Planet Venus Women: Juul Oostenbrink

You are a brave one, undertaking in times of covid is not for everyone … the idea of Pachulí arose before the pandemic or during the pandemic?

It wasn’t easy but especially because of the pandemic I got the opportunity to chase my dream. If it wasn’t for Covid, maybe I wouldn’t have had my own shop right now. So it also brought a lot of good things, and I’m sure that this hasn’t been the case only for me.

The actual idea of Pachulí I had already for years. It was a far away dream that I never really saw coming true. Since I was young I’ve always been passionate about decorating and interior. I shared a bedroom together with my little sister till I was 19! In these times and especially in The Netherlands not a very common situation. We were both always dreaming about having our own space or making the room we had as cosy for the both of us as possible. My parents had plans to move or build an extra room in the house we lived in. They visited houses and architectural drawings were made up. We would be so excited about this and were already decorating our own rooms in our minds.. But in the end they never went through with it so eventually when I started studying in another city I got my first studio. Because I didn’t have a lot of money to spend I was most of the time looking for second hand furniture, sometimes to renovate it myself.

 

 
Did you think to abandon the idea of Pachuli or to leave it for when Covid was more controlled?

For me, actually those thoughts I had didn’t have much to do with Covid. It sounds strange maybe but I never really thought of Covid being a problem. I was convinced it would work, especially cause I had so much motivation for it at some point.

 

 

Also, the plan was never to get a lot of money out of it but to inspire people, share my enthusiasm and show lovely products from across the world. Of course I asked myself a lot of times what am I doing and in these crazy times!? And a lot of people asked me questions as well like ‘but have you calculated how long you can survive in these times?’.

And yes I did, but only roughly, cause you will never know what will happen. I only had this gut feeling that this was the time to try it and that it would be now or never..

There have been times that I thought about abandoning the idea of Pachulí, but that was more because I thought I might not be able to do it on my own and that my dream was too big.

On the one hand, I thought ‘how difficult could it be, it’s just a shop. Look at how many people already have a shop, everyone can do it so why can’t I? On the other hand, money wise, the fact that I’m not Spanish and don’t speak Catalan at all scared me more than Covid. I did not have any experience in working in a shop at all and the negotiation of the local took 4 months!! Lawyers were involved and it was quite a hassle.

By now of course everyone hoped the pandemic would be over, so did I. Some say it will take another half a year and some say even two. For now I’m doing the best I can and I keep in mind that it can only get better. I started in the worst times you can start your own business in, so hopefully it can only go uphill! On the other hand because of Covid, even Spanish people who normally always live outside, are getting more aware of their interiors. You have to spend a lot of time inside the house and in order to not get sad you better make it as nice and comfortable as possible.

 

 

How do you handle the uncertainty when undertaking in this context? Do you have a tip that can help the rest of the Venusianas?

Keep calm and breath! haha very simple but with this you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Talk to people but don’t let them influence you too much. I think taking time for yourself and coming to your senses is important to do every now and then, now you have plenty of time. Keep in mind that this too will end and that in some countries way worse things are happening for instance. I think your own enthusiasm, motivation and feeling is very important to listen to.

 

 

What do you do to stay positive despite the news and the actions that governments are taking?

Like I said, keep in mind that it is temporary and it can only get better. Last year, even before Covid, I had quite some set-backs, or bad luck you might say. To mention a few things, I got fired in December, 5 days later I had an accident and broke my leg. It took 6 months to recover because they found out it was actually broken after 3 months and that I needed an operation which I had 2 days before the lockdown started.

My relationship got an expiration date and I had Corona myself for 1,5 months. I celebrated my 30iest birthday having Corona and couldn’t be with my friends and family. But hey, I still have friends and family and they are all healthy. Somehow I still managed to keep positive because of them and having my dream coming true. It sounds all really cliché but this is just something that is out of my hands and I have to deal with it. I’m just hoping another real lockdown isn’t coming where people are not allowed to go outside anymore and when I have to close my shop.

 

 
Pachulí is inspired, among other things, by the concept of travelling, something that at this point, seems very far from reality. Do you think this concept is being redefined after Covid?

It might be. The original plan was indeed importing products myself for instance from Bali and Morocco. I love travelling and I would love to visit the people that make these beautiful products, how and where they make it. But in fact, you do not really have to travel anymore to get these products. There are already so many people that are experienced in importing these products. And since I cannot travel myself I started cooperations with the people who are able to get the products. I’m also having quite a lot of fun combining so many different products actually. I couldn’t have done that by just importing myself. I would have a lot of the same products to make it profitable to import it and there would be simply no time to travel everywhere myself and to fill the shop.

 

 
What do you feel about women sorority in the business world? 

I think it’s a good thing! It’s a fact that women just overthink too often and many might have the feeling they need to do everything on their own. I don’t think I only refer to myself here haha. But it’s a very good initiative to help each other where we can and support each other. Why wouldn’t we? We can get so much more out of life with just a little help every now and then.

 
In that sense, how does Planet Venus make you feel about it?

I think it’s a brilliant platform and I’m sure it can benefit me as a starting entrepreneur. I’m also happy to share my knowledge with Planet Venus and hopefully I can help other women as well with my experiences.

 

 

Want to know more about Pachulí and meet personally Juul?

Visit her website or even better… the shop! located at Carrer del Brosolí, 4, local 2, 08003 Barcelona.

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