MIK’s path

A story about vision, courage and success

Take the journey through 30 years of creating the history of one of the biggest Slovenian manufacturers of builders’ joinery, MIK Celje.


First steps in the home garage – from hardwood flooring to picture framing materials

The story of MIK Celje began at the end of the 1980s when Franci Pliberšek, a promising and ambitious student of architecture, started flirting with entrepreneurship and opened a part-time company creating and selling hardwood floors and floor boards, in addition to his study obligations. In 1990, he upgraded his part-time company and turned it into full-time company which expanded its activities into importing and selling slats and other picture framing materials. The beginnings of MIK therefore go back to his home courtyard in the village of Gaji, in the vicinity of Celje. In the family home where he grew up, Franci’s mother Marija let her son use the garage where he and his long-time girlfriend Adrijana, who is now his wife, and a couple of friends were able to start making his entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Franci set his first office, workshop and warehouse in the garage of his family home which his mother Marija kindly let him use.

The story of MIK was born in the family home of Franci Pliberšek in the village of Gaji in the vicinity of Celje.

The first trade fair presentations also came with the development of the picture framing material business. As a company, MIK presented itself for the first time at the Celje International Craft Fair in 1992; ever since, we have been a part of this fair as one of the largest, traditional exhibitors.


The blossoming of the wholesale of picture framing materials

During the transition, when other numerous smaller enterprises involved in picture framing were also being set up, our business soon began to flourish and MIK became one of the leading and, later, also the largest distributor of picture framing materials in the independent Slovenia. Between 1991 and 1993, after a mere three years of operation, MIK created a database of 200 permanent clients, many of which were some of the most appreciated Slovenian picture framers and gallery owners. Franci Pliberšek was propelled forward by his ambitions and keen sense of business.

The first trade fair presentations also came with the development of the picture framing material business. MIK has been a faithful guest of the trade fair presentations at the Celje International Craft Fair for nearly 30 years.


Importing window-manufacturing machines

Franci soon started to import window-manufacturing machines for numerous Slovenian window manufacturers and, due to well-established contacts abroad, promised to one of his acquaintances that he would import the first window-manufacturing production line in Slovenia for him. At that time, Franci Pliberšek who, despite his young age, had quite some business experience under his belt, knew that this was a big business which would not happen overnight.

The first production of MIK PVC windows at the premises of CE Plast.


What initially seemed like a failure is now known as the beginning of the great MIK success story

After a few weeks of intensive work, he finally managed to bring the promised production line to Slovenia. In the meantime, something unexpected happened: the company of his acquaintance for whom he had bought and imported the window-manufacturing production line went belly-up. Franci Pliberšek was therefore left with a high financial debt and a window-manufacturing production line, with no idea as to what to do with it. Here is what the CEO of MIK Celje has to say about this story: “This was the right moment for me to start doubting; the right turning point for me to say, well, that’s it for me. But I don’t believe in coincidences. What I do believe, however, is that there is a message hiding in every single thing. If your intentions are pure, every single message will be a positive one.” (a quote from the book “Vsemogočni v ogledalu” (Almighty in the Mirror) that Franci Pliberšek published alongside Mateja Zorko Pavšar). At approximately the same time, he bought the industrial hall of another failed company in Celje, and as he stood in front of the window-manufacturing production line that he did not manage to sell to its agreed owner, he decided to try and manufacture windows, even though he had no previous knowledge of the matter. Franci Pliberšek created his first windows with his wife Adrijana and his faithful colleagues at 600m2, which soon expanded to 1,700m2.

CE Plast in Celje


The story of the largest builders’ joinery manufacturer in Slovenia and its meteoric rise

Since 1998, when MIK Celje started manufacturing PVC windows, the company has been undergoing a period of rapid growth. Until 2003, MIK windows were sold by retailer Merkur, which also increased the sales figures and the income which the company further invested into the professionalism, knowledge, development, and staffing of the company. Initially, MIK was composed of three colleagues who started their journey in Pliberšek’s garage at home; at the end of the 1990s, the company already had 30 employees. In 2000, the production line was upgraded to a computer-controlled option which was one of the first instances of such production lines in Europe. In the immediate vicinity of the family home where Franci Pliberšek took his first steps as an entrepreneur, MIK built a new business building and opened the first MIK showroom and gallery, which provided space for numerous exhibitions of Slovenian fine artists in the framework of their picture framing material import activity.


Establishment of a sales network and newly opened MIK showrooms

When the Slovenian market was thoroughly tested through Merkur’s sales network, MIK began to expand its own retail network from its native town of Celje to all Slovenian regions between 2004 and 2008. This was followed by the opening of showrooms in Maribor, Ljubljana, Izola, Murska Sobota and Nova Gorica and, finally, Kranj and Novo mesto. By opening showrooms all over Slovenia, MIK became a staple in all Slovenian homes which started recognizing and appreciating the company as a high-quality manufacturer of builders’ joinery.


When something big grows from a small seed … and then becomes even bigger

Franci Pliberšek, CEO and founder of MIK Celje, says: “For a successful company, one view is not enough; what you need is a team of capable individuals with different experience and various views on how to approach a certain issue.” In the spring of 2007, MIK started building a new administrative and production building in Vojnik, the construction of which took a mere six months. When the company moved to the new location in Vojnik in September 2007, the number of employees increased to nearly 120; by the end of 2010, the company had over 190 employees and 110 contract installers. In the years following at the new location in Vojnik, the production and sale of ALU and wooden builders’ joinery and ventilated facades, the development and installation of comprehensive glazing design solutions, front doors and fire doors, as well as the development and production of local MIKrovent ventilation systems were added to the production of PVC windows.


Orientation towards scientific development – incorporation of the Dr Peter Novak Institute

At the same time, MIK Celje also started focusing on scientific development, embodied by the opening of the Dr Peter Novak Institute and a test chamber, which is a unique feature among Slovenian builders’ joinery manufacturers. By simulating different climatic conditions, the chamber is used to test the manufactured elements of the builders’ joinery, as well as the local MIKrovent ventilation system. The purpose of this testing is to develop and manufacture the most advanced, insulating and energy-efficient builders’ joinery elements and local ventilation systems. In doing so, MIK Celje upgraded its production of builders’ joinery with an umbrella philosophy embodied by the slogan “Improving the quality of living”.

About the company > MIK’s path