Hi! My name is Tanja Prlincevic and I am – together with Freddie Boersma – one of the founders and owners of Made By Humans Designs.
The reason why there are so many consonants in my last name is that I’m originally from Serbia, a part of former Yugoslavia. It wasn’t exactly the most peaceful region on the planet when I was in my teens so after finishing my degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Belgrade, I decided to move to Canada.
My big brother was already living in Vancouver, BC and, through him, I quickly found a job at a giftware company. I worked in sales as well as purchasing and both involved a heck of a lot of travel. I was away for months at a time, flying to countries all over the globe, from Japan and China to Germany and France, but most often to big cities in the US. I really loved getting a taste of all those different regional and national cultures.
I think it made me even more cosmopolitan than I already was. I’ve always found it impossible to identify myself completely with a particular country or cultural environment. Even while growing up in Yugoslavia, my family moved so frequently from one part of the country to another, and from one city to the next, that I’ve never had time to strike roots in any of the places we lived.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! On the contrary, I actually like this feeling of not totally belonging or fitting in anywhere in particular. It’s very freeing.
I’m a curious person. I love learning new things and figuring stuff out. A few years ago, for instance, I did my MBA at one of the universities here in town. I also taught myself how to make nice product pictures and tweak them in Photoshop. My current project is trying to find out everything there is to know about digital marketing.
I’m a single mom with an awesome, 18 y.o. son. He’s going to study finance at the University of British Columbia here in Vancouver in the fall of 2020. I’m so happy he’s not leaving town!
Hmm … what else should I reveal about myself? – Let’s see. How about this: my favorite writers are Camus and Kundera. I have a healthy lifestyle, don’t eat meat and hardly drink. Three glasses of wine and this lady’s speech begins to slur. I’m very conscious about what foods I put on the inside and what beauty products I put on outside of my body. No doubt my background in chemistry has everything to do with it, but I just have to know the chemical formula of every little ingredient of every little thing that I eat or slap on my skin. I keep in shape – well, let’s just say, reasonably good shape – by daily forcing myself to perform a set of 5 ancient Tibetan stretches called – big surprise – “The Five Tibetans”.
I love dogs but sadly don’t have one.
I also love Porsches but sadly don’t have one either. They should make an electric one, though.
So that’s me in a nutshell, folks. Thanks for reading all the way to end.
Freddie`s autobio (based on true events)
Hallo! My name is Freddie Boersma, one of the founders – together with Tanja Prlincevic – of Made By Humans Designs.
The thing I enjoy most of what we do is the creative process of coming up with fresh ideas for new products. The inspiration often comes from modern art or popular culture and sometimes just out of the blue. I make rough sketches that, honestly, look like s**t because I was never any good at arts & crafts and even managed to flunk kindergarten. I put together a mood board, pick Pantone colors and then hand over the whole project to a professional designer who knows what she’s doing. Because, full disclosure, I never went to art school or studied design in any way, shape or form.
What I did instead was study philosophy (MA) and practise martial arts (2 black belts). So much for career oriented education. But so what? They are lifelong passions.
My philosophical heroes are Ludwig Wittgenstein, Thomas Kuhn, Richard Rorty and Diogenes of Sinope a.k.a. The Philosopher Dog. The latter character lived like a homeless person in a big wine barrel and became famous for walking through the streets of Athens carrying a lantern in broad daylight. When asked what the hell he was up to, he replied: Just trying to find one single honest person in this goddamn town. I’d like to venture that this makes Diogenes the first performance artist in history.
The other thing I really like about my work is interacting with customers. I always look forward to seeing their familiar faces again at the trade shows in New York. Over the years some of them have become more like friends than customers. It’s great catching up with them and share a few laughs.
I’m a baby boomer; born and raised in Holland. I was living in Amsterdam where I ran into a beautiful, funny Canadian painter who was making the Grand Tour with a bunch of her artist friends. It was love at first sight. So after she was done traveling all over Europe she stayed with me in Amsterdam. After a few years, our son was born. We decided it was time for a change and moved to Vancouver. So that’s how I became a Canuck.
Although we didn’t last as a couple, I think we did – as dysfunctional families go – pretty good. My ex and I are still good friends, which is wonderful, and our son is currently working on his PhD in Comparative Lit at Emory U in Atlanta, GA. We’re such proud parents!
Other fun facts about me: I’m into all kinds of music, from popular mainstream (Billie Eilish, Drake, the Bieb) to obscure alternative (Dear Eloise, Organ Tapes) and everything in between (Bad Bunny, Mac DeMarco) – but my favorite band of all is probably Beach House.
I also like to read, and as far as I’m concerned, Junot Diaz and Michel Houellebecq are the greatest living authors in the world – period.
As for movies, I prefer the ones that come with subtitles. The best movie ever made, imo, is Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carne, 1945). But I also enjoy action movies and comedies.
What I also love is driving too fast even though I know that’s not okay. Other than that I’m an upstanding, law abiding citizen who pays his taxes. So there.
As for travel, Lego House in Denmark is at the top of my bucket list. Nothing else is on it, btw..
I also like small, white fluffy dogs, picnics, cocktails, food and blue lakes. As for long walks on the beach, I much prefer short walks to the fridge.
This auto-bio is beginning to look a lot like my dating profile so I guess I’ll leave it at that.