From theatre to bike exports

From theatre to bike exports

An entrepreneur dealing in bicycles with a cycling-enthusiast for a coach. “I wasn’t really looking for this opportunity,” says Patrick Spanjer of Dutch Unique – Beautiful Bikes.

“It more or less evolved this way. “ For years Patrick worked in theatre and would be off and gone for months at a time until he lost his job due to cut-backs in the performing arts sector.  He applied for numerous jobs and had many interviews, but did not land a job.  Once his British girlfriend moved in with him traveling for long periods at a time was no option any more.  He had stored an old city bike in his shed that he ended up refurbishing for his girlfriend.  When her mother saw the bike one day she exclaimed: “Folks in England would love these bikes, you could make some money with them!” And that’s how the idea was born.

Being well prepared

Patrick’s idea to recycle old city bikes was well received by Qredits.  Patrick was well prepared. During the writing of his business plan he had already made contact with potential buyers in Great Britain and this helped secure his start-up loan from Qredits.  Selecting a coach was part of the procedure. “I had never thought about that and did not know what to expect. I hoped my coach would not be some arrogant retired entrepreneur. But that wasn’t the case at all, to the contrary,” says Patrick.  “My coach is a really nice guy who happens to have dealt in bicycles as well in the past and still loves to ride a motorcycle. A real cycling-enthusiast!”

Practical advice

Patrick started his business in January 2012. During the first few months his coach gave him a lot of practical advice. “For example about how to set up his administration, how to apply for subsidies and the effects of exchange rates as it relates to doing business in England. Each one of these talks was fun and very helpful.”

Patrick and his coach agreed to work together for half a year.  A few weeks ago they had their last meeting in Dutch Unique’s workshop.  “Up until that moment things had been a bit abstract, but now I almost had my first 15 bikes completed,” says Patrick.  “My coach was visibly impressed.  I’m thankful I can still contact him by phone or e-mail when I need input.

From theatre to bike exports