Getting to know Jan Beier

Fri Jan. 15th 2021

Jan Beier, Director of Bullfrog Furniture, joined his father's company in the 2000s after studying forestry. Kurt Beier, somewhat an icon of furniture design in Germany, started the company in 1997. Based in Michelau, Upper Franconia, “Kruten”, meaning Toad, was how Kurt once explained the nickname for the people of Michelau to a customer. His American business partner translated this as "Bullfrog", and the company name was born (along with a good laugh!). Bullfrog under Jan's direction still stands for creative seating, for international design, for aesthetics and individuality, for poetry and movement. But what we love the most, is Bullfrog's quality and detail for technology, thus offering additional benefits for enjoying living and for interpersonal communication.

What is your greatest fear?
Listening to fear. Fear is a bad advisor.

Which living person do you admire the most?

Gerhard Polt. An Upper Bavarian cabaret artist with a brilliant gift for observing people, exposing the human inadequacies of everyday life and maximum presence in words, gestures and facial expressions.

What is your greatest extravagance?

To always be the last one in the night!

Which words or phrases do you use most excessively?
Incidentally (speech), If necessary (writing)

What, or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family.

What is always in your refrigerator/pantry?
Eggs, franconian cottage cheese, franconian sourdough bread, butter, chilli in all forms from our own cultivation, and wine

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play the trumpet like Stefan Dettl, bandleader of "La Brass Banda"

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be more patient.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being there for my family, our employees and families and taking responsibility.

What is your most valuable possession?
It is my 30-year-old Rocky Mountain Stratos mountain bike. It was unfortunately stolen from me last year and hasn't shown up again.

What do you consider the lowest depth of misery?
To lose respect for yourself.

What would be your alternative profession?
Forester. My old love and passion and the profession I actually learned and studied.

What is your most distinctive feature?
Mostly keeping track of things even when things get tight and complex.

Who are your favourite writers/books?
Herrmann Hesse

Which historical figure do you identify with most?
Helmut Schmidt, our former chancellor. Flexible, level-headed, down-to-earth, courageous but not overconfident and always a little bit against the current.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My mother and my father. They raised us children and showed us the right path without compromising our personal development. Today they are still there with heart and soul for our companies and the family and especially for each other.

What is your motto?
Nature is not only more complex than we think, it is more complex than we can think. So you never lose humility for the gift of life.

What do you regret most?
That the world/mankind makes so much worse although you actually know better

What would be your favourite city for a visit (vacation) and why?
Concepcion in Chile. During my studies, I had a very extraordinary and beautiful internship. It would certainly be exciting to travel again in this wonderful country and dive into parts of the city and meet people from back then

My perfect day would look like…….
White-water paddling in the clearest water under the sun, with friends and family and finishing the evening with beer, wine, good food & music around a campfire.

Wallpaper or painted walls?
Neither of them. Ideally, the walls show the materiality of which it's made. If you must have something on the wall, coloured clay plasters are my favourite. They have naturalness, beautiful depth transparency, ideal influence on the room climate and is excellent to maintain.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Find a woman who loves you.

What are your 3 favourite pieces of furniture from Bullfrog?
Solid, Akito, Pro-Bier

What is the most important thing your company needs to do right now?
To not get cocky, stay creative and take care of your customers with passion.

Do you have a friend who makes something beautiful?
My friends Robert Sommer & Karl Fischer build beautiful, robust and light canoes from their patented composite material (Armerlite) in a small factory. www.mega-sports.com

Which season gives you the most pleasure and why?
Spring. Water, sun, everything becomes green, & in bloom. It's the best time to be outside - and that's where I like to be the most.

What are the most significant business lessons you have learned in the last 10 years?
Acquire knowledge of the complex financial and accounting processes, intricacies and pitfalls of a company of our size. A successful entrepreneurial activity includes facing unpleasant things every day.

In this modern world, where so much has been done by so many, where do you find your design inspiration?
Mother Nature and daily life show that there is always something to improve, and that every time there is a need, the answers are in form and function.