A Prime Entrepreneur

martin_cherry.jpgThese days the word entrepreneur conjures up images of Alan Sugar's army of booted and suited Apprentices.  However here in Spain we have many Prime entrepreneurs who have found that moving to a sunny climate does not mean you have to leave your business ambitions behind.  

One such entrepreneur on the Costa Calida is Barbara Upshon.  Barbara moved from the UK to Spain seven years ago. The health benefits of the warm, dry climate and the lower cost of living were the main temptations for someone celebrating their sixth decade.  Her original plan was relaxation and retirement but she is now managing director of her own business selling Posh Plastics.

What are Posh Plastics?  Barbara explains that they are extremely high quality polycarbonate drinking glasses. They look and feel like crystal but are unbreakable and do not degrade in the sun or the dishwasher.

It's easy to see why these go down a storm in Spain, but what made her decide to give up lazy days by the pool for the risks a new business venture brings?

She says she really had no intention of setting up her own business when she arrived, but her entrepreneurial senses were sparked when friends in Spain repeatedly asked her to bring these superior plastic glasses back with her from the UK.  She contacted the manufacturer in New Zealand and had soon negotiated the rights for sole distribution in Spain - Posh Plastics were born!

Barbara stresses that the benefit of her business has not just been the income. “Running my own business means I get to meet new people and visit new places all the time. My customers are so varied; I supply boats, small hotels and people with pools so I've got to know a wide range of people of all different nationalities.   I know my way around this part of Spain far better than if I had not started selling Posh Plastics.

However Barbara admits that running a business in your golden years does present different challenges to those faced by younger business owners.  "I have to work around my energy levels so time management is far more important.  I've learnt to prioritise my work effectively and allow myself time to rest when I need it."

Living and working in Spain also makes a huge difference to the way she runs her business.  "In Spain you have to consider the impact of the seasons on the working day.  In the summer I get up at 6am while it is still cool and get my work done.  I know that in the heat of the afternoon it is far more difficult to get a response from people.  In the winter the dark mornings mean many businesses start later so I have adapted to suit that."

What tips does Barbara have for those Prime50Plus members thinking of relocating to Spain?  "Visit each area you are considering and do your homework.  We loved Barcelona but found out it was far colder in winter there than we expected - an all year round mild climate was important to us for health reasons.  Be careful if you think isolation is what you want.  Accept that one day you may not be able to drive over here and facilities can be far more spaced out than the UK. The benefit of being close to doctors, hospitals, airports and shops is easy to overlook but very important as you get older."

Even with the current economic climate Barbara has found her business is thriving and much of this is down to her reputation for providing great customer service.  While she has developed her own distribution network in Spain she also operates a mail order service and she works hard to ensure all orders are sent as quickly as possible.   Her plan is to continue to grow the business and bring the style and convenience of Posh Plastics to even more parts of Spain.

Posh Plastics can be ordered online at www.poshplastics.eu  or contact Barbara through the website for a local stockist in Spain.

Interview by Martine Cherry, www.dreamspain.net