Hannun: How I went from being unemployed to winning a million

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I studied Industrial Engineering, I had always been clear that I wanted to do it, I saw a career that could open many doors for me. This led me to a professional career in the International Pharmaceutical Business Development sector, to live in China for two years and worked for Latin America for a year and a half. All this ends on a Monday morning, when they tell me that I am on the street because the company is restructuring.

I had always said that at 30 I would like to have my own project and this moment reached 28. And this is how, with an act of courage and my parents' patio, I decided to start my own handmade furniture company. Today Hannun is an online brand of handmade furniture that will invoice more than one million euros in its second year of life. If you want to know more, keep reading.

EXTENDED VERSION – HOW

June 6, 2018, the last investment I just closed by WhatsApp, just before eating. We have just closed an investment round for Hannun of € 220,000 with the company valued at 1 million euros. This only means one thing, we have money to fulfill the dreams of this project in which we have embarked. But, we better go back, just a year ago, I didn't even know what a start-up I had never even met an investor.

He had always thought he wanted to be an engineer, and when he was eleven or twelve he was clear. During the ESO I was clear about it and during the baccalaureate even clearer, it was a multidisciplinary career that I saw opened many doors. "There are senior managers in the banking sector who are," he thought. At that time I saw it very clear, end up working for a large company with an important role.

Hannun in China

Then the university started and, when I turned 18, my father gave me something I will never forget: he gave me the fact of paying myself the mobile phone fee. Obviously I first received it fatal, but with the days I saw it as an opportunity, the opportunity to have my own economy.

Since I was a child I had lived in a family of entrepreneurs, but it is not a thing you are aware of when you are 5 years old. For you, that world is normal, it is where you were born. My father has his own engineering, my mother his psychology office. My father's grandparents had their own butcher shop and the mother's grandparents had their own jewelry. Nobody gave them anything, they forged their own future. But, as I was saying, I have noticed relatively recently, and I am already 30 years old.

Paying my phone fee was synonymous with welcoming expenses in my ignorant life where things, until then, were paid by others …

"Working alone is very hard, especially mentally and mentally."

He said that I will never forget that gift because it was the first motivation I had to seek income, to start squeezing my head and thinking about how the rest of the people did to earn money. And, it was at that time that I also saw the first big difference in the workplace: there are people who work for other people, and there are people for whom others work. At that time, doing engineering, I did not see very clearly about working for others with a fixed schedule. Although I assured you a salary, you didn't have the freedom to make your schedules and it was something I needed.

And that's how I started looking for my income for the first time in my life, that's how I decided that I would look for students to give private lessons. I still remember my first student, the son of some friends of my parents, who needed reinforcement in chemistry. I also remember that I was more nervous than that boy could have been in his whole life and, this is where I discovered the “acts of courage”, moments in which you throw yourself into the pool, in which you are braver than that you thought and that you even contemplate that you can get out. And so it was, I did my first chemistry class and it was a success. That would be the beginning of a university era where he would combine studies with private lessons and begin to see what he was capable of if he gave everything for a dream or project. With effort and dedication I ended up giving classes to groups of 4 and 5 people, preparing them for selectivity, making promotional flyers that I was going to deliver in schools and even preparing people older than me to take the university entrance exam (I remember that the latter found him very strong, teaching in people older than me).

But like everything else in life, that time came to an end, I finished the race and it was time to move token. I could decide to continue with the students and continue to give private lessons but I thought that if that had worked out so well, something else that I tried could also work out well. That moment coincides with the moment when businesses begin to see that they need web pages, they begin to see that a certain internet presence is necessary if they want to continue with their business and I decide to investigate on the subject. That research leads me to test the world of websites and I find that by dedicating hours, I could get things that were not bad at all. So, a "second act of value" leads me to introduce myself to the offices of the Terrassa trade association and make a proposal, design the websites of the associated businesses.

Hannun furniture manufacturing

Indeed, in this meeting I get permission to go on behalf of the association to offer these services to different businesses. Later, I realized that this time allowed me to learn many things, such as the task of being commercial or self-taught, the invoicing of an economic activity and its costs, etc. But, he also taught me another one that I would not forget, working alone is very hard, especially mentally and mentally. It is for this reason, above all, that I decide that if one day I want to undertake a project it will have to be after having some work experience working in a company. And, this is how I begin to send resumes to the different companies that I considered related to the world of engineering until I succeed in the selection phases of a multinational that manufactures components by pharmaceutical machinery.

