Josef Brocki lives in Madrid, is 19 years old and defines himself as an entrepreneur. He is, undoubtedly, an atypical businessman: he does not know what his company is called (“that is what my legal and legal team takes, I am dedicated to the marketing area”), he does not know how many partners he has (“one or two per project, but they are not shareholder partners “), it does not mean what their stores are called (” for privacy reasons, I do not want it to be known “) and they do not know how much each of their businesses invoice, which are mainly training and electronic commerce .
“I wouldn’t know how to tell you,” he replies, sitting in a cafeteria on Calle Orense in Madrid. “I can tell you the profit margins based on turnover. A very good figure is 25%. This year there have been losses, but 2019 was positive.”
According to his data, last year he billed one million euros. So he made 250,000. “But not me, the company.” The company of which he does not know the name until he arrives at his house and asks the manager, who sends a constitution document from last July 1, six days before doing this interview. The company will be called Brockan Trend SL It has not yet appeared in the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry.
Josef Brocki is known in some internet circles. The young man has told in several videos how he earns thousands of euros in one day, he has shown his “new mansion” (a house in the Mirasierra neighborhood that he rents for 2,400 euros a month, he says) and his car of “more than 70,000 euros “, a Porsche 718 Boxster. During the conversation, he will say a couple of times that the cars in his videos are rented, but that this is an image that he wants to detach from.
“To be an entrepreneur, a ‘businessman’, I cannot be a ‘showman’ at the same time. That child who takes a car, rents and says ‘come on, if you want to be like me …’. That image that you can perceiving of me is totally opposite to what I want to transmit “. Brocki explains that he is in a “moment of transition”.
The transition has caught him in the midst of the COVID crisis, with a newly created footwear website and thousands of people shopping online. About a month ago, several customers who had bought in his store started to get angry. Espadrilles and sandals did not arrive; if they did, they were of poor quality. They discovered with surprise that they did not come from Spain, as the store proclaimed, but from China. And that the same products were cheaper on Aliexpress.
“This is my order,” illustrates an affected customer showing a screenshot. “And this is Aliexpress. Same name, same photo.” Cisnem, Brocki’s store, charged the sandals for thirty euros. Aliexpress sells them to less than ten.
What Brocki —from a German father, hence his surname— has set up is a dropshipping business. Dropshipping consists of reselling a more expensive product without even seeing it, storing it, or managing its ‘stock’. That is to say: one sets up a website, advertises and sells directly from the manufacturer, who is usually in China and who sends the product. “I get the feeling that everyone thinks it is a scam,” continues the businessman. “But it is legal and legal. The advantages: you have no warehouse, maintenance or logistics expenses. Millions of companies in Spain do it.”
In principle, Brocki is dedicated to dropshipping. But until now no online store was known. Only his personal website and the Shopify Masters website, where he sells courses and consulting for up to 870 euros an hour. He is not the only Spaniard who has established himself as a guru of this type of trade, who He tricks and ends up ruining young people under the promise that they can earn a lot of money online.
“It is like everything. There is a determining factor that is consistency. I have a gym and I tell you: if you sign up and train, you will get strong. But if you sign up and you only pay the monthly fee, no,” he explains. “I will give you tools, knowledge and training. But if you don’t work, you won’t get results.” What he wants to transmit, he adds, is that one is able to get what he wants if he dedicates himself and dreams “big time”. He says he has taught more than 3,000 students.
Josef Brocki only has one company in his name, Evolve Media. He founded it in October 2019 and has not submitted accounts. He says that it is the “training academy”, and indeed it is the society that appears on the website of his courses. Evolve Media has been key in deceiving customers to discover that it is Brocki who is behind Cisnem. The company was linked to the PayPal account of the store. The Facebook page is also associated and the domain is in the name of the young person. The Cisnem website commits a serious infraction, fined between 30,000 and 150,000 euros, by not putting in its legal terms neither the CIF, nor the name of the company, nor an address or contact telephone number. Hence, customers have had to investigate to find him.
“It is usual. I get cases of people who buy on websites that advertise on Facebook,” says lawyer Samuel Parra. “Everyone makes a copy and paste of the legal notices. This can be reported to the Secretary of State for Digitization, competent for these things. When an online business is not identified, it is going to give you problems.”
At first, Brocki told clients – grouped together on Facebook, where there are now more than 600 – that he had nothing to do with it and that someone was impersonating him. Later, he acknowledged that the page is his, that the delays are due to the health crisis and that the “scout” with whom he works in China had “mis-selected the products.” According to his data, Cisnem has received 20,000 orders at an average of 29 euros each: more than half a million turnover.
Regarding that his sandals “designed by podiatrists and orthopedists” are sold on Aliexpress, he comments that “in China there is a thing called competition in ‘e-commerce’. When a product sells a lot, the word gets out and manufacturers themselves position themselves. ” He claims that he has hired two people to attend to complaints on the phone, which in total are fifty and that he loses money with returns.
To those who manage to talk on the phone with the company, he asks them to send the shoes back to the address where Evolve Media is domiciled, which turns out to be the famous “mansion”. “The offices are close by. Returns are being made to a postal code close to the chalet. I like the word chalet. It is a house. You have to be a bit ‘youtuber’ for that. It is provocative marketing,” he continues. “We have a contract with a well-known logistics company. They come, they don’t get to enter … We have a part dedicated to the warehouse.”
Those affected have filed complaints and claimed their money from the bank or Paypal. “Every day, all businesses receive complaints, just like you go to a store and file a complaint,” says Brocki.
Before being Cisnem, the store’s Instagram account had had seven more names. Apparently, it is common among dropshippers to buy accounts that already have followers so as not to start from scratch. “Imagine that Cisnem ceases to exist,” says Brocki. “It closes. It is a brand that I have had. And you set up a women’s fashion store. I sell you my customer databases. It is Instagram, it is not emails. Under the legal knowledge that I have, it can be done” . The lawyer Parra does not think the same. “The Spanish Agency for Data Protection has said that user profiles are personal data. If they want to resell them, they must do so with the prior consent of each person.”
An e-commerce expert who knows Brocki’s case and prefers not to give his name explains what dropshipping is and how its practitioners act. “I was shocked at first. But ‘dropshipping’ works. There is a very large mass of uninformed people who buy products in seedy stores without knowing who is behind them. ‘Dropshipping’ is short-term: it follows the fads, the products burn “dropshippers” are like sharks when they see a product that works, they copy everything. They use creatives copied by putting letters on top. Most of them put policies on the backing, they put anything to appear to be a real store. Under my point From view it is fraud: they sell products that they do not know what they are, when they arrive or where they come from. They call it making money, for me it is cheating. The store lasts until it is no longer profitable. There it is erased or suspended until next season. ”
It is, in part, what Brocki valued doing. “It has gotten out of hand, I’m not going to fool you,” he concludes. “Even so, we have given face. We are moving everything to Italy and making a makeover. What would have been comfortable? Take and close the store. Legally, the company responds. But I want those customers to be satisfied I want to go tomorrow, set up a store in Castellana and make people happy. It sounds disruptive (sic.), But I think that by image you have to be so serious. Having a store in Castellana is not the same as selling only online. I want to send an email to all my clients: I am going to open a store in Castellana. If I believe it now they will all come with a knife: ‘where is my order?’ (laughs) So what we are doing first is customer service, satisfaction, phone and email. ”