When David Gibson and Steve Dixon bought an investment property on the Costa del Sol 12 years ago, little did they know it was a decision that was about to give their lives a whole new direction. They both had fulfilling careers in London – with David running a medium-sized manufacturing business there, and Steve working as a retail manager.
They’d purchased their apartment in Estepona as a holiday home and at the time the prospect of relocating here permanently hadn’t even crossed their minds. But it was when they came to furnish it that they had their eureka moment – and Mad About Furniture was the result…
How did you come to set up Mad About Furniture?
Well, we struggled to furnish our apartment from one source and found it frustrating that as there was no one single place that had everything we wanted, we ended up having to go to lots of different places. We realised straightaway that there was a gap in the market, so we decided to move to the Coast and set up our own shop here…
Tell us about what you do and what it involves
Well, Steve is the designer and he meets our clients to get an idea of their tastes, preferences and needs as well as visiting their property to get a feel for the type of furniture and furnishings that will best complement and enhance it. We offer complete packages… furniture, curtains, and so on, and can also source individual items if required. So Steve will work with the clients from inception right through to the final sign-off.
As for me, I’m involved with the business side, dealing with all the commercial aspects of what we do and looking after our B2B clients. We have two showrooms on the Coast, one in Estepona and the other in Manilva. We’ve furnished more than 1,200 villas and apartments, and we also do interior design, project management, refurbishments of all kinds, kitchens, bathrooms, painting, wallpaper hanging and minor repairs, and much more…
Although we’re based on the Costa del Sol, we furnish homes throughout the whole of Spain and Portugal and around the world. We’ve recently completed a project in Thailand for example.
How do you start your day?
We open the business at 9am each day and work right through, we don’t close at lunchtime. Each day is varied, ranging from a full kit out of an apartment to the selling of a sofa or light fitting.
What part of your work do you enjoy most?
Meeting clients and sharing their joy and satisfaction that their ideas and our help have combined to give them exactly the home they had envisioned.
What do you love best about your Costa del Sol lifestyle?
That after 12 years this is home.
Your favourite beach?
Salduna Beach without a doubt. It’s just round the corner from us. It’s our local beach… and we love it!
Your favourite Sunday lunch venue?
That would have to be the Nueva Campana restaurant near San Pedro. The food is always good, and it has a great ambience.
Your favourite Spanish dish?
It has to be paella.
Preferred night out with friends/family?
If we are going out we’d definitely go to Puerto Banús. There’s something there for everyone.
Jump in the car at the weekend, where do you head?
That’s a difficult one, there are so many places to choose from. But probably the Sierra Nevada, it’s easy to get to and completely different to the Coast.
Have you had the opportunity to travel much in Spain?
We have. Over the years we’ve made numerous trips back to the UK by car, so we’ve travelled the length and breadth of Spain… it’s such a diverse country with so many different landscapes.
How would you compare your life on the Costa del Sol to the UK?
In our work mode I would say that we work harder and longer here. However, outside work, life is very relaxed and the long summer months make it super attractive.
What things have you learnt, how has your life changed since living in Spain?
Well, we have learnt that running a business in a different country certainly has its challenges. But once you get the right professional advice and trusted advisors it becomes a lot easier.
One thing you miss about the UK?
It would have to be family.
The Costa del Sol now and when you first moved here – what differences stand out for you?
We have seen incredible changes. We’ve seen 12 years of rollercoaster business, with huge peaks and huge troughs along the way. But it looks like it’s levelling out now, and we seem to be on the right side of it.
Do you speak Spanish?
We would describe our proficiency in Spanish as medium.
What does the future hold for you?
The future looks very bright. People who have businesses on the Costa del Sol are being very positive and the market has definitely improved.
What advice would you give to someone relocating and wanting to start a business here?
Speak to as many people who have relocated here as you can, to give you an insight into starting a business, and get the best professional advice you can.