Julian Cohen, flea market star and entrepreneurial master, is a success story

“Never listen to your accountant’s advice. That’s advice that collides like a dispenser. 58-year-old Julian Cohen doesn’t go unnoticed. And his sparkly blue glasses have nothing to do with it. The rather fault with the celebrity he got during four and a half years of antenna in France 2 in Affaire Conclue, as a frequent purchaser of the program.And also to his temperament.

Entrepreneur since the age of eighteen, he learned everything on the job, completely self-taught, bet in different sectors of activity and left the playing table at the end of the day to increase his earnings. And the player is. In backgammon, he made his first fortune, when he was barely old. “At that time, I was earning between 80,000 and 100,000 francs a month, just from gambling,” he says. If he benefits a little, Julian Cohen doesn’t want to burn out and would rather invest in his first business.

From acquisitions to acquisitions of all kinds

Like his parents, he’s on the entrepreneurial path… except that he’s multiplying projects. Advertising First: “The ’80s was the golden age: I bought loads of pages in magazines and sold them individually,” he explains. This advertising management guarantees him good margins and, above all, gives him the idea for his second venture. At that time, we needed couriers, and the profession was still in its infancy. So we recruited internally, and because it worked so well, we set up a courier company. This company is ATV, now Coursiers.com, still in operation and still majority owned by Julian Cohen.

Through an acquaintance, he joined forces to create a telecom operator in the 1990s: Direct Telecom, which later became Western Telecom. “Within twenty-four months, we went from 2 to 170 employees. We were in the middle of an internet bubble and when we announced our prices, we were worth CHF400 million.”

And here again, Julian Cohen left the table just in time, in 1998, when, according to him, the ratings reached a significant level. A few years later, the company was liquidated. He continues to acquire the ready-to-wear chain TooLuxe in receivership. Along the way, he recovers the twelve businesses associated with him, sells them the apartment, and has a large sum in his pockets. He also participates in real estate in Paris – a company he still owns – and in online auctions, at the beginning of the entire Internet.

Curiosity and passion…

With each new project, Julian Cohen takes a risk and accepts it. However, he succeeded. “Out of all the companies I’ve started, only one has filed for bankruptcy: the toner company when I was a teenager. And again, I had to stop because I was called into the military. All the others are still in existence and some have paid for it.”

navel? Lots of curiosity and passion in what he does. “I’m excited, I go to the end of things,” says Julian Cohen.

His passion for antiques is what drove him to get involved in second-hand goods and create Mes Découvertes. “I wanted to ditch the flea market with an innovative concept, a bit like Abercrombie de la brocante,” he explains. At Saint-Ouen flea market, stay in a large space where the customer experience is enhanced with perfume dispensers, music and spaces designed to “feel at home”.

After being discovered by the Affaire Conclue, Julian Cohen has been broadcasting for more than four years… and has gained notoriety. Before dropping everything at the end of 2021 to devote himself to other projects, and in particular to his last child: Les Maisons des Brocanteurs. Concept: Gather second-hand dealers and artisans in one place, like Ali Baba’s Cave. Julian Cohen buys the walls and the exhibitors pay the rent.

The first Maison des Brocanteurs opened in Péronne (Somme), in the former Banque de France, in October 2021. The second, in the same city, is under study, and the third is planned for May in Avalon (Yonne). To fund these openings, Julian Cohen seeks to raise 1.5 million euros from “regional ambassadors”, as he calls them. The serial entrepreneur explains: “A thousand people participate who, by force of circumstances, will be relays in their area when we open the Maison des Brocanteurs in the area.”

…and a lot of work

Eventually, Julian Cohen hopes to open about two dozen second-hand shops in France and launch a market for member flea traders in one of these houses. Julian Cohen explains: “Sort of a Tinder at the flea market, where flea traders can buy and sell things between themselves, which, let’s remember, accounts for 50% of the flea trade.”

At the same time, he continues to develop Mes Découvertes. Today, this represents four stores: two in Saint-Ouen, one in Vézelay and one in Belgium. We’ll open two or three more, in the territories, per se, before opening the concept to the franchise. »

Therefore, many of the projects that Julian Cohen pursues with organization, delegation and personal investment. “I am often told that I am very lucky, but it is also the result of a lot of work. I do not have a bac, I learned everything in my work,” he recalls. To put the odds on his side, he taught tax and social law himself and hit readings likely to help him in his work.

“Everything I did not learn in school, I learned in life. He also did not count his working hours.” Today there is a whole generation of start-up entrepreneurs who raise huge sums. This is great, but don’t forget to keep your feet on the ground. And above all, trust what you do. »

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