About us.


We are Mirela & Leonard, two Romanian expats who fell in love with the Adriatic Sea and have decided to leave our old big-city lives behind and make Dalmatia our home. 

If someone would have told us 9 years ago that we would have a jewellery shop in Split, we would have thought they are insane. In 2014 I was a former BBC radio journalist, working as Chief-of-Staff and Communications Manager for a fierce Romanian member of the European Parliament. My partner, Leonard, was a real estate developer, building stunning minimalist villas in Bucharest.

But something was missing from our lives and we knew exactly what that was: we really, REALLY wanted to live by the sea. More specifically, we loved the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, where we would spend each summer holiday.

So, in October 2015, we took a leap of faith and moved to Split.

Mirela Rus and Leonard Copoiu, owners of Break Time brand of nautical jewelry, in front of their shop  in Trogirska 8 Split Croatia


This is basically how the Break Time handmade jewellery was born...from our love for the Adriatic, sailing and endless sunny summers.

Leonard was making nautical bracelets as a hobby long before we moved here, when he was too stressed from running his Bucharest construction company (not exactly the lightest of jobs).

After our move, although we were planning to use his real estate development experience and continue building villas...we hit Croatian bureaucracy and had to put those plans on hold.

So we thought we should give his hobby a chance. After all, we were in a seaside tourist destination.


We had quite the journey in the (almost) nine years since we opened our very first Break Time shop in Trogirska 8, Split, in December 2015 - literally two months after we moved to Croatia, without speaking the language and with knowing less than 10 people altogether here.

Break Time shop in Split Croatia original souvenirs handmade

The 2015 summer season success took us by surprise. We were literally selling out one day all the bracelets that Leonard was producing the day before. We regrouped the next winter and we opened our second shop in spring 2016, in Dubrovnik (photo below - the two of us when we were preparing our Dubrovnik shop for opening). 

Long story short, from 2017 to 2019 we opened four more shops - two in Istria, first one in Porec, then one in Rovinj...

Break Time souvenir shop in Rovinj Istria

then a second one in Split...

and one in the center of Zagreb...

Romanian expat entrepreneurs at the opening of their shop in Zagreb

All selling exclusively our own brand of nautical bracelets, all handmade by Leonard (yes, each and every one of them!). Happy times!

Happy tourists in Split, Croatia with their handmade souvenirs from Break Time nautical jewelry

Then the world as we knew it was transformed by the covid19 pandemic, so in 2020 we closed everything but our initial Trogirska 8 store, where our atelier is as well - Store Location. 

The fact that we managed to save this one shop and survive 2020 and 2021 as a small tourist-oriented business, was only possible because our amazing fans from Croatia and from all over the globe continued to support us by purchasing our handmade nautical bracelets, online and in-store. We are so very grateful.

You can read some more about us and our journey on Total Croatia News here or here.


Stop by our shop when visiting Split, check out our handmade nautical jewelry and we hope you will like it enough to get it as your souvenir from Croatia. We also offer personalised engraving, so you can transform the bracelets into really unique pieces.


Join our #SaveMarineLife campaign - When you order a bracelet from our online shop or in our flagship store in Split, a percentage of each sale goes as a donation towards the Blue World Institute, so you are directly contributing to the research and conservation of marine life in the Mediterranean Sea