#FounderFriday: Caroline van Velze

#FounderFriday: Caroline van Velze
7th March 2019
#WednesdayWisdom: Lucy McCarraher
12th March 2019

Today’s #FounderFriday focuses on another successful female entrepreneur that was part of TheNextWomen100 list in 2018: Caroline van Velze. In this interview Founder and Art Director of the Dutch interior design company: Zuiver B.V. will reveal all of her business secrets.

Could you please introduce yourself and your company?

My name is Caroline van Velze, besides being a mum of three I am one of the founders of the Dutch interior design company Zuiver B.V. Together with 3 high school friends we’ve founded our company in 1998. We’re located in Zaandam, which is just outside Amsterdam.

We carry two successful interior brands: Zuiver and Dutchbone. Zuiver is known for its famous design twist: on-trend, fresh, young and original. The collection of Dutchbone is a precise blend of handcrafted products our design team discovers during their travels. Nowadays our products are sold in more than 70 countries worldwide. We have an international team of 75 people working for our company: from sales to design to marketing.

As Art Director for Zuiver I am, together with my team, responsible for the look & feel of the collections, the presentation of the brands and so much more.

What milestones have you reached/lessons have you learnt in 2018?

2018 was a vibrant year for our company. One of the biggest milestones is the realization of our brand new 5,000m2 global headquarters. The entire building was built in only 9 months. In March we’ve started with the first construction work and in December we already celebrated our Christmas party there. Something else I am super proud of is that we’ve expanded our annual turnover with more than 20%.

A design milestones we’ve celebrated last year was the launch of our Albert Kuip garden chair: our first outdoor chair!

What do you hope to achieve in 2019?

Maintaining the growth of our company without losing our recognizable design signature and level of service to our retail partners and consumers is a primary focus – quality over quantity. The last years our company grew rapidly, we’re now getting ready for the next chapters. With the built of our new headquarters and expanding our team with qualified and experienced employees we’re future-proofing our company. One of our new chapters will be the American market. Later this year we will present our collections at one of US leading trade fairs. Our Zuiver b.v. book is far from finished!

In what way(s) did TheNextWomen support you to grow your business?

At theNextWomen meetings I meet a lot of inspiring women. Sharing success stories, learnings and giving each other business and also personal advice is something I find very valuable.

What’s your best advice for other members? 

My father, a successful entrepreneur, always encouraged me not to join him in the business. I had to find my own path and make my own choices. Because of that, I am very gut-feeling driven; I never let myself be influenced, I started doing what I like and what I get the most energy from. Yet I’ve also learned to get advice and expertise from specialists, their proficiency and involvement give me time to develop new concepts and fuel my creativity.