Amsterdam is a city of surprises. Sometimes it seems that you already know it well enough, and then it opens a new side with new places and meetings for you.
Thanks to the blog we recently met Evert Groot, Dutch founder of well-renowned high quality brand Étoffe Unique. He is a young professional energetic man, who is very passionate about his work. Despite continuous international expansion with customers and production plants in France, Belgium, Italy, Scotland, Evert can still be found running the company’s little stand on many local markets in the Netherlands.
We talked with Evert about his work, projects and business and learnt a lot of interesting things. This is what Evert told us.
I started in this business 15 years ago, when I was an assistant of a fabrics seller on a market. He was my first teacher and a master of linen. My boss and teacher sold only clothing fabrics. When mass market clothing sellers came up, such as Zara and H&M, sales of expensive fabrics for tailoring collapsed. Then I decided to do business with interior fabrics and that’s how I became “Mister Linen”.
First I sold fabrics for curtains and made the curtains on my own. I did everything myself – from measurement to sewing. Even then I sewed only from the finest fabrics from around the world. At the same time, I started selling interior fabrics on the best markets in the Netherlands: in Haarlem, Bergen op Zoom, Wassenaar and Heemstede. Four years ago our stand started on Noordermarkt in Amsterdam. All these years the Amsterdam market was growing.
We sell the world’s best linen fabrics produced in Belgium. The quality of Belgian fiber is very high and allows you to get a thinner and stronger yarn. For example, furniture, upholstered by such a durable fabric will last at least 12 years.
Also we sell hemp fabrics from Latvia and Czech Republic. These fabrics are very durable and soft.
Nowadays we supply restaurants, bars, discos, shops with our fabrics. Among our customers are stores like Sukha, Tenue de Nîmes, Hutspot and De Ru Verf.
I worked all these years non-stop, even during the recession I did not lose anything. I worked and sold fabrics. I sell highest quality fabrics much cheaper than you can buy in stores – that’s the secret of my popularity. My clients are always satisfied with the quality and they tell their friends about me.
Word of mouth plays a big part, as they say in Dutch “mond aan mond reclame”. My business is growing. I worked in stunning mansions and villas in Wassenaar and Bloemendaal. I work with famous designers, for example Eric Kuster, Jeroen van Zwetselaar and restaurant tycoon Casper Reinders. Next month I have a meeting with Piet Boon studio designers.
I have interesting customers. One rich client loved my fabrics so much that he ordered a shower curtain from our linen. Together with the fittings, it cost him 1600 euro. We also have regular customers – eco-people. According to their beliefs, they strive to minimize harm to the environment during funerals and they use natural fabrics, usually linen, instead of coffins.
My company has a representative in Ibiza. We decorated villa of Carmen Straatsma there. Soon we start a new project in Curacao with her. She invited us there.
We often set up sample sales, since we have a lot of pieces left from the rolls. Check our warehouse and check for our stands in the markets. I’m sure you will be satisfied with the quality of our fabrics. They speak for themselves.
Linen is considered to be the first kind of fabric that people have learned to make.
The linen was used in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen as a symbol of light and purity, and as a display of wealth.
Kortrijk – a centre of linen production is situated on the Leie. The water in this river is especially good for the treatment of flax fibers.
Photos are kindly provided by evertgroot.nl