It’s been said if you find a job you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life — and those are words to live by for Dutch serial entrepreneur Luciano de Vries.
Sometimes, all a budding impresario needs is a bit of luck and de Vries found his when he fell into a party-promoting gig. Turns out, he had a knack for making sure a good time was had by all, With his naturally social personality, de Vries took to event promotions like a duck to water.
“I was just finalising my studies in the Netherlands,” he recalls of his time at the University of Groningen. “I did a lot of promotions for the football club. Let’s say we earned 100 euros a week. We already were happy. We could afford the groceries.”
But Luciano de Vries wanted more.
He enjoyed the work, attended events, and spent time with friends, all while keeping up with his studies. As he learned about business, his career plans got more serious.
“I was organising parties, but more for the football club or the student society,” he says. “But after two years, I decided to try to make a go of it for one season abroad.”
Little did he know that trip to Spain was placing him on a path that would set him up for life.
Luciano de Vries: “Every Year I Grew’
There was one big difference in doing business for himself in the Netherlands and working for a boss in Spain — in Spain, Luciano de Vries earned commissions. And he was very, very good at it. His director thought highly of him, and he took advantage of the opportunity to absorb all he could about running an enterprise.
“I learned a lot from my boss over there about being an entrepreneur,” de Vries shares. “Every year, I grew into different functions. In the end, I actually started a subsidiary business in my boss’s organisation.”
And that’s how, as they say, an entrepreneur was born.
“That’s when I found out that making my own money was quite something I would like,” de Vries explains. “If I worked hard, could I invite more people to work for me and I would earn more money,” he says.
“In the beginning, there were five people in Spain. We did know how to do sales, that part was at least quite easy. Then we obtained more products and we started selling them. We needed to go across Europe to buy more and more products,” he adds. “We were knocking on doors to be able to grow.”
As the company expanded, what was once an easygoing job became a demanding career. But de Vries rose to the occasion. Determined to be successful, he threw himself into learning everything he could about scaling businesses.
“I had to work on getting the best organisational structure there is for us,” he says. “So, we moved to Malta. We hired the managing director. We have a [chief financial officer] in Poland, where the production factories are. In the last four or five years, we made the switch from my garage to actual office buildings.”
Not only did de Vries’ business grow from a staffing perspective, it also charged headfirst into new markets. It began operating in more spaces across Europe and opened branches in the United States.
As the company expanded, de Vries found inefficiencies in other areas and spun off new companies to address the growing needs of his initial concern. For example, after noticing the difficulty in finding a reliable product transportation partner, he simply started his own company. It began by delivering his goods, but quickly found new clients.
“We found out that if we work together with other businesses, they’re often quite slow and not satisfying our needs,” he says. “So we started our own transportation company in Poland. We have a real estate company in the Netherlands. We have a boat rental company. We had commerce business in the Netherlands. We have a company in Germany, doing sales. We have companies in the United States. We’re still actually always looking to expand and get more investment opportunities.”
And this is just the start of what will surely become an empire for Luciano de Vries. He’s looking to expand into South America and has his sights set on Australia next. If the past is any indication, success is sure to follow.