“Doing business together is more intense than a relationship”

They found each other through Young creators, an online platform for young entrepreneurs and makers who want to collaborate. Roelle Chaturgue, 31, lodged an appeal there in the summer of 2019: The co-founder wanted to have a background in marketing and sales. He himself has a financial background (see box): “At that time, I sold erasable notebooks from China to business clients with a friend. He was mainly interested in the online store, but I preferred to create a business: developing my own brand and related products. Unique quality, making it more sustainable and all this with someone.” Partner bought.

The invitation appealed to Roel Paul Sentinikolas (28). “At the beginning of that year, I quit Virtual Gym: I wanted something different and was also working on different concepts. I wanted to do business.” He replied and after a cup of coffee they decided not to talk anymore, but to work together for a few days. To discover that he was fine. “For me, the personal click comes first,” Paul says and laughs. “I can tell you: working together is more intense than having a relationship. What was immediately clear: We are both interested in acceleration, handling and perseverance, both of which are not technical.”

“We have a common vision of what we stand for and want to achieve with the company.”

From start to scale

“We have a common vision of what we stand for and want to achieve with the company,” Paul explains what ties them together. Our standards and values ​​are aligned: open communication, honest and transparent cooperation. We see the same point on the horizon, driven by how polluted the paper industry is. If you want to make the world a better place, you need to have a global impact. This motivates us to throw great things into the world with great people.” To prevent the waste of trees and water and reduce emissions, they make their notebooks out of stone paper and erasable, so they can be reused.

With the help of “Family, Friends, and Fools”, a seed capital was raised and they together founded MOYU Notebooks in September 2019. The team has since expanded with eight full-time employees and twelve interns, freelancers and part-timers. “We have a good product,” Roel assesses the situation. “We have passed the start-up phase and entered the phase of expansion and Europe.” Does this require additional capital and what about the investors? Roel laughs: “We paid the price to our parents and our early investors. No, we don’t want investors. I’m wary of stepping in, giving up stocks and having to turn a profit. At Triodos Bank, we took advantage of the doubt and an investment loan.” In addition to the Benelux, MOYU is for sale in Berlin and Paris. About five percent of sales volume comes through stores, and the rest is roughly equally divided from commercial customers (think Christmas packages, and promotional gifts) and individuals via the web store.

Divide roles and tasks

With growth comes organizational development. “We had to invent our roles,” Roel laughs. “It was clear that I was at the forefront of financing. And because I spend more time with the product, I do more product development and relationship management. Paul does the selling, and I support him in that. I drink coffee and I drink communication drinks, he does transactions. And Paul works in human resources, It was the first three employees we hired for marketing.” They discover that legal tasks, now that they have turned their general partnership into a true private limited company, are often left behind. Both are less inclined to do so, just as they pass on the office manager role or tasks like hot potatoes.

structuring and teamwork

Paul sums up his experience building a company and team: “It’s quite a learning curve.” “One of our interns pointed us to using Slack for business instead of WhatsApp. It’s looking for the right mode in using communication channels. We’re now working with Google Drive, Calendar, and project management tool Asana. We’ve made it clear where projects and departments meet, so people know better who they should Call him for what.” Everyone decides for themselves, to spend less than five hundred euros, both founders do not want to bother.

Roel is allergic to meetings, a legacy of working at the bank. “All these ‘meetings’ are distracting and costing money.” They are now trying the “Asynchronous Daily Stand” every two days: then you indicate online (readable to colleagues) what you will do that day and whether you still need help. They also work with “focus hours”, in which you don’t bother someone else. There will be an update of the numbers on Monday and everyone will be given top priority for the week. Each month as a team, they think about their goals and annual plan. On Friday, Paul and Rowell sat together. “Now that the team is bigger, we have to coordinate better and translate it into spreading our strategy,” Paul says seriously. Roel Sober: “But this whole structure could be different in a year, you know.”

Know how to find each other

“I’ve never wanted to do this on my own,” Roel says, given his choice of looking for a partner. “Just being successful with your company is great, but being able to share all the things that come with it is even nicer. What works for both of us is clear goals, and putting a lot on paper.” and open communication. And he spoke instantly, even when he’s still young, before he gets old.” Paul calls this “preventive talk.” This is especially important if you turn out to be completely different types, as they say, even if they are quickly on the same page as the entrepreneurs.

“Paul is really a morning person,” Roel calls the differences. “I’m an evening person. I get my energy from inventing new things, developing ideas. I need space in my head for that, which sometimes makes me less productive. I always think things will go smoothly, Paul is different from that. He’s very productive, he can do mountains From work and really production. At first we tried to change each other a little, but now we accept each other more.” Paul nodded and added, “We really know we want the best for each other.” Roel sums up their strengths: “I am an idealist, he is a realist and together this makes our plans ambitious and achievable.”

‘I never wanted to do this alone’

Paul St. Nicholas (1993)

Roel Chateauret (1990)

Paul studied movement sciences and entrepreneurship in Amsterdam, and also lives in Utrecht, a few blocks from Ruehl without knowing it. Paul has worked for and for several companies at the intersection of sports, lifestyle and technology. Once he quit his job and traveled to Bali with no plan other than to create space. He looks for how and where he can express his entrepreneurial drive in Something Meaningful With Great People. That became MOYU.
As a child, Roel was fond of nature. He studied business economics in Utrecht with a focus on sustainable entrepreneurship. He previously worked for a financial institution, including Rabobank, and also traveled and worked in Africa. There he became inspired to support nature with erasable lithograph notepads. First by selling a Chinese product to co-found MOYU in 2019 with Paul and build a company and product portfolio.

Entrepreneurship logo: ‘do it.’

Entrepreneurship slogan: “Waking up every day to make the world more beautiful”

Text: Myriam Feige

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