The Penal Brand Story

Veljko and Katarina founders of The Penal Brand

Hi and welcome to our site. We are Katarina and Veljko. We are the founders of THE PENAL BRAND and this is our story.

Back when we were teenagers, like most others, we thought we had it all figured out. Full of imagination and dreams, we thought that being a grownup is just a matter of doing the right things at the right time and going on enjoying our lives.

  • Finish school
  • Get a job
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Enjoy life

Wait... What?

Katarina: Even though we did everything we were instructed to do – something was missing. We found ourselves struggling to stay in that vaunted comfort zone. But it was not comfortable at all. Working in shifts, for meagre wages, with little to no quality time with our kids or with each other. It was a cage with golden bars.

We saw the people we had become. It was not us. We were caught up in a constant losing battle for our lives. For our time.

Finally, we snapped. We realized that we had become slaves, even though we managed to accomplish all the things we thought we were supposed to do to earn our freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom to organize our time. Freedom to spend time with our children.

The decision was brewing in our mind, but we kept on doing the same thing, day in day out, afraid to lose the safety net. Then one day, after an exhausting day at work, Veljko said something like:
"We're wasting time. Whose permission are we waiting for?"

And that was that. The next day was like a dream. It was like we somehow managed to turn back the clocks to the time when we were still full of imagination and energy. When we were free. And it was nothing we actually did. It was just the realization:
What if there is no perfect moment? What if the only time we got is right now?

Veljko: We decided to start our own business. We had no idea what we would do, but we knew that whatever we did, it had to be called PENAL.

Up here, in my home town of Sombor in Serbia, we often use this sports-related word – “PENAL” - as a slang word describing something cool. It is an expression of instantaneous approval and joy, like "AWESOME".

Katarina: Veljko wanted to make a reminder for us – something that would keep us from going back to the old 9-to-5 routine. He came up with a simple, yet perfect idea: a wall clock – but without numbers or any other marks that represent limits. We decided to take our time into our own hands and organize it according to our own dreams. When he made that first clock, he asked me what we should call it. Immediately, three letters came to my mind. DWT. Don't. Waste. Time.

Don’t Waste Time Wall Clocks

Veljko: The message is quite simple. Yet we discovered that so many of our friends were caught up in the same rat race as we were. We were so happy with that first wall clock, we decided to make some more for our friends. We wanted to spread the message. Time is our most valuable, non-renewable resource. It is also the resource we waste the most. We realized:

You cannot give someone more time. But you can give them a reminder that they should stop wasting the time that they have.

Katarina: Making these wall clocks was so much fun, we decided to try and make that our business. The pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. Slowly.

Veljko: I had an idea what I wanted my clocks to look like, but I didn’t know how to put that on the clock faces. I decided to draw what I had in my mind myself. We couldn’t afford to buy the full version of the design software, so we downloaded a 15-day-trial version. I am not computer savvy, and it took me almost a week to find my way around the professional software. That left me with just a week to transfer my ideas into something printable. Normally, I would have given up in face of such adversity, but in this case, I kept pushing on. Just as my software was warning me for the last time that my trial version was about to expire, I finished the tenth and final original print design I had in mind. This was just one of the many obstacles that were soon to follow. However, the experience taught me a valuable lesson: I found out that in life, there are no problems, just opportunities for growth.

Katarina: If there were any doubts in our minds about our decision to break free from the clutches of the rat race, those doubts vanished the moment we first saw our original designs printed on the clock faces. That was the point of no return for us. When Veljko assembled the first wall clock, with his hands trembling from excitement, our two kids curiously watching their dad fumbling about the mechanism – that was the moment I knew: No more time wasting. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.