Eva Sharlopova is the Executive Director of Sharlopov Group. She studied in Switzerland and Austria, and then returned to Bulgaria to join the family business. She went all the way from the lowest levels in the hierarchy to the highest management position.
Boyana Charlopova is a member of the board of
directors of Sharlopov Group. She graduated in Microbiology and
Genetics at the University of Plovdiv and at the end of 1999 began working as a
microbiologist at one of the brand companies (Royal Cake AD). She is actively involved
in creating the interior design of the hotels of
What businesses does Sharlopov
Group unite today?
ES: Sharlopov Group is a sustainable growing family brand that brings together the companies owned by the Sharlopov family – companies with different activities (jewellery, rental of commercial and warehouse premises, hotel services), but united by the common purpose of dynamic development and inspiring ideas.
We created the first private hotel chain in Bulgaria in 1999. Sharlopov Hotels is also the first Bulgarian hotel chain to expand its presence in Europe with the opening of the Palmenwald Schwarzwaldhof SPA and Wellness Hotel in Freudenstadt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, in 2010.
BS: Over the
years of development, our main goal has been to establish Bulgaria as a
year-round tourist destination with its exceptional natural riches, climate,
mineral waters, cultural and historical heritage.
What distinguishes Sharlopov Group from its competitors?
BS: Ever since
our first hotel was created, we have been trying to provide our guests with a
sense of cosiness, of family-like atmosphere and warmth. It is really important
for us that they feel comfortable and at ease in their “home away from
ЕS: For us,
success has never been a reason or an excuse to stop in one place. On the
contrary, the successes and recognitions we receive motivate us to continue to
develop and invest in improvements, in higher quality, in more diverse
BS: We create
all our projects with a lot of experience behind us and professionalism, but
also with a lot of love. Our main goal is one – happy and satisfied clients who
would come back to us.
This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our company, and we hope that the next 20 years will be even more successful and inspiring.
How would you describe the company’s credo?
BS: It may
sound as a cliché, but for us, the client comes first. We have always been
driven by the desire to offer our guests the highest quality of service,
personal attitude and attention. Let me quote Mahatma Gandhi’s words, which
perfectly fit our vision of what is valuable and important in our business:
“The client is the most important visitor on our
premises. He is not dependent on us - we are dependent on him.
He does not an interruption of our work - he is the purpose of it. He is not a rank outsider to our business - he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him, but he is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve him.”
What is your vision for the future of the company? Do you envision new projects and investments and improvements to existing ones?
Group is already a well-established and recognizable brand on the Bulgarian
market. The products we offer have been speaking for themselves for years. We
have the task of keeping and upgrading everything created so far. We are happy that
in the last 2 years, we have been able to finalize two large-scale projects for
the overall renovation of the Devin SPA Hotel and the construction of a brand-new
hotel quarters in Pirin Park Hotel, Sandanski, which was not easy and took
considerable time and resources. But I think the results are well worth it.
BS: We have had
an ambitious idea for a while, which we hope to be able to implement soon. We
would like to create Sharlopov Academy – a place for training and development
that creates highly qualified specialists in the field of tourism. This is our
way of contributing to the industry, which is in dire need of well-trained
What are the biggest challenges you face in your business today?
ЕS: One of the
big difficulties we often have to deal with is finding well-trained employees.
The personnel problem in Bulgaria, in particular in the tourism sector, is
serious and continues to deepen, which is why it should not be underestimated,
but specific solutions should be sought.
In addition, the human factor has always been at the heart of our business. And as we know, it is a complex, often unpredictable matter, a set of different emotions, values, ideas. It is important for us that employees feel motivated and committed to the company in order to be satisfied and efficient enough in their work. This is important for both parties. In this sense, we are trying to invest the necessary care and attention in order to show our employees that they are valued and that we need them.
company is meaningless without its employees. It is a challenge to be able to
build and subsequently retain a well-functioning and united team with which to
meet the difficulties and successes together. Tourist services are constantly
developing, which requires upgrading and uncompromising quality of the services
we offer. The challenges are daily, but they are the ones that motivate us to
improve ourselves and move forward.
What does success
mean to you?
BS: Success is not something to think about every day and make it an end in
itself. It is a logical consequence of your efforts, of the work you do with
enthusiasm, pleasure and dedication. For me, it is a success to walk the path
of your life without losing yourself and your values.
ES: Success has
different dimensions for different people. For me, it is finding happiness in
the simple things that make your day better – waking up with a smile, being
satisfied with a completed project, a new idea, coping with a new challenge. I
do not understand success as a one-off event in our lives. Success means
continuous development and movement – you set a goal, you achieve it, and you
move on to the next one.
Is it easier or harder for women to succeed in business and
does gender matter?
ES: In today’s
business, there is no place for gender stereotypes. I don’t like the division
of women and men in business. Yes, women and men in business, and not only
there, are different in terms of emotionality, way of thinking and
decision-making, way of communication. However, it is important for these
differences to be understood and used rationally in different situations.
BS: It seems to me that one of the mistakes that we,
women, often make is trying to imitate men when we do business. This, in
addition to being difficult, is in most cases useless and does not produce the
results we want. I am convinced that when you see yourself as a leader, when
you know where you are going, and when you stay true to your principles and
ideas, the fact that you are a woman makes no difference. I think that the love
of a woman is a great advantage, which, when directed and transformed into a
business endeavour, is the fuel that every successful business needs.