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Beverage distributor "Tubi 60", music event organizer

Sélley Márton

the journey by enty
From a TV show host to an entrepreneur: the journey of Sélley Márton
Business is not only about money and paperwork. Most of all, it’s about people, inspiration, and passion. With that in mind, we present you the Journey — a project where entrepreneurs share how they started their businesses, what made them successful, what drives them, and how they came up with what they ended up doing.

In today’s article, we will be exploring the entrepreneurial journey of Sélley Márton, an electronic music producer and a TV show host turned entrepreneur. His business imports an Israeli alcoholic beverage, Tubi 60, into the Netherlands, and promotes it across bars and music events organized by Sélley.
It's less awkward and less depressing to go to business meetings with someone who can have your back

What was your background prior to starting your entrepreneurial journey?

I come mostly from the cultural industry and creative projects. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I co-created and hosted Népszínház TV, a reality show set in Hungary. We were going out to one of the liveliest streets of Budapest to report about events that took place there and interview random strangers. The show managed to gain some viewership in Hungary, but the financial returns were not substantial, so I figured it was time to explore other avenues.
About two and a half years ago, I relocated to the Netherlands and began immersing myself in the local culture. I bumped into some people and made friends and connections. While exploring opportunities for cultural projects in this country, I also learned that it offers a favorable environment for starting a business.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

Interestingly, the idea of starting a business in the beverage industry was conceived at a party in my apartment. My initial idea was to export existing drinks from the Netherlands to another country. One of the guests at the party, András, was familiar with my plan. He approached me and asked: “Hey, do you want to work with me on the project I'm currently running? It's an alcoholic drink from Israel called Tubi 60. We can import and distribute it in the Netherlands together.”
What made this pitch all the more compelling was that I’d already been familiar with Tubi 60 by that point. I saw this product become a success in Hungary while working at the Jewish Community Center there. It started as a small niche thing and then it basically became a go-to drink in many cultural and artsy spots in Budapest. Currently, Tubi 60 is selling something like 120,000 barrels per year in Hungary. They are one of the biggest sellers in the whole country.
Since I had already seen this beverage take the Hungarian market by storm, I figured the idea András proposed had a lot of potential. I accepted his proposal to work together, and thus began our venture to bring Tubi 60 to the Netherlands.

What does your business model look like? Do you buy the drink directly from the manufacturer or work with resellers? Do you sell it online or physically?

We are the official distributors of Tubi 60 in the Netherlands. Our business is mainly connected to the Hungarian branch — they are shipping the drink to us as well.
We don’t have a license for B2C sales under the Dutch Alcohol Act, so our operations are limited to B2B distribution. It's completely physical selling. The restrictions imposed by the regulations in this field also require you to have a special license for selling drinks in a physical liquor store, and we don’t have that one yet. So we mostly reach out to bars, cultural venues, and events that are interested in introducing something new and different to their clients.

How is your business structured? Was it difficult to deal with the legalities of starting a company as a foreigner in the Netherlands?

We incorporated Tubi as a BV. I registered it through the Kamer van Koophandel, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. It only took me a couple of weeks to get a VAT number. Overall, I'd say registering a business is quite easy in the Netherlands.

Are you working with your business partner or solo?

Previously we used to divide geographical areas, with me focusing on the North of Holland and my partner on the South. He was integral in extending our reach to the southern parts of the Netherlands, particularly Rotterdam and Delft.
Recently we’ve been trying a different approach. Now we often attend business meetings together, not just for the sake of companionship, but also to tackle potential challenges as a unified front. I’d say this collaborative approach has proven beneficial. It's less awkward and less depressing to go to business meetings with someone who can have your back.

What's been the most challenging part of your business so far?

One thing that became a bit of a struggle for me was learning to adjust my personality to fit the role of a dealmaker. As an individual, I've never been particularly assertive, so finding the right tone of voice was somewhat difficult when I first started approaching potential clients. You have to adopt a persuasive demeanor during these meetings, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to achieve that without compromising my authenticity. In a way, I’m still learning to find that balance between my real persona and my business persona. But I think I’m in a much better place now in that regard, especially compared to where I was in the beginning.
As for the business side of things, the biggest challenge right now lies in finding new clients. I came to the Netherlands as a foreigner, so naturally, the Dutch market is unfamiliar to me. I don't know all the small niche places and communities that could be interested in this kind of cultural experience. So right now my main focus is to monitor the cultural development of the city and look for new clubs and venues, visit them, talk to the owners and bartenders, and try to convince them to check out our offering.

When learning about your business, we also found out that you organize music events to promote your drink. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Actually, it’s the other way around. In addition to Tubi 60, I am also involved in running a collective that organizes underground techno parties. It’s a series of events we call Pizza Time. We are also making visual art that goes along with the music — this aspect is undertaken by a good friend and a flatmate of mine.
So yeah, we’ve been organizing these raves for a while. We try to keep them underground and outdoors. Since I’m already DJing at these parties, I thought it would be cool if we could also involve Tubi 60 in a non-commercial way, just to let people know that it exists.
The strategy is to promote the drink in a way that feels organic and suits the underground nature of these parties. For instance, we had this event that we organized in a tunnel in Amsterdam. I put stickers about the party at some cultural hotspots around the city to promote it, and on the day of the event we offered Tubi to guests as a welcome drink.

That seems like a creative marketing strategy. Talking of good experiences, what aspect of your business do you consider the most rewarding?

One of the most rewarding experiences was when we started receiving regular orders from bar owners. It was a small step towards success, but it was a testament to the potential of our product. I'm really happy when bar owners text me: “Hey, we need more, can you send us?”
I also found it exciting to integrate Tubi 60 into my cultural projects, especially during the underground techno events I mentioned. The positive feedback from party-goers was incredibly gratifying. It was cool to see both of my projects working so well together.

If someone considering starting a business asked you to share the best advice you've learned on your journey so far, what would it be?

Take action on your ideas. It's easy to dream up business concepts, but executing them is the real challenge. The most difficult part is to get your ideas done. No one is going to do that for you. You need to go out there and learn how to network effectively and how to pitch your product. Stepping out of your comfort zone might seem hard, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Also, try not to overthink things. Don’t go too hard on yourself if you mess something up. If it’s your first time running a business, try to focus on the positive side. It’s OK to make mistakes when you’re still learning.

Thank you for reading Sélley’s story, hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you are looking to share your story, please leave us the form below and we will contact you back. Cheers!