Ever feel like ending up in the same stores as back home when shopping abroad? Looking for this unique local boutique shop when on holiday, but nowhere to be found? Sounds familiar?
Then check The Local Goods store in Amsterdam. It’s the perfect alternative to the multi-national clothing shops you can find almost everywhere. Located next to the lovely FoodHallen where you can go for a bite or drink after a day of shopping. The Local Goods Store only sells articles from young designers and brands from Amsterdam, making it the perfect spot to look and shop for original and unique pieces. We’ve interviewed Judith Scheepers – one of the co-founders – to learn more about the store and its goals.
How and where did it all started?
The Local Goods Store is an initiative of Pakhuis de Zwijger, the place to be to talk and meet people from the creative industry in Amsterdam. We like to call it a community and it all started when we organized monthly meetings for independent brands. Each meeting was combined with a theme – like media, packaging or branding – and presentations of 3 designers to discuss their projects and support them with creative ideas or practical help. Also the designers were able to test and sell their products to the audience straight after their talks.
At a sudden moment we had a chat with André van Stigt, a friend of our director and the architect of Pakhuis de Zwijger & The Food Hallen. We discussed what to do with the passage in the Hallen and that’s when the idea for the store was born. We had this huge database of designers from Amsterdam and we thought why not create a store where we can sell their high-quality goods? Of few weeks later we started!
How do you find young brands and designers?
Well, we already had this huge network of brands and designers from the events we organized at Pakhuis de Zwijger. But also some interesting contacts from the markets we organize. So we didn’t have to look for new designers, as they mostly come to us, especially after our shop got quite known in Amsterdam. We are just and simply on the look for new products that are exciting and original so that we only have to contact them to ask if they would be interested in selling it at our store.
What makes a product or brand suitable to be sold in The Local Goods Store?
In general designers from or that make products specifically about Amsterdam are welcome to join our concept. But this doesn’t mean that the designer has to be from Amsterdam. In case we come across very extraordinary products we sometimes make an exception. For example we have a designer that makes necklaces based on the shape of Amsterdam, the designer is not from here but there is a very direct link with the city so it’s still suitable for our store.
Moreover, the designer has to be independent and not too wellknown or commercial yet. We really want to be a place where start-ups can sell their goods. And last but not least, we really like it when the products are made out of fair trade, recycled and sustainable materials.
What surprising lessons have you learned since opening The Local Goods Store?
Basically we learned everything because we never had a retail store. We just had an idea and simply started our own shop. I think the fact that we are not a retail company works in our favour because we are not here to make profit, we are here to offer a place where young creative people from Amsterdam can show and sell their goods.
Another thing we learned is that it’s hard to make a good financial construction that suits every designer. As the products we sell have very different margins it’s sometimes hard to find a price that suits all parties involved. Luckily we’re still learning from this every day and I’m sure a long the way it will get easier and easier for all of us.
What is your favorite piece at the store right now?
Well.. this is a tough question because I like all our products in the store. I’m very fond of the wooden cutted boards by Stadsplank. They are made out of trees that have been cut down by the commune of Amsterdam. Every board shows the type of tree and the street or park where it used to stand. Also the exact date of when the tree was planted and when it was cut down is visible on every board. I think it is a very good example of the products we sell here. It’s made out of recycled materials and the link to Amsterdam is very clear.
Can you tell us the one moment you will never forget since opening The Local Goods Store?
The opening was very memorable of course. But there is one moment, that’s a little embarrassing, that I will never forget. I’m actually quite bad at sales so I’m usually never behind the counter. But this one time my colleague was having lunch and nobody else was in the store so I had to fill in. The customer asked me to wrap the gift and so I did, but when I was done the lady said: ‘I think it looks very ugly’. I had no idea how to react and I was so afraid she would ask me to get my boss, as she didn’t know that it was me. We decided not to wrap gifts anymore (LAUGHS).
To learn more about the Local Goods Store and Pakhuis de Zwijger visit their website and social media pages:
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