Entrepreneurial stories

"We’ve been living in Breda for six years, and we can clearly notice it becoming more international"

Stepping from a busy main road into the DeCommune feels like entering another world - the place is bright, friendly and brimming with positive energy. Not coincidentally, this is also how I would describe entrepreneurs Elisa (from Italy) and Patrick (from the Netherlands), the founders of DeCommune. Their business start was steady, teaching yoga classes in local studios and yoga in the park sessions when the weather was nice. But their observations, coupled with market research, told them that there was still a gap in the market that could turn out to be a great opportunity for a new business. After a rather convoluted search for a studio space, Elisa and Patrick landed in Belcrum. It took some time and a lot of elbow grease to turn one half of a rather large fabric store into their vision of a serene community space. But now, it seems like they’ve been at number 24 Belcrumweg forever. “We grow together” is the slogan of their business. But it may as well be used to describe Elisa and Patrick’s trajectory in the vibrant neighborhood of Belcrum.

Elisa Ciuffarella & Patrick van der Pol Founders, De Commune

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Elisa: We own a yoga studio located in Belcrum. We called it DeCommune because we wanted to create a community for internationals and Dutch people to meet, mingle and have fun while having yoga. 

Our team comes from different parts of Europe and beyond. It’s a familiar place because it resembles what you see outside the studio too: people coming together from all over the world.

How did you decide to start a business in Breda?

Patrick: We decided to start a business in Breda because we noticed a lack of sports studios teaching in English. We wanted to create a place for internationals and Dutch people to come, a place where yoga is studied in English and  where they can meet other internationals. We saw this kind of place in other large cities, but since there wasn’t any in Breda, we wanted to fill that space here. 

Why did you choose Belcrum?

Elisa: First, we wanted to find a location that was accessible and friendly. We lived in big cities as internationals, so we know that being close to the city center is important. That’s why we chose Belcrum.


Patrick: In Belcrum, we’re also close to the station. It’s a really vibrant area with a lot of things going on. A lot of new places are getting built here and more people are coming to live here.

For a business such as yours, what would be the advantages of setting up in Breda?

Patrick: Breda is like a smaller city that is starting to expand, so now’s a good time to start a business in Breda. 


Elisa: In Breda, you can see that there is a lot of effort and investment to create a very friendly space for starting a new business. And also it’s very central, so it’s easy to reach different corners of Benelux. So in that sense, there’s also very good positioning of the city.

What do you like most about living in Breda?

Elisa: I come from a big city and Patrick comes from Rotterdam which is also quite a big city. So we really like the size of Breda. On the one hand, you have a lot of events happening, but on the other hand, there’s also a good balance between life and busy-ness. 


Patrick: The vibe is really nice in Breda. It’s a city from the South, so you always get the Dutch gezelligheid here. Everything is within reach and it has a cheerful and cozy atmosphere.

Do you have a favorite place in Breda?

Patrick: We really enjoy going to STEK when we’re done with our yoga classes. It’s very close to us, and it’s a nice place where you can have some beer and shop for small artisanal gifts and nice organic products. It’s like a cozy village inside the city.

How do you see Breda developing in the future?

Patrick: I think in the future there will be a lot more opportunities for internationals to come and work here. We’ve also noticed a lot of students from Breda University coming to our yoga classes, so we see a lot of development in this area. 

Elisa: We’ve been living in Breda for six years, and we can clearly notice changes. We see how Breda is becoming a more international and a more business-welcoming place.

Breda Internationals is one of the organizations that’s really putting in a lot of effort in making internationals feel at home here. They try to meet the needs of families and young single people. This is very motivating for us.

Author

Mickey Gast

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