Hutspot is the next generation of shopping experience; it began life two years ago as a small and unassuming pop-up store in Amsterdam, gathering the produce of artists and designers and providing a platform for them to reach a mass audience. It is now the curator and promoter of an urbanised lifestyle. The exclusive designers that are showcased sell jewellery, clothing and household goods, and the boutique has its own in-house hairdresser and eco cafe. Cooking classes for children are just one of many innovations, and all public spaces are available to rent for private events.
For a small service fee and a commission on anything sold, the young owners will take care of the products and promote them amongst their other goods. Everything in the store is for sale and they are very open to new approaches and always on the lookout for new talents.
In a county like Holland, where the economy is strong and people are looking for quality in what they buy, Hutspot could only ever have been a success. In the Netherlands, pop-up stores are common, but the way in which Hutspot is run is unique.
It plays on the current trend to live ecologically and is designed in a way that makes it easy to browse, but also allows for you to go in with a purpose and find something to fit your needs. The décor is modern, yet rustic and the layout is minimalist yet vintage. The owners have their finger on the pulse and are continually looking for ways to establish local community and city involvement and in a modern world (the world Hutspot sells) all of these characteristics create an ambience for the discerning public.
People no longer want cheap, mass-manufactured goods and they also expect things to be easy. They care about the impact they are having on the environment around them and they care about community. Hutspot caters to all of this. Hutspot is a mall for the new generation of consumers.
The owners are insightful entrepreneurs and are not afraid to expand their business to cater to their clientele’s every need. In doing so, they have encompassed everything that your average shopper wants. They have even recently opened a bar which caters to those wishing to sample the best of microbrewery beers, exclusively designed cocktails and an à la carte menu.
We caught up with Product Manager Sarah van Rij to ask her a few questions.
Hutspot and its creators remain quite elusive on the World Wide Web. Tell us a bit about the founders and how the idea was born?
Two of the founders, Nick van Aalst and Pieter Jongens worked for a surf brand called Deus. Their main activity was to find new retailers. After travelling all over Holland and not finding the retailers they were looking for, they realised there was a hole in the market. It was difficult for start-ups and new brands to find enough selling points for their products.
They also thought that most shops look the same. They wanted to create a new and unique shopping experience and before long were fantasising about what they would create – a different way of shopping, not only for the consumer but also the start-ups trying to sell their products. A store where everyone – and especially young designers – could knock on the door to show what they had to sell. Quickly the fantasy became a reality, Reinier Bernaert joined the team and in 2012 they opened their first shop.
The name. How did that come about?
The owners were looking for a Dutch name with two syllables; Hutspot was the first thing they thought about. It’s a traditional Dutch meal (like the English HotchPotch), a mix of different ingredients that come together, just as everything in our stores does.
There are a lot of other pop-up style stores out there right now, so why do you think Hutspot has been such a success?
Hutspot was the first store of its kind in Amsterdam – we were the first ones to start with a concept like this. We are also always looking for inspiration but will never steal or copy ideas or products from others. We’re driven to look for new things, daring ideas, without fear or failure. We’re not tied down by conventional retail structures and are never afraid to be bold. Maybe the real key to our success has been, quite frankly, that (at the beginning) we didn’t really know what we were doing!
As a Product Manager how do you choose artists/designers/products? What is the process to follow if anyone reading is interested in selling their goods?
Our criteria is not very strict. As long as the product or brand offers good quality, has a great story, is unique and innovating – and of course matches the rest of the store’s produce – anything goes really.
If anyone is interested in selling their products at our shop the first step is for them to send us an email with all the relevant information. The next step is to visit the shop and then from there the process is actually very simple and very quick.
Has social media been important for your self-promotion?
At the beginning we weren’t very active within social media. We had a Facebook page and that was about it. It took us about a year to get a website. We want contact with Hutspot to be physical first – word of mouth, discovering the store whilst visiting the city etc. It is important to be active in social media but, we also don’t want to be bombarding people with advertising on Facebook every hour.
We’re most active on Instagram, because it’s visual instead of textual.
What do you think the most important thing is for people to know about Hutspot?
We are open to anything and always try to be innovative. We hope everyone continues to follow the Hutspot adventure in their own way. And if you have an awesome idea for an event, a new brand, workshop, pop-up or anything else, please do not hesitate to share it with us!
Van Woustraat 4