Born in Bulgaria not long after the fall of Communism, Dimo watched closely as his mother started her knitting business, growing an operation that would eventually number over a dozen employees.
“She started out knitting by hand, and then ended up getting her hands on an industrial-style machine, which let her start selling to shops. Not long after, though, hyperinflation hit. She was still selling a lot though, because people wanted to buy whatever they could instead of holding onto money.”
Still, the general economic context was difficult. His parents both held full-time jobs in addition to keeping the family business afloat, and Dimo spent a lot of time looking after his little brother. He was able to start studying English early by going to a language-focused school, where he’d have up to 40 hours per week of classes taught in English (with some French and others thrown in as well). This gave him a range of opportunities when it came to university.
“I looked at the UK, but they’d just tripled their tuition prices. I had an uncle working in the shipping industry in the Netherlands, and he told me more about what life was like, how everyone spoke English, plus it’s a well-developed capitalist country, which Bulgaria still wasn’t really.”
As he studied at business school, he kept his hand in by helping out with the family knitting business when he could. But he also saw that there wasn’t a full-time need for him back home, and so he needed to start looking for jobs a bit closer to his new home in Groningen.
“I ended up at DocTrade, which is a wholesale medical device company. We were doing parallel import-export facilitated by the EU single market, and I learned a lot: sales, negotiation, understanding what problems you can solve for people. I got to be pretty good at seeing how we could start helping a small supplier and then find useful areas to expand what we were doing with them.”
He developed relationships and improved sales in the UK, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and beyond. On the side, he also started to bring some digitalization to his parents’ business: adding a web shop, creating and selling original designs, expanding their B2B market…
“We kept experimenting, then experimenting some more, and with COVID a few things took off, we signed some more partners that they’re now producing for. So in the past year they’ve gone from just the two of them to now having 5 employees, so I’m glad to see that going well.”
Dimo’s varied sales experience, in both a large wholesale business and a growing SMB, should be a great fit for OrderCast. He sees it that way himself, and it was a key factor in the excitement he felt when the opportunity to join the team came along.
“I feel very confident now going to exhibitions, talking to prospects, seeing what OrderCast can bring to them. And we’re at a key moment, everyone’s realized with the pandemic just how complicated supply chains are, how important each actor is in getting products onto shelves. That’s why I was really interested in OrderCast, because it’s not just another app, it’s something that can concretely make the lives of so many people working in SMBs better.”
Welcome, Dimo, we’re very excited to see how you’ll be able to quickly get new OrderCast customers up and running! And if you’re reading this and want to be part of the adventure, reach out — we’re currently hiring for multiple positions 🤗