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And then there was... Holbox

“When your clients are at the top of the market, like L’Oréal, Coty, Unilever and Heineken, you have to be on top of your game”, says Jan Hol, founder and owner of Holbox. Holbox B.V. is a family business, founded by Jan Hol. Together with his son Martijn he runs the company in Echt. October talked to Jan and Martijn about being an entrepreneur, challenges and opportunities.

  • business

    Activity area

    Information & Communication

  • loan

    Loan purpose

    Ecommerce

  • amount

    Amount borrowed

    €1,000,000

  • duration

    Term of loan

    60 months

  • interests

    Interest rate

    6%

A real family business

Jan: “Originally I am a ship’s engineer. Then I started for to work for myself and founded Holbox. And that went well. Because: when you do something, you have to do it right, otherwise you shouldn’t do it at all. I can often be found at the company: I always start at 7 a.m. and do a tour around the company.”

Martijn: “We are a true family business; my parents and wife work here, and I still have two sisters who are active. In total over 400 people work here. What makes entrepreneurship so enjoyable? Working together with people, setting a certain goal and trying to achieve that goal together.”

Holbox leads the way

Jan: “We design and manufacture displays for all kinds of shops and brands. We have customers like L’Oréal, Coty, Unilever and Heineken. They are all people and brands who are at the top of the market, and so you have to deliver quality. We carry out the entire process here, from the initial design to the logistics of the in-store displays. We have machines to manage the entire supply chain. This enables Holbox to deliver very quickly and to guarantee a high level of quality. This is only possible if you have good, advanced machines.”

Martijn: “If Heineken is sponsoring Formula 1, there may be a beer campaign on the shop floor in the supermarket. We then make the promotional campaign on the shop floor from cardboard displays. This often goes hand in hand with TV advertising and newspaper advertising.”

 

The search for funding

Martijn: “The crisis came in 2008. That made us decide to make our investments with our own resources. That was going very well, until we needed to do some larger investments. This requires external financing. We worked together with a financial bureau from Amsterdam. They came up with the idea to go to October. We then started talking to them. The analysis our company took less than a week, by then it was actually already done. We quickly came to business.” Jan: “And we think that’s quite special, getting 1 million euros funded by crowdfunding.”

Tips voor other entrepreneurs

Martijn: “Tips for entrepreneurs who are also looking for financing: a relationship of trust and transparency is very important. You need to know what you can expect from a financier. But a financier also needs to know who you are as a company.”
Jan: “And if you are in need of funding, you need to know what you will be using it for. Also make sure that you have all your financial data ready.”