There is a reason why this is the credo of the CDEF holding, which I founded about 14 years ago with my associate Ronald van den Hoff. I enjoy every aspect of life. And due to my natural curiosity and need for continuous innovation, I try to get the maximum out of it.
What facinates me in my every day life is the encounter and therefore connection between people. Our business activities offer a platform for people to (re)connect with each other. For this purpose, we are constantly searching for smart solutions to be able to facilitate this proces as excellent as possible.
I can definitely state that entrepreneurship is something I grew up with. I was raised in Almelo (a city in the east of the Netherlands) with my brother and sister (who are respectively 4 and 5 years older than me) by two very enterprising parents in a true middle class family.
We lived in the centre of Almelo (obviously above one of our stores). My parents where always searching for innovation and continuously monitoring the dynamics of the city. Their motto was: when you don’t act, nothing will change. They were the initiators of the ‘Star specialist businesses’, organizing fashion shows and festivals. And making sure there was always something going on in the city centre to which they could contribute. As Herman Finkers (a Dutch singer and comedian) says: ‘in Almelo is altijd wel iets te doen, het stoplicht springt….’ (English translation: there is always something to do in Almelo, the traffic lights jumps to…). In business, my parents were always looking for the right shop formula which satisfied the needs of the people in Almelo at that time. They sold lingerie, baby and children’s clothes, nurseries and then switched to selling exclusively Oilily, Robe di Kappa (yes, during the time the double polo shirt collars were popular here in the Netherlands), Benetton and finally a pilot store of a Dutch firm called ‘State of Art’.
We as children were involved in ‘running the business’ at an early age. Every Thursday evening and Saturday, we would have our own popcorn stand in front of my parents’ store. That’s how I learned to count money at the end of each day. Back then, I was extremely happy with a daily revenue of 46 guilders. Soon I became familiar with the phenomenon of ‘customization’ by running a stand with t-shirts on which I printed any pop artist, favourite animal of your choice or simply your name. Now that concept is called ‘Simply colors’ and I could have earned some more money with it!
If you would like to know more about my further career (schools, internships and other extracurricular activities) you could check out my LinkedIn profile.