Entrepreneurs explain: Dirk Meijer of Terraza Barcelona
In the latest in our series on Barcelona entrepreneurs, Dirk Meijer (Dutch, 35) tells us how he set up his company Terraza Barcelona, specialising in carpentry for indoor and outdoor spaces, including terraces and furniture.
1. Where did the original idea come from? When we moved into our atico five years ago, I had the idea of making a terrace floor on the roof. The roofs here are so steep that anything will roll off your table.
In the following years I built a couple of terraces, planters, sheds etc. for personal use. I always got good comments on my work. And then when I lost my job, I realised it was time to work out my own ideas.
2. How long did it take to get your business off the ground? A terrace floor is usually quite an investment and I realised I would probably have too much competition to make a living out of it. However, the furniture designs I have in mind are a different story.
I put some adverts of furniture online to see if anyone would react. At first the reactions were slow. But after a week or two, I got some replies and that is when I realised it would all be possible. I rented a premises (local) and bought the material and machines I needed. Within a couple of weeks I was up and running.
3. Did you find the paperwork diffícult? Paperwork in Spain is complicated. But you just have to work your way through it. I did it without any gestors (administrative advisers). Quite a hassle but you just have to figure out these things. I read a lot about it and compared different stories and advice until I more or less knew what to do.
4. What is your business experience / background / qualifications? I have a Bachelors degree in construction. After university I worked as a project/work planner for a big construction company in Amsterdam. I’ve always loved how buildings get built. It is like an enormous puzzle that needs to be put together. I have the same interest for furniture. If I look at it I want to know how it is put together. But also the design is important: how does it look, how does it feel.
5. What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
Having my own business gives me the freedom to do what I like doing. I have more control over my free time. And the profit I generate is actually mine. But also the sense of producing a good piece of furniture that will be used by my customers and make them smile is very satisfactory.
6. And the negative aspects?
I don’t know if there are real negative aspects. Being autonomo (self-employed) is different then having employees. You’re on your own and have to take care of everything yourself. Sometimes I might find something difficult, but most of the time I’ll work it out.