Setting up shop!

For a long time it was believed that the right side of our brain stimulates our creativity and the left focuses on logic and analytics. Lately it has been debated whether it’s as black and white as that, but either way I myself am quite certain that I’ve undernourished an important part of my brain in recent years.

Many of you know me as the spokesperson for Vattenfall in the Netherlands, a job I love and truly enjoy every day (and yes, quite often nights and weekends as well…) and that I continue to learn at and grow in. A job that keeps me sharp, on edge and that requires me to be ‘on’ practically all the time. Which I love, but which is also not quite healthy, let’s be honest…

My way to unwind and stay sane consists of runs every other day, spending quality time with the people I love and staying up late in my design studio, drawing, sewing and printing while listening to podcasts. To try to explain how I got from art school to the exciting world of climate debate, coal phase-out and the road to a fossil free energy supply almost 15 years ago is way too long a story for what I want to share with you now, which is quite simply: I’ve set up shop!

And it’s no tea bag folding or scrapbooking either! 🙂 That would be an insult to 4 years of blood-sweat-and-tears at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. It’s not a hobby and it’s not a job, more a necessity for me to invest time in. Mentally, creatively and consciously. For a long time I’ve been walking around with the idea to try to create something small, local and eco-friendly. During my days at the design offices at H&M’s children’s department (the Swedes and I, we go way back…) sustainability wasn’t yet that high on the agenda and let’s be honest, there’s still a way to go. One of my latest projects at work – to create a fully fossil free crib – underlined the long road still ahead, especially in the textile industry, but our research also shows promise. More and more customers find their way to more conscious brands, have a louder voice through social media and choose local as an anti-reaction to globalization.

Lately, with the world shutting down due to COVID-19, this need for local support has grown, as has the realization of what we have been asking of our planet. We breath cleaner air, we see rare flowers bloom in larger numbers than we have for many years and we value the sparse nature around us that much more during our quarantine. Why not try to keep that vibe going? Let’s all help the industry become fossil free by paying a fair price for greener alternatives, let’s keep transportation to a minimum and switch to electric where possible to reduce CO2!

Kind of Folk, my small design studio for children and their rooms, focuses on exactly that. ‘Dressing our future with respect for the past’, building on the crafts and traditions that brought us to where we are today, with todays technologies and a focus on sustainable materials. And sure, it is not always possible yet to find fully organic options, close to home. But I am amazed at how steady my suppliers, both in the Netherlands and the EU, have delivered through these strange times. And at how the industry is changing for the better.

As I expect a big baby boom from all you home-office based troopers in the next year, how about stacking up on baby supplies while you’re at it! A large part of my first collection has been cluttering up the extra rooms in our home this last year, waiting for me to have the guts to show them to the world, so help me out here and be kind 🙂

Do you remember the old nursery rhymes about little sailors going off to sea? Those songs always spoke to me, as they told of great adventures on the high seas, with its dangerous creatures in the deep and the unknown lands on the other side of the water. As children we used to make little boats of old clogs and floated them in the pond while we dreamed of these exciting journeys over the waves, of the Kraken lurking in the deep and of being safely carried back home on the back of a big, friendly whale.

Are you my Kind of Folk? Check out the shop here and let me know what you think!

(And no, I’m not quitting my day job, in case you were wondering! Who would want to leave the most awesome job in the world? Don’t be silly…)