"There are many people who know how to make money, but that’s just one of the many prerequisites of success."
A successful businessman, co-founder of the BRUDRA brand and the first President of the Czech Business Club in the United Arab Emirates, in an interview concerning his beginnings as well as the goals of the first platform for meetings of Czech businessmen in Dubai.
Dr. Foubík, I cannot but start with the latest news. At the end of May, you became the first President of the Czech Business Club in Dubai, where you now live. What are its goals?
First of all, we want to make sure the club becomes a respected entity in the Emirates. We’re opening contacts with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and will try to establish the Czech Business Club in the local environment as best as we can. I would also like to mention that the key impetus for our initial meetings with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce was a result of the activity of Professor Michal Mejstřík, who participated in the foundation meeting of the CBC and must be thanked for his support. I also won’t forget the input from Roman Míšek from the Czech Trade government agency and the Czech Embassy in Abu Dhabi. It’s all been a team project.
Is the environment within the United Arab Emirates ready for this?
Our first meeting of the Czech Business Club at the Emirates Golf Club showed that the Czech business community in the Emirates is very active and is interested in deepening relations between the individual entities. And that’s precisely the basic idea of the club – to create a platform for getting to know one another among Czech businessmen and exchanging experience and knowledge in the scope of economic activity in this country. The club will be the perfect place to establish new contacts and obtain important information.
Apparently, people often ask you how a graduate lawyer ended up in production and sales of work apparel.
In 1991, after completing my law studies, my classmate Pavel Růžička and I found ourselves at a crossroads – whether to make a living by the practice of law and wait for some legal firm to employ us or go a different route. At the time, the father of this same classmate and current partner in Brudra, bought a gas station in privatization in Prague. I remember that back then, as kids in an attempt to help, we took an Avia truck and drove to Slovakia to get distilled water, because there were no dealers around at the time. Over time, the pump operation showed that it was a serious problem to get clothing for the pump operators. And that was it. We created a company on spot, just like that, and today it’s 22 years old. To a certain degree we can be proud that most people in Prague know what kind of a brand our little BRUDRA figure represents.
Did anyone try to talk you of it? That you should follow what you studied?
They did tell us that. But within the first year we made our first money and that decided it. The famous quip ‘money talks’ had its say and the legal career was over before it began. For example, one morning I decided to put clothing on all Coca-Cola workers and that happened within a month. We were lucky. But we’re not resting on our laurels and continue working on the image, as well as having a complex full of storage buildings, a heating company, we co-operate a go-cart track and provide apparel for the police... we always try to go on.
Are you thinking of the school uniforms?
Exactly. Five years ago, the pupils of the PORG Elementary School voluntarily decided to wear uniforms we designed and that was a reward for us. We managed to blend an interest with fashion trends and create interesting designs for free time, tennis, golf and skateboarding. And we’re successful with it. Now we’re collaborating with the Czech Masters Golf 2014. For the first time in history we created the role of an official merchandiser in the Czech Republic, not only a partner, at such an important event within the European PGA Tour. We’ve been preparing for this for a year now. We’re the authors of the Czech Masters logo, as well as producing a beautiful and very wide collection that is dominated by polo shirts and baseball caps. So our activity reaches this far.
One would think that, after twenty-two years, you might be lacking ideas...
Worse than that. I get ever bigger ideas and I see the potential in combining activities between the Emirates and the Czech Republic on the basis of trade, leisure and golf. I have a vision for the Expo 2020 and other thoughts. But in the end, it’s all about the team of people in the company and about the details that compose the world. We’re working on three videos for television. Our colleagues created a new visual for the logo. It’s a transition of the human over the course of evolution all the way to the BRUDRA figure. Our evolution continues. It’s very typical and encouraging.
It’s about vision.
As one matures, one begins to believe their own ideas. When you’re young and you have visions, you don’t believe them yourself. It takes a long time before you test yourself that they are really good.
Or others don’t believe you...
That’s a different story. It’s your job to convince others.
Your brand is indivisibly tied to crafts. Do you consider that a success?
The greatest success is if you find a person or people with whom you can share your path and be happy doing it. That’s basic and everything else goes sort of hand-in-hand with it. The other thing is setting your values correctly. I know a lot of people who really advanced in terms of work and made plenty of money. But they weren’t able to share them with anyone or enjoy them for their own joy or for those close to them. I was surprised with how many rich people are stingy and relentlessly money saving, collecting property without joy. I don’t see happiness in that.
So how do you envision happiness?
To understand my mission on this planet Earth now, in this life and to find harmony and balance with everything else around. And also to know myself.
Fine, but you must be also happy with your successes in the working environment.
I’m not going to tell you anything new. Money has always been the key measure of success in work. That’s logical. But one must reasonably enjoy money, work with it. I understand what you’re asking. It’s a success when you take a break for five years and even after, people collaborate with you. Because you’ve done everything with honesty and they know they can trust your word. There are many people who know how to make money, but that’s just one of the many prerequisites of success.
Then success in a profession brings responsibility along with it?
That goes hand-in-hand. The moment you’re successful and make money, you employ people and co-contribute to their existence. You’re creating stability. You bring something to society. The logical outcome is then selfless help. That’s automatic.