Bitbond: What was your first encounter in Bitcoin?
Marek Hellermann: I first encountered Bitcoin in some articles in summer 2013. But I took an interest in it in December 2013, after an overview was published in www.delfi.ee
Bitbond: Do you feel that Bitcoin is widely known in your country, Estonia? Are there places in your area that accept Bitcoin?
Marek Hellermann: It is known in Estonia, as a lot of banking specialists have taken to analyze it – what are the pros and cons, is it a good investment or not etc. How widely people are interested in it, I can’t say. And there are a couple of places that do accept Bitcoin. I think if it proves itself in the eyes of businessmen, more places will start to accept it.
Bitbond: Let us know a bit about your professional background.
Marek Hellermann: I have studied law in Tartu University and at the moment I am studying business in Tallinn University of Technology. In my opinion, it’s never late to study something new. In carpentry I’m a self learner. It started as a hobby about 14 years ago, when after a flood that ruined our summer house a bit, I wanted to restore a cabinet what was damaged by the water. At first I did everything according to a book and consulted specialists.
After I had the first restoration finished, I understood it’s something I like to do more and took another project for myself. It was a chair dating somewhere between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. As I had already some experience, I made decisions on what and how to make by myself and later invited a specialist to have a look at it. As he said that the work is very good, I got the courage to carry on with furniture restoration.
I came to making door and window copies and restoration of doors and windows when I needed to get some work done for myself. Now it’s the main thing I’m occupied with. I’m using methods and paints that have proved themselves throughout decades.
Bitbond: When did you start your carpentry business and what was your motivation?
Marek Hellermann: It became everyday work about 8 years ago. The main motivation was to do something with my own hands. I was and still am sure, that there is a lot to do to make people keep the old and to understand, that if you own an old house and the original windows and doors have been replaced during Soviet times or are in such a bad condition, that there is nothing to restore, it’s better to replace them with copies of the original ones, than to install plastic. My secondary motivation was that I like to be my own employer.
Bitbond: Do you have a team or do you run the business on your own?
Marek Hellermann: I have a team of five employees, who all are good carpenters and restorers. We have not had the time to update our homepage for a long time, but some of our work can be seen at www.puusepad.ee. It is in Estonian and Russian at the moment. By the way, the business is named Puusepad, in English that means Carpenters.
Bitbond: Who are your typical customers, private persons or other businesses?
Marek Hellermann: Today our main customers are other businesses, to whom we are subcontractors. They restore the whole house and our part is to make the doors and windows. About 30% are private persons.
Bitbond: How would you generally describe the environment of doing business in Estonia? If you had the chance, what would you improve to make the lives of business owners easier?
Marek Hellermann: Generally you can say that the environment of doing business is good. If to improve something, then maybe the social security tax should be a little bit lower or the payment obligation should be divided between the employer and the employee. Today the employee usually does not understand how much he actually costs the employer.