This edition of Humans of METSTRADE features Toni Salom, founder and CEO of Nautipaints and President of the Balearic Marine Cluster. He explains how the Balearics marine industry is working together on promotion, skills shortages and environment, as well as sharing his METSTRADE insights as a visitor and exhibitor.
What attracted you to working in the marine industry?
I was born in Mallorca – being on an island we have water all around us. Another important influencing factor was my father opening a chandlery in 1971. As a child, I grew up seeing what the industry was like, right in our home. I also have a passion for sailing, so all of those things directed me towards working with boats for my career.
Aged 19 I had the opportunity to start a company with my father. I liked what I was doing and have worked in that business ever since. Today, Nautipaints is one of the biggest companies in Mallorca, with further bases in Barcelona and France.
More recently I became the President of the Balearic Marine Cluster. This is in its second year representing the interests of local marine businesses and promoting our services and capabilities to wider international audiences.
Tell us more about the Balearic Marine Cluster...
Our association was jointly created by government and local businesses, to develop and grow the marine industry in the Balearic Islands. It is important to open the minds in the islands that we make an important contribution to the Spanish economy and to ensure that the Balearics is attractive as a destination for yacht and superyacht visits. We play an important role in the Mediterranean for refits, with many companies focused on offering high quality services. There is a focus on improving the way we work together and increasing our level of business in this sector.
An important aim of the Cluster is to create good training schools for all our parts of our industry, covering skills such as carpentry, painting, rigging and marine electrical services. Our member companies have contributed their own ideas regarding what is required and we have been running successful workshops.
We are working in the area of innovation and development, investing a lot of time to try to create the best procedures and products. A particular focus is the environment and working closely with the government on how to reduce our impact on the world around us.
One of our biggest actions last year was to develop our first virtual event with three days of associated conferences and workshops, which was very successful.
What interesting trends are you seeing in the marine industry?
The environment is one of the biggest points that everyone is focused on, in terms of reducing carbon footprint as well as respecting nature and preserving resources. When superyachts and boats visit the Balearics they need to see how government and business, working together, is protecting the environment and our islands – such as preserving the meadows of Posidonia marine plants (which cover 55,795 hectares of the seabed around the Balearics).
I also welcome how the industry is making changes each year to offer a greater level of professionalism, as well as higher quality services and products for clients.
What is the importance of METSTRADE to your business?
METSTRADE is one of the most important dates in the calendar, where you can find all the products that you need to work in the industry. For the chandleries in my business it is the key event at which we have contact with all of our suppliers. As an exhibitor with Nautipaints, we receive many clients to see our new products and activities. It's a very intensive three days in Amsterdam, with people visiting from all around the world.
The Superyacht Forum is a very good place to learn about market developments. It's an amazing place for networking too where we can talk, develop business and make decisions with a lot of captains.
How do you plan a typical METSTRADE visit?
We start to work on our plans for METSTRADE around the beginning of October. As an exhibitor we want to send communications to our clients inviting them to see our new products and hear about the new things that we done in the company.
For those of us that attend as visitors, METSTRADE is like a marathon – it's very big! We try to programme our visits throughout the three days and need to be very organised.
At night we hold team-building dinners – that’s also a very good experience.
Which METSTRADE areas and activities do you most look forward to?
I spend a lot of my time in the Superyacht Pavilion, where we have our stand. I also spend time at the US country pavilion where we have a number of US suppliers, as well as visiting Halls 1-3. I arrive at METSTRADE Sunday evening, which means I can also attend the Superyacht Forum on the Monday.
Read more from Humans of METSTRADE
Jan-Erik Viitala (Axopar)
Suzanne Blaustone (Barton Marine Equipment)
Lexi Ossinger (RxBoat)
Jean-Michel Gaigné (InXs Marinas)
Alexandra Foineau Oakley(Lumishore)
David Barrow (Barrow International)
Lesley Robinson (Britisch Marine)
Gianni de Bonis (TecnoRib)
Marianne Hendriks (Moonen Yachts)
Torsten Conradi (Judel/Vrolijk & co)