From Enschede, Netherlands to the world, Dutch Design Beads has found a creative way to share their story. I had the pleasure of chatting with CEO Carl Middelkoop about the impetus behind the brand and their vision going forward.
Genteel Flair: How has your professional background contributed to your work at DDB?
Carl Middelkoop: I created this company because I have a wide range of interests. I was a Psychology and Business Administration student but also very passionate about menswear. I wanted to make a company that set trends. I also wanted to improve my skills in both organizational and creative aspects. The timing was, of course, very important, which I knew because of my marketing background. I learned so much during both of my University degrees and wanted to really do something with that knowledge. Why should I learn so much and settle for a job where I don’t use any of it?
GF: What barriers did you encounter and overcome to establish DDB?
CM: In the beginning, I had no clue where to start. The first step was to establish some cash flow. Once you have that, it becomes a lot easier. I focused on making the best possible product by sourcing a variety of materials and letting people test them at each level of production to ensure the highest quality. After some successful tests and creating the web store, it was important to market the product. We found Instagram to be the best medium because the visual aspect is very strong. It’s a product that needs to be seen.
GF: Why was it important to connect your culture to your craft? Where do you draw inspiration?
CM: I really wanted to highlight that we don’t offer ‘just bracelets’ but an experience through the geographical significance of each piece.We share Dutch history through the products to create our collections i.e. the capital collection is based our twelve provinces. Every province has its own characteristics so we design based on those traits.
GF: Where do you see the brand in 3-5 years?
CM: Hopefully, the brand has gone worldwide. At the moment, 3 specialty men’s shops in the Netherlands carry Dutch Design Beads but we hope to be on the world map and have them sold in more stores abroad. The most important part of DDB is the story behind it and there is so much to share about our tiny little country, so we’ll have a lot of new products in the coming years.
GF: What is the most fulfilling aspect of DDB?
CM: Our customers. They are the company, they make DDB. We really value them and strive to provide great after-sale services and personal contact. The customers and DDB share a passion for menswear and we’re only satisfied when they are happy with the product. We want to know that our products complement their style and its very rewarding to see their support.