his works. As soon as they exchanged the first words it was obvious that they were meant to work together. Several discussions, suggestions and exchange of ideas brought them to the conclusion to bring to life together what they had pondered about individually. The dilemma that kept Gerti between UK and working with Rezi could not be solved immediately. For some time he was hesitant whether this was the right time to come and settle in Albania. He was even flirting with the idea to have Rezi come join him in London. However they finally decided to stay in Albania and create “Vatra”.

Once, the small modest office on the side of “Jul Variboba” street was not really noticeable. It was not what it is now, a multidisciplinary design studio with many people engaged in many processes and many clients coming in and out during working hours. “Vatra” is now at its highest. However, regardless of all the achievements, and many years of hard work, the “Vatra” boys cannot forget the knock of the first client on their door. At that time, they were still unsecure and not comfortable with the furniture and equipments that they had managed in the modest office. They remember with a grin on their face a situation that symbolizes their difficult beginning. The chair where one of the clients would sit was totally unsuitable. It could give away at any moment, and in fact it did. The chair was not at all concerned that the most important person for the moment was sitting on it. It whimpered under the weight of the client and it collapsed together with him. In spite of this situation he served like a swallow to spread the news that “Vatra” had opened the doors. He was a good omen. The boys understood that when they could count a list of 140 clients in a period of 2 years. Of course, the good news that the clients were spreading around was not the only reason to their success. The “Vatra” boys worked with ingenuity, starting with their own image.
Therefore, before starting any other campaign, they initiated a campaign on themselves, by creating a logo, the first brochures and business cards… Both of them went knocking door to door, handing out their brochures. Never slothful, always eager to present their work to everyone at any time, down to the tiniest details about their “Fireplace”. They were not concerned with the long hours that they spent, confident that one day these efforts would turn e great reward.
The first project came with no delay. The first client that trusted his product with “Vatra” came all the way from Korca. It meant that the news about “Vatra” was spread far beyond Tirana.
This was a good sign that inspired the boys to craft a masterpiece for the “Albanac” brandy. Gerti and Rezi proudly show us a bottle of this cognac that they still keep in their office. Just like all the other works they have created since then.

After completing the first phase which was working with small and medium enterprises and corporates in Albania and abroad, they would address another field, politics. Following two years of experience it was time that Rezi received a phone call presenting the first offer to devise a proper political campaign, for a new political party as the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI). Slogans, posters, television spots, setting, colors and everything with which SMI presented itself came from the ingenuity of Gerti and Rezi.

They did not accept the offer immediately. They pondered the situation calmly, whether they wanted to be involved with politics or not. There was some risk to be considered. They could be labeled as proteges of this or that political party, whoever they started with. Finally they understood that it was necessary to cross over this line. It was the right moment and a good opportunity. They considered politics as a product. And everything worked out marvelously.

In order to get the SMI campaign they had to compete with two rather prestigious companies, one was the Italian studio that ran the campaign of D’ Alema and the other one was the Kosovar studio that ran the campaign of Thaci. The competition was fierce, but they made it.

The effect that the SMI campaign had was so great that right after the unbelievable happened for “Vatra”. The Democratic Party (DP) rival party with SMI came to sit around the same “Fireplace” to forge one of the most important and conclusive product of their campaign, the Policy Making Committee (KOP). They trusted the professionalism, strong principles, and mission of the Vatra boys in creating everything with charm, considering it only and always a product. Thus, together with the “Time for Change” slogan of the Democratic Party the “Vatra” boys experienced their own big change: crossing from the left – wing parties’ line of thought, with their professionalism they were capable to adapt to the line that their rival BGR had created for the right – wing parties. Again they made it in great fashion, after finishing successfully their first challenge.

Now everything is possible in the offices of “Vatra”. Rivals might be simultaneous clients of Vatra, but this is not an issue anymore. The “Vatra” boys have the upper hand of that situation already. They are always cautious so rivals are not clashed in their offices. Making possible that while in one of their studios television spots are being developed for the leftists, the other one can start working with the right-wing. Businesses have their own department as well, because now Vatra (“the Fireplace”) has a place for everybody.