I am personally interested in the stories of people starting up a company, why they did take the change, what did make them make the jump etc.
Today, I talked to Thomas Mylonas (20 Mar 1982, Netherlands, born in Greece), Owner and CEO of 3 companies Crux Group, Dot Kite and Loggia Import.
Thomas Mylonas is one of the most influential designers and entrepreneurs of his generation. At 27, he has already influenced and inspired others through a wide range of disciplines & media; creating everything from chairs, household objects, advanced footwear concepts, consumer electronics, Hotels and Bar-Restaurants.
In 2007, Business Week announced that Thomas Mylonas, founder of the successful design brand Dot Kite, has been selected as the winner of the Europe’s Young Entrepreneurs 2007 competition. This award is an annual recognition for the most promising young business minds. Earlier this year, Thomas Mylonas was nominated and published by the leading design magazine “Square-Mag” as the most influential designer of this year.
Born in Athens, his collective inspiration gathered from his early years spent travelling across Europe, paid dividends when he relocated to Rome to study Industrial Design.
When the globally renowned footwear company FILA offered a position in their newly developed Advanced Design Department, Mylonas relocated to Montebelluna. It was during this reflective period spent at the foot of the Italian Alps, that he conceived the Dot Kite Brand.
Although his educational roots rest within design, Mylonas’ ability is fuelled by his passion for entrepreneurship; a willingness to contribute, creating more sensational and emotional living and working environments.
In less than one year Dot Kite opened 3 offices iin major European capital cities, Amsterdam – Athens – Rome.
Thomas Mylonas, with his arrival in Amsterdam – The Netherlands, has initiated a new company under the brand Loggia Import. Loggia imports premium quality wines from Italy and Argentina and Extra virgin olive oil from Greece. With Loggia, Mylonas expands his entrepreneurial activities in other fields and sectors with success.
Dot Kite was conceived in 2005, in the shadows of the Italian Alps. It was schooled in the art of fine furniture and SoHo related products, as exquisitely dimensional as its homeland: the brand assumed boldness from its mountainous landscape, its fluidity from the Mediterranean coast.
The brands of the Dot Kite Group, all with their own personal identity, are linked by the same philosophy, which distinguishes itself for a well-balanced mix of tradition and modernity, high quality, creativity and functionality.
The high standard of quality met by the products is guaranteed by the strong craftsmanship involved in every and each phase of the production: every product is crafted with techniques of the highest skilled handcraftsmanship. After various production steps and control phases the product is destined to become an exclusive and distinguishable object.
Loggia Import is specialising in Premium quality Prosecco and still wines and High quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Crux Group is the core of Mylonas’ activities. Crux Group is the main vehicle from where Mylonas invests in different projects, ventures and companies with the goal to bring quality to people’s daily lives. The aim of Crux Group is to encourage entrepreneurship, assist to the development and growth of ventures across the entire range of productive activity, and to combine the most cutting edge technologies with the refined wisdom of the old times.
What was the reason you decided to startup your own company?
I had my first entrepreneurial activity at the age of 14. At that time, I was organizing parties and events in clubs and besides I was 14 years old I was very successful. Since that time, it was clear to me that I would be operating as an entrepreneur because I simply loved the freedom of doing what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. Moreover, I love creating and develop new ideas/ concepts and in combination with my entrepreneurial mindset I can realize my dreams to reality.
What were the main obstacles you encountered launching your idea/company?
The main obstacle was probably the age. It was (and still not) simple to enter a boardroom in a meeting and being the youngest of the group. Of course, that was not a problem because since the beginning I tried to make everybody understand that they should not look to my age but to what I had to say and the energy and passion I had/have to create businesses
What innovation your company is offering to the customers, what is the added value of your company?
Dot Kite has a Total Consumer Experience approach in the world of design. Dot Kite offers professional design services in many different areas, from Strategic Branding & Communication to product & Furniture design to consumer electronics, from packaging solutions to graphics till the complete interior and retail experience. By offering such variety of creative services of high standard and high quality, we make sure to provide them one-stop-shop for their business needs. Moreover, Dot Kite is always willing to work as a real partner with its clients in order to show full commitment and of course to make sure the final outcome will be the best possible for all parties involved.
What are, in your opinion, the success keys of your startup?
The success keys that brought me to success are the following: Passion for developing new businesses, Commitment to any new project and loads of Energy to make things happen also when things appear to be difficult.
What was the impact of being awarded from Business Week as “Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2007” ?
Business Week award was a great experience. It was a form of recognition for all the effort, passion, energy and commitment I placed to my entrepreneurial activities. The impact of “Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur” was more of a psychological than actual/practical. People now are searching for me instead of the other way around.
What are the possibilities for your company with this crisis?
All my three businesses, perform very well during this year. Actually, I do not feel there is any Financial Crisis. I believe that in such times, businesses should be more flexible and being able to adapt to the new business environment as fast as possible. This is also what I always tried to do with my entrepreneurial activities. To work on a smaller scale and being able to maneuver faster and more efficient
What would you like to see the government will do to push innovation and young entrepreneurs?
Governments should try to work closer with the entrepreneurs and try to understand which new policies, rules and legislations might help to boost all business operations. Moreover, I believe that governments should start working from the educational system rather than providing funds to new companies and/or young entrepreneurs. What we lack today is a proper educational system that stimulates the entrepreneurial mindset of every single person. Unfortunately, at schools they teach us on how to be great workers and how to obey to orders. Entrepreneurship is totally the opposite! Entrepreneurs love to be challenged and to think out of the box. Entrepreneurs love to live at the edge and of course this is what makes them successful as well.
Therefore, I believe that governments should put more of their efforts to create a more stimulating educational environment that will “build” more independent thinkers and people that love to take risks rather than just people that are trained to do one job.
How do you see/handle expansion to other countries or do you stay local?
Currently my businesses expand in three different countries in Europe. Dot Kite has offices in Amsterdam, Athens and Rome and for those offices we provide our high quality design services to our clients.
In addition, Loggia Import is operating in The Netherlands but we are planning to expand our operations to the BeNeLux market very soon.
Finally, Crux Group is my investment vehicle that I am looking for interesting a new projects all over the world. Staying local in this global market is not an option and therefore every new business activity I undertake I always think if and how it could scale up for the global market.