Paul's Boutique is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this upcoming weekend. We caught up with owner Paul de Jong to see how he survived:When exactly did you start Paul's Boutique BMX hardware store?
April 1st 1995 we started Paul's Boutique, Lambert van Stekelenborg (LAGEJA) and I teamed up and started a 100% PURE BMX shop, I bought him out in 2000.
What made you decide to start a BMX shop?
My shitty work as a salesmanager for roofing materials made it easy to quit my job and we couldn't buy anything in the Netherlands BMX wise so we started to import everything by ourselves and tried to sell it to the 100 riders that were left in the mid 90's.
What was the shop situation like when you started?
Bikes in the living room, workshop in the kitchen, Clothing on first floor and VANS Shoes at the second floor so all customers were walking through my house every day. Than built a little shed in the backyard but it was so small and cold that I couldn't handle it anymore and hired a bigger place where we are now.
Out of 10 winters, how many were hard for you to survive with slow business?
When did you add the distribution part of Paul's Boutique?
About 5 years ago my friend David Quesada asked me if I wanted to distribute FLYBIKES in the Netherlands. The first order was so big that I had to throw every penny I had into that first order so it was do or die.
The stuff went so fast and I think if I had not started selling FLYBIKES in the Netherlands I wouldn't have survived keeping the shop, it saved me from going bankrupt.
What brands do you distribute?
FBM, FIT, FLYBIKES, PROPER, S&M, SNAFU, UGP, SHADOW CONSPIRACY, WETHEPEOPLE, RIDE UK&USA, and we added HOFFMAN
BIKES this year.
Do you think The Netherlands has enough BMX/Bike shops?
NO, but we can miss all the stupid business men who think they can make money out of BMX, we only need a couple of REAL BMX shops but it is real hard to survive doing BMX only.
What's the situation with your shop-in-shop Paul's Boutique stores?
I had 6 but going down to 4, Headlock and Gravity Zero are out but BURNSIDE Deventer will be the only Paul's Boutique BMX HOT ROD Shop from now on. The "other" 2 are secret undercover shops and I have to kill you if I tell you who they are....
What do you look for when you're buying products for your operation?
First the stuff they make (Only the best quality I want at Paul's Boutique BMX)
Second: the people behind the company (if I can't hang out with them I will never order their stuff)
Third: Shipping/Ordering/Payments and
Fourth: Pricing (Quality is not cheap but Expensive stuff is not always the best).
All the stuff I distribute is top quality and the people behind them are friends, we do business in a BAR wearing a t-shirt and not in a fancy office wearing suites and ties.
Your shop is open 24/7, can you explain that?
Mcgoo came up with this: The shop is open from Tuesday till Friday from 1 Pm till 6 Pm makes it open 4x5=20 hours than we are open on Saturdays from 11 Am till 3 PM makes another 4 hours= 24 HOURS!
24 HOURS IN 7 DAYS!!! We even printed t-shirts with this, Mcgoo is funny!
Do you think organizing local events is important to get riders to check out your shop?
Yes! The only reason I do local events is to get riders to the shop and empty their wallets! No we are organising contests/jams since 1984 so we NEVER organise an event for the money, I lost $ 50k with organizing the Worlds in 1997 and I just paid everything back so I am never gonna earn back from what I put into BMX but the fun I have is Priceless!
What is planned for the 10 year anniversary at Paul's Boutique?
Huge party at the shop, the Paul's Boutique parties are always good, we have a band playing which is only a couple of weeks old and has already 1 song ready and playing live for the first time ever, we have
DJ Green Goblin from Hellmond, Flatland show, Bikes, Beers & Bitches from 1 till 1 on April 1.
FAT-JAM: FUN! Used to be stress, now its routine
UPS: Worst shipping company in the world, THEY SUCK BIG TIME!
MAILORDER: I Ship FAST so pay FAST you suckers!
BEASTIE BOYS: Paul's Boutique
JAN-WILLEM: Mechanic that only talks to me
BEACH CRUISERS: Where is the beach? PURE BMX!
VANS: The only shoes I wear since 1981! VANS Rules!
WALL OF FRAME: Check the new Chromed "Wall of Frame" at our shop
MADE in USA: Quality!
Wanbetalers: Egon Verhoef, Patrick Goovers, Deuk, Sjoerd, Leijssen and some more. Souf paid his bills after 2 years in Estonia this year so he is off the black list.