Originally, I’m from The Netherlands, a small country in Europe, best known for its tulip gardens, wooden shoes and windmills.
When my dad brought home our first PC in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was hooked. Countless hours, I spent playing simple games and draw things with ASCII symbols.
Fast forward past building my own PC’s, getting into BBS’ and LAN parties, I started designing and building websites, mostly for fun and friends. This was in the late 90’s.
After school, and later work hours, I spent time playing racing games, designing websites and spending boat-loads of cash on the ISDN dial-up line we had at home.
To increase the phone bill some more, I met a Canadian girl online in 2000, who 7 short years later became my wife. It was around that time that I started seeing web design as a business.
In 2001, I got the opportunity to be trained to become a certified web designer through a program, that guaranteed a job in web design after the training was done. I got into the program, got my degrees and at that time the “.com bubble” burst, and companies no longer needed web designers. This is when I put web design on the back burner to pursue other ventures.
In 2006, the demand for web designers started to build up again, and I took another plunge. I set up a part time business, but soon discovered the competition in my area was intense, and a year later, in December 2007, we decided to move to Canada.
It took a full year to get my residence permit in Canada, which gave me plenty of time to check out the market in the area we moved to and find out what the demand for web designers was. The future looked bright, and I got together with a business advisor that helped me set up the business, ready to go as soon as I got my official residence status. In July 2009, PoppenDesign (now PoppenWorks) was born.
My business started growing. I started getting referrals from people I didn’t even know and soon, I was working full time on websites. Finally!
Each year, I expanded the business with either a team member or a new branch of services.
In 2015, I started a side-project to hone my e-commerce skills, to feel connected in retail and because I like vinyl. The store is called Funky Moose Records. The side-project/hobby turned into a little more than that, which is great for my Shopify/marketing/e-commerce skills.
Fast forward to 2017, when I get a call from Prince Albert Photocopier, out of the blue. Their web designer was planning to go do other things and they were looking for local talent to build their web design department. A few coffees and signatures later, I joined PAP to work and expand their (our, I should say) web design efforts. PoppenWorks is still alive, but more as an umbrella company for my smaller, personal ventures, like Funky Moose Records.