It has been an exciting and eventful month for me here in Eindhoven. October is a key month for anyone working within the design field in the Netherlands. Which is when the annual Dutch Design week takes place. It gives companies and retailers the opportunity to showcase new work, network and grow your customer base. The event took place from October 20 -28th in various different venues spread all over the city.

Rene Siebum’s studio participated as well, which was a great opportunity for me to experience what it entails and how to prepare for an event like this with your own company to maximise results. He chose to showcase his work in his own workshop, to limit investment costs, which otherwise is a big for a small business. As added bonus customers got the opportunity to see the work where it is made, which received very positive responses and certainly added value to the display.

This month’s focus in preparation for the design festival was on getting the display stand ready, finalising the packagings for the pop-up shop and marketing prior and during the event.

The first part of the month I got involved in the design of the packaging and display for the pop up show during DDW. We discussed different options in terms of investment vs return for retail. Finding a way to present products in the most cohesive way for the whole range of products, how to stand out in comparison to competition and still keep the costs at a minimum. Rene gave me a workshop in dealing with retailers in which he outlined general practices in the Netherlands in terms of commission fees, terms and conditions and important negotiation points in those collaborations. Eventually I was able to attend a meeting with him with one local design retailer that he is working with, which was a very helpful learning experience.

I helped him with setting up the stand, which helped me to understand the choices that went into the selection process of the work, positioning and ways of displaying.

Rene prepared me really well on what to expect during the fair in terms of customers and his targets. During the fair I spend a few days with him on the stand, which was a great masterclass in marketing in sales that I can take with me.
For the rest of the fair I had the opportunity to meet a lot of other makers, designers and retailers that are based in Eindhoven and other Dutch cities and learn about their products and practices and through that get a feel for the local design market.

Rene and I will be reviewing the DDW in terms of investment and sales and hopefully new projects that might come in as a result. Which will be very interesting for me to learn from for my own company and my own participation at a fair like that in the future.
Furthermore I have lined up meetings in the coming weeks and will be meeting a selection of the makers/designers I met during the festival at their workshops, which will be a very interesting and helpful for me.

This month has been a very valuable experience. Rene is very open about his practice and how he runs his company, which offers a very generous learning experience.