A Vij5 Ambassador is, just like us, a big fan of the Vij5 collection. It is not just another point of sale, but a shop that knows that little bit more about our products. The lines between an ambassador and Vij5 are short, so he or she can tell you everything about the Vij5 collection!
We use the month of May to tell what makes these ambassadors share their love for our products. Edwin Pelser is the first to speak. Anieke talked to him, are you curious about the whole conversation? Then also listen to the podcast (in Dutch).
Text: Daniëlle van de Haterd (Staaldraad Tekstschrijver)
For twelve years, Edwin Pelser has had an interior design shop in The Hague that bears the same name as himself. Here, he not only sells products but also stories. Edwin is one of the ambassadors of our products, as he has included them in his range since the very beginning.
"If the story behind a product is expressive, it makes people find it interesting for a long time."Edwin Pelser
"A good product is not only about shape, colour or trend, but also about the story that the designer wants to tell. If that story is expressive, it makes people find the product interesting for a longer period of time." This is exactly what makes the Vij5 collection so suitable for his retail range, according to Edwin. "The products of Vij5 all have a story to tell, I like that very much. It's often about the way something is made, usually there is a special production process, that's what I enjoy telling."
"For us, people like Edwin are an indispensable link in the cycle that we go through for each product."Arjan & Anieke
Edwin discovered his passion for stories during his time at the Design Academy Eindhoven. "I noticed that most of the wonderful stories that designers have to tell remained in the academy. I wondered if the end user actually knew exactly what the intention of a design was."
Edwin's roots are not in the world of design, he has done higher vocational training for hotels and has worked in communications. So he is not the one who can make a product, but what he can do very well is talk about it. For us, people like Edwin are an indispensable link in the cycle that we go through for every product (design - curate - translate - create - share); a product only becomes 'real' when someone buys it and starts using it.
Edwin likes his shop to be easily accessible. "Many people have no understanding of design at all, but I want them to dare to come in. I don't want to give the impression that this is a chic temple of design where only super-hip people are welcome. I prefer to create a cosy atmosphere.
Whether people are very aware of the fact that by buying a product they become part of the design process, Edwin does not know. What he does notice is that customers sometimes really like to buy something from a specific designer. "Many customers find it important to have an original product and not a rip-off of a large retail chain. There are sometimes people who comment on the high prices compared to variants they have seen elsewhere. In that case, I can explain very well why that is so. I like to be able to tell what kind of development process is behind a product, people often have no idea about that."
"I don't want to give the impression that this is a chic design temple where only super-hip people are welcome."Edwin Pelser
"I have to be able to tell the story behind a product. If I can't, it won't fit in the shop."Edwin Pelser
When Edwin receives feedback from his customers about the purchased products, he likes it very much: "I regularly receive pictures and sometimes also information that I can give back to the designer or producer. That's great, I think that's what closes the cycle. It should actually happen much more often that the user gives feedback on what is good and what is not."
Edwin has a preference for a number of brands. These brands are widely represented in his shop. "Maybe I'm not that commercial in this, but for me, it's not just about the products, but also about the way I work with the designers. When the contact is nice, it's also a matter of awarding. Apart from that, there are of course a number of pillars, one of which is that I must be able to tell the story behind a product. If I can't do that, it won't fit in the shop."
"The feeling with a product is very important to me."Edwin Pelser
What Edwin offers is a mix of established names and unknown designers. People come to the shop and find things they have seen before and in between are things they have never seen before. He notices that this is appreciated from both sides; the unknown designer gets a stage between the well-known names and the established order likes the fact that their products are surrounded by real design items. "Sometimes I know in advance that I'm not going to sell new things, but I still like having them. I will never just sell something because I know it will sell well, the feeling with a product is very important to me."
He himself sees the fact that we have appointed Edwin as an ambassador for the Vij5 collection as an advantage. "It means that the lines are short and that I can tell the story even better. I can provide information about the product but also about the people behind it. In addition, it offers mutual opportunities to just try products.”
Edwin's favourite product in the Vij5 collection is the coatrack by the meter. "I think it's just a really cool thing that really evolved from the material. I can totally see how this design has developed in a playful way and I'm curious to see if there will be more parts added in the future." Products that Edwin embraces often comply with the principle of 'form follows function'. This applies to the coatrack but also to other designs in the Vij5 collection.
Looking ahead is not Edwin's trademark or expertise. He prefers to act on an ad hoc basis, with things developing as time and circumstances allow. "For example, I was told that I should do more interior design. I thought about that and decided that's not what I'm very good at or what I want to do. Instead, I looked at the people around me, and that's how a team of interior designers came into being. I think it's super cool to work with people like that and I can just keep myself busy with what's going on here in the shop."
"You have to integrate developments but apply them in your own way."Edwin Pelser
"For me, the shop is like a base from which I can organise new things. Of course, I cannot really predict the future, but I do believe that you are the one who has to make the choices that suit you. I became self-employed twelve years ago; before that I had to do things the way my boss thought they should be done. Going along with predicted trends actually feels a bit the same, I want to be able to decide for myself and not go along with developments I don't feel at home with."