Vij5 ambassador Edwin Pelser

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A Vij5 Ambassador is, like us, a big fan of the Vij5 collection. It is not just another outlet, but a store that knows just 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)
Photography: Vij5

For 12 years, Edwin Pelser has had an interior design store 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 they have been included in his offerings 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 we go through for each product."

Arjan & Anieke

Edwin discovered his passion for stories during his time working at the Design Academy Eindhoven. "I noticed that most of the wonderful stories designers have to tell stuck in the academy. I wondered if the ultimate 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 approachability in his store. "Many people don't really understand design at all, yet I want them to dare to come in as well. I don't want to radiate that this is a chic design temple where only super-hip people are welcome. Rather, I prefer to create coziness."

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 portray that this is a fancy 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 products they have purchased, he likes it very much "I regularly receive pictures and sometimes information that I can give back to the designer or manufacturer. That's nice, for me this is what closes the cycle. It should actually happen much more that the user gives back 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 store and find things they've seen before and in between are things they've never seen before. He finds that this is appreciated from both sides; the unknown designer gets a stage among the well-known names and the established ones like the fact that their products are surrounded by genuine design items. "Sometimes I know from new things in advance that I'm not going to sell them, but then I still enjoy having them. I will never just go and sell something because I know it will sell well, the feeling with a product is very important to me."

He himself sees it as an advantage that Edwin has been appointed ambassador for the Vij5 collection. "It makes the lines of communication short and therefore 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 space to just try the 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. Rather, he acts ad hoc, things arising as time and circumstances dictate. "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 to the people around me, which is how a team of interior designers was created. I think a collaboration like that is super cool and I can just keep busy with what's going on here in the store."

"You have to integrate developments but apply them in your own way."

Edwin Pelser

"For me, the store is like a base from which I can organize new things. I can't really predict what the future will be like, of course, but I do believe that it's up to you and you have to make choices that suit you. I became self-employed twelve years ago, before that I had to do as my boss thought I should. 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 in."