Interview by VatFree: All of our partners have a unique story to tell about the start and future of their business. Today we would like to introduce Jennifer and Esther of Friday Next Concept Store, Café & Studio.
After working 10 years as a lawyer, Esther Blaffert discovered that her ambitions and dreams were rooted in a very different place. Together with Paulien de Vries she founded Friday Next in 2009, a multi-disciplinary conceptstore on the Overtoom. With Jennifer, manager store & studio, she talks about the start of the shop and exploring new horizons.
Esther: “I come from a very creative family, my father studied at an art academy and loves painting. My mother was always making clothing and was very interested in homeopathy and alternative medicine. My uncle writes books and was an actor in the theatre. And I worked for ten years at a law firm. My father always told me it was an anti-reaction.”
“Together with Paulien I decided to make our shared dream for a concept store with lunchroom and furniture a reality. In 2009 we opened our doors. We were impressed by how much effort it takes to set up a healthy company. Building is easy, but taking responsibility for employees and making sure everything runs smoothly is a continuing effort. The administrative part is intense as well, even with a background in law. All in all the start was a lot of trial and error. There was no higher strategy, we just went for it and kept our eye on the ball. At times it could wear us down, but because starting a company came from such a deep, fundamental passion is was something worth struggling for.”
“The thing I enjoy the most is building the company and making sure everything runs the way it should. Our team really is our capital and together we discover new forms of business. For example, interior design consults. That is something Jennifer can elaborate on.”
Jennifer: “When I started working in the shop I was instantaneously answering interior design questions. The cafe and shop are growing fast, but we want to offer more than just products. People should be able to imagine products at home. That’s why we introduced the studio, because there’s often a need for an extended consult. The smaller consults are given on the spot in the shop. Homeowners are reluctant to try some of the more extreme designs for their home, but they do get inspired by the options we’re offering. In the consulting role we learn what is missing in the market in terms of products. The feedback is used as input for our own label. That way we can offer everything that people need to make their interior as special and personal as possible.”