«In 2018 we closed the first round of investment in which we collected € 220,000»

There I did a thousand and one things but, if I wonder the one I liked the most, I have to admit that it was always accept to go stock inventories to the different delegations that the company had around the world. I found it great to be able to travel for work. And, this is how, just after working 9 months, the third would come and, perhaps, the greatest act of value that I think I have ever done, accept the opportunity to go to China to work in the factory they had. I remember things like they had to be 3 months and just one week before leaving they told us it would be 1 year; or I also remember that just when we landed and took the taxi to the factory, looking out the window I couldn't believe it, it seemed you were inside a documentary.

This adventure led me to spend 2 years living in China, the first living an amazing experience, living inside the factory itself, like the old textile colonies here in Catalonia. Every night we had to go outside to the streets of the industrial estate where we lived to buy street food in the different food trucks that had been deployed throughout the estate. It was very funny, you took some spicy vegetables from one lady, then one chicken thigh from the other and finally you went to the place of the noodels to eat it all. The second year, on the other hand, was the opposite. I still remember the words of the CEO when he came to see us. “Now you have done the master. You Mauri will go to Shanghai and you Pere to Istanbul. I was assigned to Shanghai to run the commercial office and that was a totally different reality, it was like the New York of Asia. Although during the day he continued to work in an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city, almost every night he stayed with other expats, to dine at a trendy restaurant in the city, where he went with Uber.

I remember this time and I think I will remember her as one of the best of my life. The famous phrase "find yourself" comes true in such an experience. Even so, two years eating white rice and noodles, struggling to catch taxis and trying to learn Chinese to be able to communicate, were enough to go back to look for a project near home. And, this is how I returned home and started working as a Latin American manager area for a biotechnology company.

Here I was 1 year and a half, working in Sant Cugat and traveling throughout Latin America, opening the market to get contracts to license the products we had in the large pharmaceutical companies there. I remember that one of the trips was 12 days, 4 countries, 6 cities, 8 flights, 24 meetings. This adventure ends when the company decides to restructure and close the laboratory, they throw the general manager and the most expendable commercial areas, among which was mine. One Monday morning, at approximately 11:00 a.m., my professional career stopped suddenly, I was on the street.

Hannun furniture

I like to think that everything goes through something and, just 3 days ago I had signed up for a contest of entrepreneurs in Barcelona and, if I remember correctly, that same Monday they called me saying that I had reached the final and that this would take place that same friday. Therefore, I could only do one thing, give it all that Friday in the entrepreneurship contest, which I had no idea what it would consist of.

That Friday came and it turns out that the contest was to make a team of 3 people with other participants and create, throughout the weekend, a business proposal that would be presented on Sunday before a jury. If the jury considered that during the weekend you had demonstrated entrepreneurial qualities, you were inside. And, that's how I entered a startup incubator. Here it seems that the next natural step is to create Hannun and work to get where we are today, but it's not like that, not yet.

Once I started inside the incubator, the first days were training, both business, as validation of ideas, marketing, etc. Then the part of forming your team would come and decide what idea you would carry out, where we ended up joining 3 entrepreneurs to create a start-up that would sell cars online.

«The situation was different, I was beginning to know what I wanted and what I didn't want»

We had seen that Amazon was starting to do it in the UK and we thought it was a good opportunity to start it here and sell the company in a few years to Amazon, we saw it very clearly at that time. During those days I realized that undertaking was something that required 150% of the same and that if the idea did not motivate you much, better leave it. I realized why the idea did not make me vibrate to wake up every day with the energy required by such a project. Finally, I made the decision to leave the project, with the intention of not disturbing my colleagues and that they could continue. This also coincided with the fact that this decision of my company was not receiving very well at home.

«With the career you have studied and everyone you had achieved professionally now you start doing this? ”This was the most commented phrase at home those days. So, I decided to return to my previous life in the pharmaceutical business development sector and accept an economically good job offer.

He saw me again in the suit, a Monday first thing, in an office, reporting to some superiors and working for the dreams that another had had long ago. Thanks to the days I had spent in the incubator, I realized that this reading I was doing was different from what I was doing before, I realized that there were people who years ago had had a dream, an illusion, an idea and had carried out.

The rest of the people in that building worked to help you get it. And, that's how I decided that I could not continue along that path, I also wanted to be that man. At 5 in the afternoon, I went to the human resources person and tried to explain the situation, telling him that I knew very badly, that I knew that I had wasted time but that they would not wait for me the next day. The girl, as expected, did not understand anything.

