Last month, on a snowy Amsterdam day, I left the studio to visit one of Wool & Water's newest stockists, De Nieuwe Winkel in Breda. Opened last year by Renee and Carina following the success of their first store Loekz, De Nieuwe Winkel is a concept store packed full of products from designer makers or in Nederlands, 'creatieve ondernemers'.
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, Renee had told me it was essentially a warehouse they had taken over but it was instantly so warm and inviting. It is definitely huge and there are so many curious, creative displays to explore.
Pictured: Lamp by AnderLicht, Black Flag Cards and Tea By Me
As soon as I arrived and took off all my many layers, (it was -6°C that day) Renee showed me the Wool & Water display she had made, which I was delighted with!
Renee explained that she moves each label around the store frequently so as to keep her customers curious about what they will discover. The visual atmosphere of the store was so inviting, I immediately wanted to explore and it felt like you were discovering pieces yourself without being overwhelmed or dictated to. Renee said that she feels her visual style is her handwriting - how lovely is that as a metaphor?
So display check done and a cup of tea in hand, I went exploring and left Renee to look after the customers that kept walking in and around. There was a real variety of products, every age is catered for from newborns to 80+. If you like jewellery, food, art, beauty products, candles - you name it, it is in there and all from handmade and indie brands from around The Netherlands, It felt pretty special to be included.
Left: Hoppy Design
Tea by Me and Kast en Kussen
Tai Jewelry, Lampen Indusigns, Kokedama Plants and Beton & More Posters
Veer Illustratie and Jens Studio Jewelry
I ended up buying a lot of cards, there were too many cool illustrators and designers to resist.
From Left to Right: Ceramic Anne Quakernaat and Tea by Me
Dilli Jewelry and Ink Mark Art & Design
Renee and I chatted for quite a while in-between customer visits about the pieces that are selling well, the amount of steps she walks all around the store each day and choosing happiness over money. I really liked her and throughly enjoyed my time in the store.
I managed to persuade Renee to stand for a picture for the blog so you can put a face to the name.
I then wrapped myself back up and chose to walk back to the station despite the temperature. Breda was so pretty and interesting, I would have loved to take more pictures with my proper camera but it was so cold I kept feeling I was risking my fingers' knitting career every time I snapped something on my phone to add to my Instagram Story, the pain was next level!
What did keep me toasty despite the chill was marvelling that this mad idea I came up with 4 years ago has become the little business it is today and that this once London rooted Actress gets to have these kind of adventures, travelling around my adopted country seeing my designs in situ. You just never know the paths life will take you on if you dare to take some risks.
Then before I knew it I was back on the train and making my way back to Amsterdam and my little studio with one huge smile on my face!
If you visit De Nieuwe Winkel, say hello to Renee for me and enjoy discovering!