Story of the founder
How a childhood dream became a successful business
Story of Swardman founder, Tomas Sena
Nothing is impossible
Each and every one of us had a dream occupation in their childhood; for when we grow up. We wanted to become astronauts, firefighters, famous actors or actresses or doctors. We all remember our childhood dreams, but we also realize that the clash with adult reality can turn our dreams upside down. Fulfilling a childhood dream requires a combination of hope, vision and motivation, because the journey is long and complicated. Only the most determined ones will reach their destination. One of those people is Tomas Sena, founder of Swardman, a producer of top-class reel mowers for lovers of perfect lawn around the world.
Everything has its right times
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it took quite a few years before the dream of a fifteen-year-old boy who wanted to be an entrepreneur, became real in the form of an innovative company. Tomas Sena had longed for a perfect English-style lawn since his childhood, soon to discover that he hadn’t had enough experience. This only strengthened his determination. He graduated college and went strawberry-picking for three months to Scotland to earn money for his dream journey to Australia. Then he worked part-time at a Swedish furniture seller and got his first full-time job.
The job in Mountfield, a chain with gardening equipment, soon stopped being a challenge for Tomas, and so he offered an improvement suggestion to his employer. The director of the company swept the innovative idea off the table and Tomas started thinking about leaving the company. Ultimately, he stayed for another year to gain experience useful for leading his own business. In his next employment, Tomas experienced the magic of direct marketing, selling FAGUS farming machinery. But even that was not ideal. Tomas started seriously evaluating his possibilities, but concluded that a business of his own still should wait. He became an advertising vendor for Golf Digest and Travel Digest magazines and worked on a concept of his own company, SENA GREENKEEPING, which has been focusing on care about English-style lawn to this day.
Never give up
There were many gardening companies at the time, but Tomas found a niche in the market. He became the sole specialist on English-style lawns in the Czech Republic and his customer base has steadily increased. After some time, differences in opinions with his business partner made Tomas start looking for alternatives.
And exactly at that time he found what he’d been looking for his entire life. A small ATCO reel mower. After a complicated search and negotiations, he was lucky to become the exclusive representative of the ATCO brand for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. People in the field discouraged Tomas and did not believe his vision. At first, it would have seemed that that were right. Although his company was ranked as the most successful ATCO vendor outside the UK and customer interest grew, the company failed to fulfil its business plan. All this, plus to the news that ATCO had terminated its production. Tomas took it as a challenge.
Learning from mistakes
Tomas decided to fulfil the dream for a perfect lawn of many people around the world, to take advantage of his multiple-year know-how and to start making his own reel mowers. The first logical step was an attempt to take over the ATCO production, which eventually did not happen. The time has come for his own production. The first potential partner appeared in 2011, but the development of the mower got stuck right before its end. In 2012, a Slovak producer of reel mowers comes into play, but due to its unpredictability, the cooperation ended quickly as well. A similar scenario repeated itself two more times. Most people would have given up in such a situation. But Tomas pulled himself together, analysed his previous experience and his actions resulted in his own production of Swardman Edwin mowers, which serve lawn enthusiasts all around Europe. The first big success saw the light of day, but Tomas aimed even higher. He found a new investor and began to develop the company and its staff. The result is a prosperous business of Swardman, with its own production facility and development, service, e-shop in several language versions and a broad customer base and partner network around the world. The company is currently expanding overseas. Swardman and the story of Tomas prove that hard situations in life set you up for achieving great goals. The only thing to do is to maintain a good course and to never give up.