This brings me back to a point that I had already lived a few weeks before, I was back on the street. But the situation was different, I was beginning to know what I wanted and what I didn't want. I also knew that if I wanted to go on the path of entrepreneurship it would require my 150%, therefore, it was better for me to find a motivating idea.

Hannun furniture

All this coincides that with my roommate, we lived in a duplex and only occupied two of the three rooms. As we did not intend to have a third partner we decided to put the room in Airbnb. To be able to put a high price, we made some furniture in DIY plan (Do it yourself), we took good photos and hung it on the platform. Everything was rolled, they started renting the room and we were paying half of the rent for the entire apartment. In fact, the flat had been so beautiful that advertising agencies were trying to reserve the flat to shoot ads and, it was at that moment, when I saw it clearly. That kind of solid wood DIY furniture liked and there really wasn't any brand or company that sold them.

And that's how I threw myself into validating the idea of ​​what Hannun would be today. I took photos of Pinterest, of that type of furniture that people had made in their house and hung them directly in Wallapop; if there were orders it would be the signal that people not only liked but were willing to pay for that piece of furniture. Honestly, for me it was one more test within all the times I had tried to validate ideas like that. Once I had uploaded about 20 photos to Wallapop, I disregarded a few days. I took advantage of those days to rest since years ago, since I had started working the first day after the University that I had not been out of work and wanted to enjoy it. After a few days, I remembered that I had uploaded some photos in Wallapop, and as someone who looks if he has messages to WhatsApp, I looked at whether someone had asked me about any of those furniture. My surprise came when I not only had messages but also people who were confirming the purchase and waiting for the product to send them. At that time I jumped off the couch, took the car and went straight to Leroy Merlin to buy the wood and tools to start manufacturing the first shelves. At that time, as I was alone, because I did everything, also home delivery of the product, were a few fun days.

I already had the idea validated, I had found people willing to pay for what I was doing. Now he was selling the second phase, making a company of that idea. In my house they hallucinated, they did not understand anything. Your son or brother who, who had studied engineering and had a promising professional career, was manufacturing furniture and delivering them with his car.

My sister helped me create the brand and communication. We opened an Instagram account and began to upload the same photos while we made stories every day of how he manufactured the products and made jokes with the followers. Also, I have always thought that people want what their idols have and this was the perfect time to check. We decided to give a couple of furniture to influencers to spread the brand. At that time we did not imagine the power that action could have, but we soon saw it. Suddenly, hundreds and thousands of new followers began to follow us. They asked us questions about the furniture, the finishes and the colors and the delivery times and, if it suited them, in the end they made the order by the same Instagram chat. It was simply beastly.

«We decided to give a couple of furniture to influencers to spread the brand. At that time we did not imagine the power that action could have »

I already had the idea validated, I had found people willing to pay for what I was doing. Now he was selling the second phase, making a company of that idea. In my house they hallucinated, they did not understand anything. Your son or brother who, who had studied engineering and had a promising professional career, was manufacturing furniture and delivering them with his car.

My sister helped me create the brand and communication. We opened an Instagram account and began to upload the same photos while we made stories every day of how he manufactured the products and made jokes with the followers. Also, I have always thought that people want what their idols have and this was the perfect time to check. We decided to give a couple of furniture to influencers to spread the brand. At that time we did not imagine the power that action could have, but we soon saw it. Suddenly, hundreds and thousands of new followers began to follow us. They asked us questions about the furniture, the finishes and the colors and the delivery times and, if it suited them, in the end they made the order by the same Instagram chat. It was simply beastly.

Just at the moment the brand was beginning to make noise, Demium Startups, the startup incubator where I had been, called me to tell me that I was making a very interesting brand and, that if I wanted to, they were interested in incubating the project in the Barcelona headquarters and so it was. During the next months and with the incorporation of my brother, we took the project inside the incubator where they advised us every day, they trained us and put us the first € 25,000 to invest in advertising and professionalization of the company. The next step would be to introduce ourselves to investors, with whom in 2018 we closed the first round of investment in which we collected € 220,000.

Today Hannun has grown a lot, In the last 6 months we have gone from being 6 to 26 workers and send only to Spain to have orders of all Europe. Even so, the essence is the same, Solid wood furniture handmade with a lot of love and communicating it to the community in the friendliest way possible. Now we are closing the second round of Hannun, where we will raise € 500,000 and where the company is already valued at 3 million euros.


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