Creativity and optimism from the land of tulips
‘Hutspot is a curator for an urbanised lifestyle. An initiative that brings all the good stuff.’
Arjen Roos is the one responsible for all design and art direction in the shops owned by Hutspot in the Netherlands. With him we travel through the optimism that’s key for the success behind the start-up.
What it is Hutspot and who’s behind it?
Hutspot is a small chain of concept stores with two stores: one in Amsterdam and one in Utrecht. In November we are opening a new store in Rotterdam. We carry a wide variety of products like clothing, furniture, books, stationery, plants, art, gifts and more. Hutspot offers a mix of well-known, established brands and is also a platform for local upcoming designers. Each Hutspot store also has a different ‘sub-concept’: one of our stores has a lunchroom and the other a barber shop. Our future stores will also have the freedom to design their own ‘sub-concept’. Hutspot also hosts many events (including but not limited to): new collection presentations, book launches, dinners and live performances.
How was Hutspot started?
Nick van Aalst, Reinier Bernaert and Pieter Jongens, three childhood friends, founded Hutspot in the summer of 2012. Hutspot started as a small successful pop-up store with the concept of a unique shopping experience, with extensive possibilities for brands and products. The success of this pop-up store resulted in the opening of the first official department store at van Woustraat.
What kind of artists or brands can we find in Hutspot? Do they have any requirements to be with you?
Hutspot carries well-known, established (international) fashion labels like Won Hundred, Samsoe & Samsoe and Wood Wood as well as domestic brands like Normann Copenhagen, House Doctor and Seletti. Apart from that we provide a stage to local, lesser-known brands: Felt Atelier is for example a handmade jewellery brand founded by a twenty one year-old student named Maaike, Zeemansboter is a locally produced bio peanut butter by Kay who became addicted to peanut butter as a student and wanted to make his own, or Spruitje: a brand of Joanel who creates ‘sustainable habitats’ (plant terrariums in glass pots) which he builds from home. These are just three examples, but you can find all our brands on our website.
What do you believe is the secret behind Hutspot´s success?
Hutspot is successful because it offers such a wide variety of products to such a wide variety of customers. Whether you’re young, old, boy, girl, classic minimalist, etc.; you’ll always find something you like. Customers also love our unique, local, handmade goods that you can’t find anywhere else.
What’s the biggest difficulty of the job?
Staying unique. In retail you see more and more shops that offer the same products, some even have a cafeteria, too. Luckily our name is unique, so there’s also many people that contact us to collaborate.
What’s been your happiest moment at Hutspot?
I started working with Hutspot a year and a half ago and my happiest moment was definitely when we opened the new store in Utrecht. I got the chance to design the display furniture of the store and everything was produced by metal workers and carpenters; it was exciting to see everything come together. Now I’m designing an additional system for the new store we are opening this November in Rotterdam, so I think that will be my new happiest moment. We have funny moments every day. Our team is a family with an unbreakable bond, which results in a very relaxed atmosphere.
And the most complicated moment?
The most complicated moment for me is right now: the design of the new store in Rotterdam. The deadline is getting closer and it’s always exciting to see the designs become a reality. Of course that’s not the only thing that has to be done for the grand opening, and this is a stressful period, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
What is the goal Hutspot wants to reach?
At Hutspot we’re continuously trying to improve and add to our concept while at the same time trying to expand our stores domestically and internationally. We’d like to open a store in Berlin or who knows, maybe even Madrid! That would also open so many new doors to collaborations with local artists and designers in other cities and countries.
What advice would you give to a young team that wants to start a different and risky project like yours?
The most important thing is simple: start! I’m sure there are many people with good ideas that are held back by the thought that they lack money or an investor. I believe that you have to try and work with what you’ve got because once you get started things will fall into place, and if things don’t work out right away it’s better to start over than to have never started at all!