Reporter REGIO: episode 7
Luxury furniture made with passion and REGIO support
Success stories, possible with the support of Regio Nord-Est 2014-2020
A thousand euros. That was the initial investment for Yulmob SRL, in 2006, in Bacău city. With a turnover of 265 k euros in 2021 and a project implemented with European funds of almost 200 k euros, the company climbed step by step on the ladder of success in the field of furniture manufacturing, for 18 years. Two last-generation pieces of equipment, used in furniture production, purchased through the Regional Operational Program 2014-2020, were the inspiration for an entire factory. Iulian Mina is the one who thought and designed, step by step, the entire building in anticipation of the two machinery. On August 30th, 2022, the factory was inaugurated and the successful end of the project was marked.
The secrets of carpentry
He was almost 19 years old when he decided to take his life into his own hands and leave the country. Abroad, in the years `99-2000, seemed hard to reach but, at the same time, more attractive for young people who had just finished school. It was the time when a lot of people were leaving the country clandestinely. With an auto mechanic diploma, Iulian went to Italy, to live with his brother who was already settled there. He worked by his side for almost two years for a large furniture manufacturer. He learned a lot, gained experience, and discovered that he really likes making furniture, especially kitchens. After Italy, he went to England, where he worked on a construction site, then in an Italian restaurant, and in his spare time, he decorated the boss`s house. „After I came back from England because back then you couldn’t come and go from abroad as you pleased, I had to stay at home. A friend contacted me to make him a dressing room, knowing that I had some experience. I bought materials, I made it and I realized that from that closet I made a profit of almost 300 euros, in three days. Back then I had a salary of almost 150 euros„, remembers Iulian. And that was the revelation: it was a business that would bring profit and, above all, he would enjoy it.
Yulmob was ``born`` by word of mouth
He made furniture for many people, and in 2006 he decided it was time to have his own company. He had a thousand euros in savings, which he invested in a self-tapping machine and a 45-degree cutting machine. Then he rented a garage and a shop to display the furniture he was making. But because the rent was high and because he wanted to save money, he sublet to a grocery store. It turned out to be a very good marketing strategy. Whoever came to buy a loaf of bread also saw the furniture. „We had two kitchens and a cupboard displayed on one wall, and another wall was used to sell food. And I was making the furniture in the back. I stayed in that store for 8 years, yet I still wanted to leave the country, even though I had ended up earning more than I would have earned abroad„, says Iulian.
Moving into the first warehouse
Orders started to come and Iulian felt the need to buy other machines and hire people. Then he met the manager of a large double-glazed windows company from Bacău city. Iulian furnished his entire house and the manager offered him a room in his factory. This symbolic rent helped Iulian a lot in growing his business. After some unfortunate events, the warehouse was bought by a new owner, who had two tailoring companies. This new owner allowed Iulian to stay there and offered him the opportunity to buy the hall, at the time he had money.
The first temptation of European funds
Sometime around 2017, Iulian Mina and other companies participated in an info session about European funds organized in Bacău. He was so excited by all the information he learned there and he never doubted for a second that he would win a project with European funds. Now he could get the equipment he wanted so much.
„It all started like a game. I told my employees what to tear down, what to do, and where to change. But when I looked in my wallet, I didn’t have any money. Everything I have earned, I invested. If I won 10 thousand euros, I invest everything. Since 2017 I have invested all the money I earned. I was planning to finish building the factory until the funding file was approved. I built this whole factory from A to Z, sometimes I don’t even know how. The only loan I have made is the one needed for the payment in advance to get the machinery. I am waiting to pay the debts to the bank and then I will buy the space„, says Iulian.
He designed the factory
From the moment he was convinced that he would not only apply for the funds but also win them, he began to design the entire factory according to the machines that would come. The space, walls, doors, cables, and other equipment necessary for the evacuation of dust, sawdust, and everything. The machines he wanted were bulky, he knew them too well, he had studied them in detail. He had learned about CNCs while working at a furniture factory, and the ones for which he submitted the project were from Germany, the top in the field, Biesse. When the machines arrived in the new, state-of-the-art factory, they were like two jewels.
Iulian Mina inaugurated the new factory, with the new machines, on August 30th, with a big party with the employees. He has a lot of plans for the future and wants to technology the factory so that he is no longer needed to operate. Although he now makes bedrooms, living rooms, dressing rooms, and kitchens, with the 8 employees he has, he wants to eventually focus only on kitchens, like the big manufacturers who specialize in a single product. He also believes that vocational schools should be reopened. „We’re looking to hire people and we can’t find any. We are announcing employment for carpenters and at the job interview come waiters. If it were vocational schools, the students would at least know something, they would know how to hold the equipment in their hands. I would invite the students to come and practice here in the factory, to learn a trade, maybe they would like it. We must invest in education because the children are the future„, the entrepreneur believes.
He recently delivered furniture for Google in Paris and he certainly doesn’t want to stop there. As for European funds, the submitted project was only the beginning, he is convinced that others will follow until he fulfills everything he has to do. „I would still file for solar panels, for electric charging stations, an electric forklift, an electric van. I also want to get an industrial cleaning robot. I have a bunch of ideas. The fact that I use the best-performing machines in the field, the quality I offer, and the seriousness and fairness towards my clients have brought me success in Romania„.
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